The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
Page 20 [contents] ||   ||  ||  vol. 41. iss. 2, June 2006
WOODARD – DUNBAR TRIP 11
by Ben Currens, Gary Collins, and  Peggy Renwick

In the first weeks of December Peg, Gary Collins, and I set out to connect the new Upper level of D4 to known sections of the cave. After spending the usual amount of time trying to arrange a trip with our ridiculous schedules, we finally managed to be in the same place at the same time. So after quick jaunt to Shoney’s for the breakfast buffet and a tour of The Roy Woodard entrance sink (complete with at least three junk cars), we headed off for D4.  I rigged the drop from our trusty pine tree and we set out to find miles of borehole headed straight for the Chester Uplift. Honestly we only hoped to find the end of a dangling piece of Pit rope left (well Pop said donated I just think he didn’t want to carry it out) in the first of two virgin pits Peg and I had found on earlier trips. Also searching for the mysterious hole in the floor with the ghostly footprints from beyond, woooooooo and rattling chains. (And in the process determine exactly where in the cave we actually were.)
 After combining a line plot with a map done on illustrator in the early 90’s,  it looked like our passage was 1) right over known river passage and 2) just north of crossing the sump, which separates Dunbar from Woodard. We had recently found a massive breakdown chamber complete with foot prints and an inviting hole leading down to somewhere. After negotiating the entrance drop (Gary spotted a salamander here) we headed off along familiar passage. Along the way we stopped to take Gary through the narrow canyon to St. Peter’s Slot, so he could look and decide if he would fit on a later trip. With that completed we set off down stream following the river towards the sump. We deftly clambered over the “Rimstone River,” a series of Rimstone dams too deep to

touch bottom in, that start a few hundred feet into D4 and continue until you reach the river. We stopped to look at the empty dam, which is easily 10ft deep. On a side note I really enjoy the sound of water overflowing into it, sounds just like a flushing toilet.  Anyway, while attempting to set up the trip we asked Gary “How deep is the water?” Gary replied “Well I went on a trip this way a year or so ago. We stopped when the water hit my neck, then my partner decided to tell me he had to be in Illinois the next morning before following me into the pool!” After wading through some shallow pools and trying to decide if this was the deep one or not, we reached one neck deep pool, followed by another. (Editor’s note: Oh c’mon! They were only chest-deep! They came to the bottom of my chest!) Full of frigid water and amazingly, Troglobites. How these things survive in this area is honestly amazing. All the known entrances are within Clarksville. How pollution hasn’t put an end to everything in the cave is a total mystery to me. Blind crayfish, Red Spotted salamanders, and Blindfish are not uncommon to see. In some places you have to pay close attention on the way out of the cave because Crayfish will occupy your footprints almost immediately after you leave them.


(blind fish, click will enlarge)

Along the way everyone had eyes searching the ceiling of the meandering canyon passage for the elusive Pit rope. High on both sides older passage winds in and out of the main passage, not quite large enough to see if they

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