3-30-2004 Spider Cave Carlsbad My Dad I went on our first real cave trip. The cave has a small squeeze at the bottom of a shaft. I think my dad was nervous about the squeeze but I did ok. I did great! It was a small tour of 10 including the 2 rangers. The cave was very warm 75+. The cave displayed a lot of microbial action leaving the ceilings in many places a golden rust color. I fell in love with Caving.

04-15-2004 Front Range Grotto
My Dad went to first grotto meeting with Tim Trujillo one of his employees. The activity was the squeeze box. Yes on his first meeting he crawled through the box in front of all the people he didn't know.  He got 81/2 inches could not make 8 was very sore the next day. He got us invited to a trip to Narrows cave in Williams Canyon by Amy and Carl Bern

04-24-2004 Narrows Trip
We meet at the Cave of the Winds Pavilion in Manitou Springs about 11:30. There was a board meeting we got into the cave about 12:30 and spent about 3½ hours in the cave ,Carl Bern, Amy Bern, my dad, Bruce, Ed, Victor(who's first grotto meeting was the same night my dad went) and I. It was a very dry cave only features were dried mud and drip holes in the dry mud. We split up into 2 groups Amy me and my dad, Talon Victor and I were in one group. Did a ton of crawling and ended up at Idiots Paradise. It was a 20 ft climb on a rope. My dad climbed up to the top but  didn't do any exploring up there. There were 2 leads at the top. On the way down he lost one of his Home-Depot knee pads. Since no one could find it and he was too tired to climb back up Amy climbed up to the top. We later discovered his knee pad had rolled into a lower lead but victor and I  were unable to see it.

05-23-2004 Vertical Training

We got invited to a vertical training session at the Castlewood Canyon State Park on Sunday, May 23rd. The class was hosted by Mike Zawada. My mon, my dad and I went. My Mom was not feeling well. I did a lot of rigging and practice with the decender. I used the frog system to ascend 100 foot cliff I ascended the cliff twice but did less rigging and descending.

06-13-2004 Groaning Cave
Left the House at ¼ to 6 with Rick ( my Dad)  met Bruce and Victor in Golden. Victor Dad and I rode up to Eagle and had breakfast. We met Chris Amy and Jeff up on the White River Plateau. There is about ½ mile hike to the entrance to the cave. My dad bought a pack and some knee pads that made the trip a lot more comfortable. We spent between 61/2 and 7 hours in the Cave. After the entrance there is a tight squeeze and then the "windows". The windows are 5 vertical openings to pass through without a floor between. Jeff commented that on the way back they are known as the Jaws. The cave has many different challenges, squeezes chimining limited climbing. This is the first cave we had to take food and pee bottles. I used my funnel for the first time in a cave. Our goal was the Hall of the White Forests. We made it and the Black Cathedral I did great. We got lost in the Js even with Bruce Amy Chris and Jeff for about 15 minutes. Amy was singing her favorite song (Me and my bobby McGee) I asked them to be quiet I was trying to cave. Chris told her that now she sounds like Jeff. It really is a maze in there. At the end of the cave we had to hike back out and I was used up but I made it. My dad and Jeff had a beer back at the plateau parking lot. We had dinner back in eagle. I was tired but I told my dad that I was ready to go again. We drove back to Denver and me and Victor slept. We I got home at 11:30pm

09-03-2004 Rocky Mountain Regional
We went up Thursday night. We had a hard time finding Shelton's Ranch in the dark. My dad got a flashlight and walked around and found a NSS sign on a picnic table and knew we were in the right place.  The next morning we met Ed Shelton the brother of Jim Shelton.  He was from Salt Lake City. My dad and I hung a rope from the climbing apparatus and used our vertical gear. I  used the Kong brake decender for my first time. I had to use both hands to squeeze the handle and release the brake. I squeezed to hard fell to the ground about 3 feet and hit my head on one of the poles. That was all the climbing we did that day.  At the ranch there is an 8x8x8 box called splinter cave. Dad and I went into the cave it was amazing how many turns and squeezes he got into the box. Splinter cave was divided into 4 levels with 90 and sometimes 180 degree turns. On the third level my dad turned around he got very hot, no pads and facing a nasty 180 degree turn. I climbed over him and exited the top.
Then we went geocaching. We drove to the top of Battle Mountain and retrieved a travel bug (our first). We then drove out by a small town named Pringle. We proceeded down a dirt road in Old Shirt Tail Canyon. We climbed a fence and went to the top of a hill to find our next cache. On the way back something flew down my shirt and stung me several times. This ended our geo caching. Later that day the other cavers began to arrive.  The next day was raining. I could not go on the Jewel cave trip due to my age. My dad gave up his spot spot on the trip and we got on a trip to Reeds Cave. Reeds cave is in the middle of a quarry. Our trip lead was Mike Hansen a quiet gruff looking man that reminded me a little of grizzly Adams. In the cave we had two options a shorter trip to the new formations or a longer trip to the Queens Room. I choose the Queens Room trip. On the way in I was not happy at all. I told my dad I wished I was not on this trip. trip. In about 2 hours we reached the queens room. There were quite a few squeezes and wet clay on the floor. We were covered in red mud. The queen's room is a fairly large passage. The cave continues but Mike said the cave gets tighter and wetter and there is not much to see beyond the Queens Room. After having a break and some water I was asked to lead the group out of the cave. I felt great like a different person. Maybe I just needed something to eat.  On the way in it felt like we were going  to fast but on the way out we went even faster with fewer breaks and I was having fun. We exited Reeds Cave after about 3 ½ hours covered in red mud. From past trips we have learned to bring a 2nd set of clothes and some baby wipes to clean our faces and hands.  That afternoon the weather cleared up a bit. There were maybe 60-70 people there camping mainly in tents. Mike Frazier was there from the springs giving vertical advice. A lot of people were using my rope on the climbing system. We had a cookout that night. On the ranch he has a huge kettle that sets over the fire for the corn and a grill easily large enough for the people we had. After everyone had eaten we had a raffle and an auction.
We had bought some extra tickets and ended up winning 6 items in the raffle, including a Tasmanian devil toilet seat. The auction was next we bid on an old cave sign from South Dakota (a decoration for the basement) and got it for 30 dollars next was a set of 10 carabineers I got those also and the last item I bid on was a copy of Cave Minerals of the world. Someone said it sold for 65 dollars but we only had to pay 30. Later that night it rained non stop until Sunday afternoon. I nicked a copy of the cave guide for Max and Jen.
We were going to go Sunday to Black Onyx and then up to Jasper with Carter Hall but the rain made the roads hard to passed. We planned on going on a candlelight tour to Wind Cave in the Evening. We were also informed that on Saturday someone got out a lantern by the ropes and was letting their kids swing on the rope. Swinging on the rope was fine but someone burnt our rope on a lantern so we lost 30 ft off of my rope. There were a couple of other tours but  Alaya and I were not 16 and could not go. When we arrived at Wind Cave that evening a guide for the spelunking tour Alexis Brooks was there with only one other person and unable to go on their tour. Apparently the other couple that signed up for the tour left due to the rain. Alexis is also the model for the cardboard cutout hanging in the visitor's center. Dad volunteered to go on the trip. Gaylene, Alaya, and I went on a special candlelight tour led by Mike Hansen.
The  three of us went on a Nightmare candlelight trip. This is not the commercial candlelight trip but a much longer trip done with the commercial cave lighting turned off. Some of the kids were very annoying. A woman that was not used to caving kept complaining she was cold and scared. The younger children would not stop talking, telling stories and pushing their way through the people on the tour. Towards the end Gaylene ( my mom) looked like she was about to cry. Mike Hansen the trip leader looked worn out not from the caving but the kids. That evening we got out of the cave around 10:00 and all of the restaurants were closed except a local truck stop about 5 miles outside of town.
We met the Vice-Chair of the SoCoMoGrotto Ryan Gosciejew who lives about 5 minutes from Williams Canyon. Alaya was not against caving with Ryan. Ryan said that if we wanted to go caving in Williams canyon just give him a call. On Sunday a group was going to make another try for Jasper cave which is near Jewell Cave but it would mean us getting home around 3:30- 10:00 and the we have school the next day so we just came home.

09-12-2004 Swirling Mist
Dad and I went with Max and Fred Luizer to Swirling Mist. Max thought he needed Fred's recommendation on his trip lead application. Fred had never caved with max before and would not endorse his application until caving with Max. Max already had 2 other recommendations so he was just padding it. Max also got Fred's opinion on digging in Land of the Swirling Mist. It was just the 4 of us and Fred was very informative, sometimes a little boring, I found greenish clay that Fred told me fossilized fish poo. I keep getting cold while caving. Later we went and bought her a “caving suit” from sportsman's warehouse. Its" I m a camoflage insulated hunting suit. Its toasty warm and since it's puffy I named it "Puffy".