Trip leader: David Hunter
Attending: Eshani, Mat, Amy, Andrew, Ben, and Sam
Alabaster Cave is a gypsum cave in New Mexico. Entry requires a permit from the pueblo that owns it so advance planning is required. The cave also drains an arroyo, so don't go in there when there is a chance of rain.
There are a series of entries, with the upstream entry draining the arroyo, middle entries that are either sinks or that drain smaller arroyos, and a lower entry that drains the cave. The group started out at the upstream Alabaster entry.
Alabaster has a mix of crawls and walking passage. Sadly, this trip, the absent-minded trip leader only took pictures of crawls. He should also have gotten a few pictures of the pool and larger passageways. Oops!
Part of the reason for all the crawl photos was our stop at the classic Alabaster crawl block. It is a great way for beginners to get used to the tight passages involved in more serious caving. The kids did not need any encouragement to try it out.
Eshani seems like a logical choice for teaching a cave-crawl school. But, for some odd reason, all the other cavers seemed reluctant to try out this crawl despite her having gone first. David finally went through to demonstrate that larger-than-Eshani people can also fit.
After David proved that it was, in fact, possible, other cavers were willing to give it a try. Eshani started up a crawl school.
As you may have figured out, the Alabaster crawl block is actually just a large block of gypsum with a hole sitting in the middle of the cave!
Eshani managed to blend in with the kids; she is well suited to infiltrating groups of children. And, for once, she wasn't the smallest caver on the trip!
After the trip the kids would have preferred to stay for more caving. But it was time to go home, clean and WNS decon the gear, and get on to schoolwork.