Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ricks Spring

After visiting Logan Cave on our NCKMS field trip, he headed farther up Logan Canyon and stopped at Ricks Spring. The spring emerges from a large overhang and has a handicapped-accessible trail that goes up close to the springhead. Except that this isn't any regular springhead. As we watched, we saw a light in the spring, followed by a body. There were divers in the spring!

Even though I won't do cave diving as it's one of the most dangerous sports around, I'm fascinated by it. And it was interesting seeing these divers emerge with all their specialized gear in the 46 degree water. They said it was warm. They dive there all winter, and some of the water comes from the Logan River, so it can be really cold.

I wasn't the only one fascinated--our group watched in awe as the divers surfaced.

It was hard to believe that the passage continues, but in fact it goes back at least 2300 feet in the main passage, and they haven't even started exploring the side passages.

These cave divers have begun mapping the cave.

The cave twists and turns like most caves, and also goes up and down, making it a sporting challenge. These divers have done over 200 dives at Ricks Spring, so they know the tricky spots, like especially tight spots that require side mount tanks. They also know at what water levels they can dive the spring--during snow melt, the water velocity is too high to safely go in. This year all their guidelines were washed out by the super high velocities. They also have to dig out the cave entrance every year.

We listened to a USGS presentation about the geology of the area and what dye traces had shown.

Then we listened to the divers, Wendell Nope and Richard Lamb. They made it clear that they are very safety conscious and love what they do a lot. Then they showed a video they shot, which was awesome. If you'd like to see the video and some additional photos of this underwater cave, check out Wendell's website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree--cave diving is totally scary for me to contemplate!

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