Trip Reports and Photos, 2007

Last Update: 7 January 2008

Butler Cave, Bath County, VA, was discovered in 1958. I first visited the cave a few months after its discovery and took photos on two trips in 1959 and 1960.   Please visit Gallery 1 for a brief history of the discovery and some early photos.

30 January 2007:   My first trip into Butler in 2007 was with Phil Lucas and Al Grimm, the purpose being to help Phil with some photography. A few of the results are shown below. All of these photos were taken on the historic route from the Nicholson entrance to the junction with Dave’s Gallery.   All photos in this section are by Phil Lucas.

John Sweet looking at a wall of formations, above . . .

and in the Glop Slot, left. This slot was much smaller and much gloppier when first seen in 1958.

Crossing the Window Ledge traverse as seen from both sides.

Al Grimm peering down the Sand Pit, left, and John Sweet at another gaping abyss, both to the left from the window at the middle of the traverse shown above.

Stepping the Step Across and a view down a main upper-level passage.

Our group at trip’s end — Phil Lucas, Al Grimm, John Sweet, 30 January 2007.

Memorial Day Weekend:   This was the annual Butler Cave Conservation Society work weekend. BCCS owns a log house near the cave entrance, which was once the home of Carl Butler, previous owner of the cave. The major projects this year were to rechink the logs and put a new roof on the fieldhouse and tear down an abandoned trailer. I worked primarily on the roof, that being a job I am familiar with.

The job began with the removal of the old composition roofing material. We started with just a couple of people on Friday evening and finished on Saturday morning with a full crew on the job.

Removal continued on the south side of the roof while a new overlay was placed on the north side deck. Spaces between the boards will allow the roof to breathe.

The first strips of metal were on the north side by early afternoon on Saturday and we were halfway through the south side by the same time on Sunday. That’s me in the green shirt at right.
Right photo by Frank Marks.

Finishing up the south side on Sunday afternoon, and the final step, closing the ridge seam, as sunset nears.

10 August 2007:   My second trip into Butler this year was in the company of several geologists, with the goal of looking at the structure and minerals present while gaining some familiarity with the cave for future work. We spent some time in Huntley’s section, which I had not visited previously. All photos in this section are by Chris Swezey except as noted.

Our group at the entrance: Dan Doctor, Selene Deike, John Sweet, George Deike, Bob Hoke, and Chris Swezey taking the photo. Right, some very fresh-looking breakdown.

Selene looking at a thrust fault near the 90-Ugh Crawl.
Right, another thrust fault, photo by Dan Doctor.

Left, gypsum in the Keyser liimestone.
Right, potholes in the streambed on the way to the Natural Bridge, photo by Dan Doctor.

22 September 2007:   My final trip for the year in Butler was a photography trip with Phil Lucas and Missy Landrum. One of the goals was to reproduce a few of my photos from 1959-60 to show how little the cave has changed over fifty years. We did two of these, shown below, and will try to do a few more next year.

Butler Cave, 15 May 1960 [left] and 22 September 2007 [right]
Not perfect but we got it close!
1960 photo by Earl Geil   —   2007 photo by Phil Lucas.
Sadly, Earl died in November 2006 so did not get to see this re-creation.

Bob Peare at the Rimstone Passage, 14 February 1959 [left]
and John Sweet at the same location, 22 September 2007 [right]
The camera position was slightly too far left but still not bad.
1959 photo by John Sweet   —   2007 photo by Phil Lucas.

Missy and me at the Sand Canyon camp. Photo by Phil Lucas.

15 December 2007:   Butler Cave Biology, report by Bill Jones.   The Burnsville Cove area has a reputation of being rather uninteresting from a biological standpoint and it appears that it has been several years since anyone has done any biological sampling in Butler Cave. Dan Fong became interested in an early report of snails in the Sinking Creek stream and asked me to arrange a sampling trip. I turned the group (Dan and Ben Hutchins from American University and Megan Porter and Kate Feller from the University of Maryland) over to Phil Lucas for a three-hour trip down to Sinking Creek on 15 December 2007. The report I received from Dan along with a few pictures and additional commentary by Phil Lucas can be accessed via this link.