Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 Lint Camp

Every winter, deep in Lehman Caves, a group of volunteers gathers to clean lint. What?? Yep, the lint that falls off our clothes, hair, and other gunk gets left behind in the cave. With each person going through the cave leaving about a belly-button full of lint behind, and 33,000 people going through the cave, that's a lot of lint!

Fortunately a dedicated cadre of volunteers steps up to the task of removing that lint. The main tool is a paintbrush or toothbrush and patience.

When lint gets into little cracks and popcorn, tweezers become the tool of choice.

When possible, it's good to start high and then move lower.

Although people walk on the trail, the lightweight lint drifts higher, and removing it from those high spots can be quite a challenge.

It's not all work. Sometimes we have to take a break and see if we can squeeze through a concrete block!

The cleaning also involved getting dust and debris out of the entrance and exit tunnels and near the cave doors. Ideally maintenance will do this weekly throughout the year.

Folks came from five states to attend lint camp. Great Basin National Park provides housing, oversight, and the tools. The volunteers provide dedication and time.

Another reward can be seeing cool cave creatures, like this Lehman Cave pseudoscorpion (Microcreagris grandis Muchmore).

In addition to lint, the volunteers on the second and/or third day can also help restore natural cave floor. This is slow work, pulling out old trail debris from popcorn and rimstone dams, but it's also quite rewarding.

This year we had some strong black lights brought in. Can you see the blue and white lint on this popcorn?

Here are some rocks along the side of the trail. Under normal light you can't see much on them, but the black light shows another story.

After lots of hard work, participants are treated to a trip through the Talus Room, an off-trail section of Lehman Cave.

And it's always fun to get a group photo!
Thanks to the many wonderful volunteers who helped with this year's lint camps!

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