Sunday, February 19, 2006

[trip] Ridge Walking Rt. 7

The roads were pretty slick yesterday morning; after sliding off Rt. 7 (between Dellslow and Masontown) several times, I decided that it was probably not the best idea to drive all the way to Parsons for the Tucker County Survey. I turned my car around at a pull-off and noticed what looked like a cave on the side of the road. Since I was pretty close to Maiden Run Cave, and I was itching to do something caving-related, I decided that it was the perfect opportunity and location to do a bit of ridge walking along Rt. 7.

I checked out the shelter cave, which had a good bit of water coming down from inside. It turns out that it has a tiny bit of solutionally-formed pseudo-cave moving water visible from the underside. A stream also flows over the top and down.

Limestone shelter cave from the road

Following the stream up from this shelter cave took me to a real FRO cave. It didn't seem to move air, but there's a good bit of water flowing out and the small cave passage definitely goes back into the hillside. Unfortunately, the caver-sized passage goes back less than a body-length.

FRO cave with glove for size reference

The next drainage valley over was also very interesting. Here I found some small cave passage which connects to a 3' deep limestone sinkhole. The small passage at the bottom of the sinkhole appears to go back into the hillside also. I moved some of the fluted limestone breakdown, like the kind you find at the bottom of a dome-pit, but it'd take some tools to clean it out enough to get a good idea of what's below and beyond.

Sinkhole with glove for size reference

Small cave passage down the hill from sinkhole

I also walked along the road for a bit just checking out the outcrops for geologically interesting features.

Limestone crossbedding seen from the road

Much more photos with individual descriptions are available at:

All in all, it was enjoyable and interesting considering that I didn't walk more than half a mile. I wish I had a copy of the North Central West Virginia WVASS bulletin to compare with.

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