3/19/2022: Honey Creek Trip Report - Lessons Learned and a Lead Worthy of Return

Updated: Mar 24

For the UTG, March’s Honey Creek trip was smaller in scale than our previous visit in January. Our two teams lost their respective trip leaders in the days leading up to the trip, which resulted in us combining to form one team that needed something to do. Holly Klein, Bailey Ohlson, Ian Sullivan, and myself—the Blue Bandicoots—studied the map the night before. We chose three Boneyard leads that had previously been discussed and turned in for the night. The next morning we suited up and waited for our turn down the shaft. Ian and Bailey went first and then Holly and I rode down with Bennett Lee. We bid him farewell and headed upstream at 11:10AM. I estimated that our leads were an hour-and-a-half away and since it was the other three’s first time in the cave, I led the way. The group seemed pleasantly surprised that the water wasn’t as cold as they had feared, and soon we were on our way to the Boneyard. In an hour and thirty-five minutes we reached our first lead, after some stops for photos.

In the right wall of the passage we found BS15, a tall, narrow thing that zig-zagged back for several

meters. Ian squeezed in and scouted until he found the remnants of a survey station. He reported back and we decided to visit the other nearby leads before committing to the first one.

We set off for BM11, described as a 1m diameter mud tube. We apparently overshot it and passed not only that lead, but also our next lead because we hit the T intersection at the end of the Boneyard. We took our bearings, consulted the map, and turned around. The Bandicoots stopped at BF167 on our way back and investigated.

This lead, a 4’ tall narrow slot on the right wall was landmarked by an eye-catching drapery on the opposite wall. Ian, once again, headed in as a probe. Inside of the narrow mud slot was an 8” by 2’ passage obscured by a mud hump. Barely visible beyond was a space 8’ long, 4’ wide, and 2’ tall that he said would need more than hand tools to continue. We flagged the lead’s entrance and resumed our hunt for BM11.

I crammed myself into every hole in the walls, floor, and ceiling but found no 1m diameter mud tubes. Finally, we found our target. BM11 was indeed a 1m mud tube, but it turned immediately and a natural bridge further obscured its shape. I clawed out a cubic foot of mud, bashed rock, and headed in.

It had previously been large enough to enter but the modification made it easier and made the entrance more obvious. Ian followed me into the narrow tunnel and Bailey and Holly recorded what we were reporting. I was under the impression that they were following and therefore didn’t establish an expectation of how long we would be pushing the lead. More on that later. BM11 was supposed to be a short passage that ended in a dig, per the line plot. Instead, Ian and I encountered an undulating mud tube, periodically interrupted by 15’ domes that carried on seemingly without end.