Tuesday, February 19, 2008

National Geographic Caves

Hey folks
Due to lack of an update for a while Ill throw up a quick recap of a short exploring adventure from a few days back....

I got a call from Jasper asking me if I was free that night to go explorin with Ebenezer. Nothing much was going on that night, so I ran outside and got picked up by Ebenezer in his car with Jasper along in the passenger's seat.

The plan: some interesting sandstone caves on the West Side of the river. We were hoping to explore some extensive caves, though after much mucking around suspiciously along the bluff, we settled for exploring the National Geographic Caves. Jasper led the way and we snuck around an abandoned building and through a small hole into the cave.

Fucking sandy! Sand piles everywhere and getting all over my shoes. It was like being on a beach, minus the heat. And the Sun. We set off into the cave, passing by some cool carved staircases that wound up into the bluffs. I really wanted a photo, but my camera batteries were being a little selective in what they wanted to photograph (blah blah blah I know, bring spares).

Here, Jasper shines a 4D LED Maglite down one of the many long sand passages

The tunnels were maybe ten feet high and wound all through the bluffs. Lots of bats hung hibernating on the walls and we walked carfully around them, carful not to wake the poor bastards up. We came across a table with loads of beer bottles and empty Karkov Vodka handles (classy!) and a threating note to some kids who apparently had been trashing the place.

The most interesting part of the cave system involved a awkward climb up a huge sandy pile. At the top was a huuuge underground room with high arching cielings made of a different kind of rock (limestone mebbe? I dont know my rocks) Tea candles littered the scene and a freaky plastic halloween pumpkin sat on top of the underground hill. I fucking wish I could have gotten a photo of this place, but the camera seriously was on Ambien or something. Ill definetly come back here with more tea lights and ighters galore to take waaay better photos because this subterranean room is really sweet.

Further exploration revealed a lot of storage for what seemed like random junk, mostly scaffolding and other building equipment. We poked around a bit more, and headed back as we all had class tomorrow and it as getting past midnight.

A panic attack was had by all when Ebenezer couldnt find his keys, then we all calmed down 5 minutes later when we got back to the car and they were sitting on his hood!

More on this cave later


Monday, February 4, 2008

Mouser Week IX Awards Ceremony

Hey folks!

The kickoff to Mouser Week IX was a great opportunity to meet a lot of people from around the Metro Area. We had a great time getting to know so many people from the community and have a chance to talk to some really interesting folks.

We headed out from St. Paul and took 3 different busses to get to the Perkins, the 84, the 16 and the 2. We had no idea what to expect when we got there, so we sort of wandered in awkwardly and were warmly greeted by everyone at the table. Dinner was great: the combonation of the food, conversation and people was perfect. We sat mainly with Katwoman, Gatsby, Ben Again and Jasper, though many others stopped by to chat, get our names and share stories.

Here's a shot of the gang by Ben Again:

After dinner, Franklin, Jacques and I carpooled over to West K with Ben Again and Spaz. We slid awkwardly down the embankment and headed up the drain to the final helix, where we waited for the rest of the group. Spaz and Ben had other plans for the night, so they headed out and we waited with our lights turned off at the foot of the helix.

We sat in the dark, chating as we watched the lights bobbing slowly towards us in the distance: two LEDs, one red light and occasionally Freak's gigantic spotlight lit up the tunnel. Watching these lights coming down the drain was one of the weirdest sights we have ever seen: the lights bobbed mysteriously and hypnotically as we stared them down.

Here are Goxkok, Jacques and Franklin Delano Nothing , after wainting a good 15 mins for people to get to the meeting place.

Then someone who clambered up the slippery incline of slime found a wandering cat in the upper drain levels!! He brought it back down to our level and we found it didnt have an eye and was limping. Someone lent their bag to Freak and he and DC hauled it out of the drain later and brought it to a hospital.

The awards started after Freak lit a few bag lanterns and tea lights and the upper part of the Helix was packed with explorers. Stories were shared, amazing homemade awards were handed out to the winners and still more introductions were being made. So many people to meet!

Jacques, Franklin Delano Nothing and I needed to bus back to Jacques house, so we ducked out right after the awards and trudged with Robin and his fiancee back to the outfall, clambering around and slipping on the huge ice-pwn-wall near the entrance.

We made it back safe to Jacques and passed out after a hot bowl of soup.

Hopefully, this was just the first of a few explorations this week. Check back soon!