Hello from the Old Line State

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Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Extol777 » Apr 21, 2014 7:30 pm

Hello all, my name is Austin and I live in Hagerstown, MD.
I've been caving for about two years now, all locally and in 'beginner' caves if you will, along the C & O canal in MD and a few in the Eastern Panhandle of WV. I am a new member of the NSS and I'm not a member of any grottoes yet, but I plan on checking out a few close to me in the near future. I look forward to enriching my caving experiences and knowledge with the NSS and other caving organizations/people.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 21, 2014 11:47 pm

Hey there I live in Maryland too. I am in the DC Grotto and the DC Grotto is a pretty active grotto. I believe that the Tri-State Grotto and Frederick Grotto are pretty close to you. I am not aware of a website or anything for the Frederick Grotto so I don't know how active they are. But the Tri-State Grotto I know has an annual Crystal Grottoes dig that they are working on and an annual dig called the Adams Stephen Dig. I went to the Crystal Grottoes Dig Project last year and had a good time. Basically what you do is you dig out this passage. They are trying to connect the two parts of the cave so tourists can see the other half. A lot of progress has been made so far. The current 20 foot tall ceiling was filled to the top with mud originally but most of it has been dug out by now. The owner of the cave gave us all some great free food in return for helping him out. I have also done some of the caves along the C & O Canal like Dam #4/Bear Cave, Howell Cave, and Dellingers Cave. I assume that in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia that you have been to Whitings Neck Cave which I have been to also. If you are interested in getting into bigger and better caving I suggest that you go to the Mid-Applachian Region Field Meet (abbreviated as MAR) which is going to be held in Randolph County, WV which would be about a 3 hour drive for you which is going to be held the weekend of May 16th to 18th. Wait were you at the last DC Grotto meeting? I think someone new was there at the last DC Grotto meeting named Austin. Well it is nice to see someone else from Maryland on Cave Chat.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Extol777 » Apr 22, 2014 4:18 pm

Hi Greg, I knew I wasn't the only caver in MD haha.
I haven't been to any DC Grotto meetings, Austin must be a popular caver name. Anyway, the caves along the canal you mentioned are basically the same ones I've been to, with the addition of a few smaller ones like Snyder's Landing and McMahon's Mill. Also Whiting's Neck and Indian River are the two main ones I've done in WV.
I've been reading good things about Tri-State so I'm planning on checking them out, plus I work in Martinsburg where the meetings are held so thats convenient for me. I might check out Frederick and DC as well.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 23, 2014 3:42 pm

Yeah, I have been to Indian River Cave also. So how many feet of passage does Snyder's Landing and McMahon's Mill Cave have? I would be interested in checking those out too. Did you find anything interesting in either of those? In Dam #4/Bear Cave there was the large entrance, a cave salamander, some cave fish, and some large rooms with formations. And in Dellinger's there was the interesting down climb entrance, a bat, the 40 foot tall slot canyon, the long pool of water that had to be traversed, some formations, and a second entrance at ground level just large enough for a snake to enter in. And Howell had the crawling entrance, some tall dome rooms, some pits, some rimstone dams, a bunch of formations, roots from trees coming out of the ceiling, and the graffiti from 1952.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby rlboyce » Apr 23, 2014 5:19 pm

Hi Austin. Welcome to Cavechat. :waving: As I'm sure you've already noticed, there are a lot of cavers that live in Maryland, but there isn't much caving to be had in Maryland. Lots of small stuff, and not a whole lot of big stuff. I almost exclusively cave in Allegany County, Maryland, but that is because all of my "project caves" (in my case this means a cave that I discover, or dig to make bigger, and then survey it) are located there. Devil's Hole is a fun little trip, if you ever get the chance. I know a lot of great people associated with the Tri-State Grotto, so I also recommend it. I've also attended a Franklin County Grotto meeting once (which isn't too far away), and my overall impression was positive. I also recommend learning how to ascend and rappel a rope, as this will open up many additional caving opportunities for you.

Greg, there are actually five documented Snyder's Landing caves, but the longest is 350 feet. The longest McMahon cave is 550 feet.

What do you mean by "cave fish"?
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby rlboyce » Apr 23, 2014 5:28 pm

If you haven't seen these yet:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caves_of_Maryland
http://www.mgs.md.gov/geology/caves/cav ... yland.html

And of course, the Caves of Maryland publication.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Extol777 » Apr 23, 2014 6:27 pm

Thanks for the info Ryan, I've been wanting to visit some Allegany county caves, from the map and description Devil's Hole looks like a cool one. Caves of Maryland was actually the first book I got after I started caving, and its led me to most of the ones I've been to, and the wikipedia page has been helpful. Caverns of West Virginia has been helpful too for the ones I've been to in WV.

Greg, I've been to three of the Snyder's Landing caves, they're all fairly small and from what i remember there are just a few formations, mostly flowstone. I've seen a bat or two in the largest one. As for McMahons mill, I've been in a few caves there, they're nice little ones with a few formations and a few bats. The most interesting thing i've seen was a black snake at the very back of Indian River. I've seen a few salamanders in Dam #4 but I haven't seen any fish, even though I've pushed the stream passage several hundred feet, maybe I just wasn't looking though :)
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Scrivy » Apr 23, 2014 7:05 pm

Hey Austin,

I live in the HGR area also. I am a member of Tri-State Grotto. We do a variety of different activities that can be found on the the website: http://www.tristategrotto.info/. Feel free to come to a meeting or one of the activities.

John
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 23, 2014 9:25 pm

So Ryan, by cave fish I meant that there were just a bunch of fish in the cave that not necessarily only live in the cave environment. And Austin the fish that I saw were small fish and were not in the passage that you are talking about. The fish were through this side passage crawl which went under some flowstone which had several pools of water with the fish in the pools of water.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby GroundquestMSA » Apr 23, 2014 9:35 pm

Extol777 wrote:Caves of Maryland was actually the first book I got after I started caving, and its led me to most of the ones I've been to, and the wikipedia page has been helpful. Caverns of West Virginia has been helpful too for the ones I've been to in WV.


Check out the WVASS Bulletins for lots of good info on West Virginia Caves.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 23, 2014 9:40 pm

Oh and the stream passage that you are talking about Austin is only filled with water when it has been raining a lot. Most of the time that I have been to Dam #4 Cave the crawling passage is not filled with water. I have only been there once where the passage was filled with water. Most of the times that I have been to Dam #4 Cave has been when it was not raining much recently in the winter and summer. So most of the times I have been to Dam #4 Cave and have gone down that crawling passage the water didn't start until the drop off. The crawl you know is pretty flat but at the end of the crawl there is a pretty steep drop off where you pretty much can't go any farther because even when it is the driest time of the year that part of the passage is still sumped. I have wondered if there might be more dry passage beyond the sump.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Caving Guru » Apr 23, 2014 9:48 pm

And I agree with what GroundquestMSA said about the WVASS Bulletins. Some of the WVASS Bulletins are pretty hard to find so I would suggest that you get them while they are available. Since you are an NSS member Austin you would be able to buy a bulletin of the WVASS on the NSS Bookstore website (http://nssbookstore.org). The only WVASS Bulletin currently available on their website is for Pendleton County, West Virginia costing $31.25 according to their website. As you can see from their website the most recent county publication by WVASS, Tucker County WV, has already been sold out. And here is a link that shows all of the publications by the WVASS: http://www.wvass.org/publications.html.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby Extol777 » Apr 25, 2014 1:35 pm

I appreciate all the info and suggestions guys :grin:
I actually just got WVASS Bulletin 15 (Pendleton County), partly because I'm trying to plan a trip to the Guilday Preserve with a few friends and the maps will be quite helpful,but mostly because I wanted to see all of what Pendleton County has to offer. I'd also like to get my hands on Bulletin 8 (WV Eastern Panhandle) but since its out of print I've had no luck as of yet.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby GroundquestMSA » Apr 25, 2014 2:36 pm

I have Bulletin 8, but I want to keep it. I would consider loaning it to you if you're interested. PM and we can talk about it.
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Re: Hello from the Old Line State

Postby jskarban » Feb 6, 2015 8:14 pm

Hi! I have an unusual request. Could you please check your Caves of Maryland book and see if they state who Howell's Cave was named after and when?

My great-grandmother was brought up by her mom and stepdad, and we know nothing about her biological father. I recently found a small piece of paper in my mother's writing which gave me his surname, Howe. She had a note saying it was spelled like the cavern, which would make it Howell. It also said they were married when she was 16 and he was 18, so he would have to have been born in 1857. Also on this little piece of paper was listed the town of Hagerstown. I don't know if they lived there or were married there.

It's a sad story, her entire family moved to Kansas after her daughter was born in 1877. She wanted to go with her parents and siblings. Her husband thought he needed to stay and take care of his parents. So she left her husband and headed west. About 3 years later her husband died in a workplace accident. Her family was from Bedford County, PA. Not sure at that distance how they ever got together in the first place unless he worked for the railroad.

The one thing I am fairly sure of is that Howell Cave was mentioned for a reason. Sure, his surname is spelled the same because someone in his family line must have discovered it. I have found several families in the general area which might fit the bill...in Loudoun Co Va., Monongalia and Barbour Counties in WV, and in Baltimore. I am crossing my fingers! I was so glad to find your website!
Jackie
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