September 18, 2020




                        BRG Meeting called to order





Susan Burr- Chairperson/acting secretary

Trish Geiger- Treasurer

Doug Feller

Jeff Huffman

Nick Schmalenberger

Kevin Johnson-Guest

Carrie Doupnick- Guest




 Trip Reports: 

·         8/22/2020 – Greenbrier Poor Farm Cave, WV – by Susan Burr:  Mystik Miller –Leader, Lauren Appel, Nick Schmalenberger, Brandon Phibbs, and Susan Burr. Our objective was to do the right side of the cave first since we couldn't do it the last time due to flooding. Mystik actually walked across the pit up high on the right side & 1 or 2 others followed her. I went down the tight hole. We got back to the pretties in the back & spent a lot of time taking pics. It is beautiful there. As we got back to the entrance area Mystik suggested doing the left side loop backwards. We climbed up the rock wall at the entrance, which was a bit more challenging than going down. I still hate sliding along that exposed ledge, not matter which direction. I must say doing the loop backward isn't as fun as far as seeing the formations. I did take them over/through the tight flowstone section to explore around back there. It was a nice trip & I got a lot of nice pics. I used my new camera for the first time & learned I need to work on lighting.

·         9/12/2020 - Piercys Mill Cave, WV – by Susan Burr:  Mystik Miller- Leader, Sam Stoker (Mystik's boyfriend), Doug Feller, Lauren Appel, Jeff Huffman, Nick Schmalenberger, and Susan Burr. This was a pick up trip. We wanted to do Piercys, Piercys Mill & Piercys Mill Annex before the WV cave closures for bats. We found out Piercys Cave closed on the first, so that was a no go! First thing we noticed when we got out of the car was the mosquitoes! OMG, there were thousands!!! We couldn't get dressed fast enough & get to the cave. The water levels were not bad, but higher than the last time Doug & I were in there in 2012. The exciting part was all the rimpools. I loved the rimpools last time, but most were empty. This year most were full. They were beautiful!!! Our pictures don't do them justice. It was a lot of walking in the stream to get to the pretties, but worth it. This cave has some really nice formations. We did however have to do get through some tight awkward areas & do some crawling. Hope to get back again sometime next year. On the way out some of the group opted go into Piercys Mill Annex. I did not! I went last time & we saw got 1-2 small rooms. Apparently it goes further. I may have to duck in & check it out further next time.

·         9/12/2020 - Piercys Mill Annex, WV – by Lauren AppelNick Schmalenberger, Jeff Huffman, Mystik Miller, Sam Stoker, and Lauren Appel did the quick Piercy’s Mill Annex Cave which involved crawling through the creek to enter the cave and exploring the few small offshoots from the main passage. There were some small formations as well.



This Month’s trip  Lost Cave, WV- Small horizontal cave with some crawls & tight spots. Meeting at HROM at 8:30 AM. Mystik Miller will be leader


Next Months's trip- Porter's Cave, VA- 10/17/2020 - It will be a 2 for 1 trip- I (Susan Burr) am taking my 7 yr. old grandson & others who would like to do a simple cave trip. We will do the normal “tourist trip” that does NOT include going through the Keyhole. We will head back first to the room just prior to the Keyhole. Then those who are more experienced can go through the Keyhole & do that loop back there. Meanwhile I will take the rest of the group to what I call the Big Room (but I think it is called Grand Ave.) I will entertain my grandson back there until the rest of the group get backs. Then we shall all finish the rest of the trip together. We already have permission to go.




Treasury Report – Trish Geiger, Treasurer 


Cave Bucks    -                                               0                                 

            Conservation -                                                0                

            Equipment –                                            133.87               

            General -                                               2,947.90

            TOTAL                                                $3,081.77



Newsletter – CARBIDE DUMP for September was published. Thanks to all who contributed.

Membership –


Safety & Techniques – None at this time.


Membership Proposals:


Old Business

·         Christmas cards and design – Submit your ideas/photos by November 1st. What about Nick Socky’s photo of helectites? Trish brought up this idea again & wants to see if Marian could make Nick's picture into a nice card. It is the picture from the Oct./Nov. 2019 Dump, Frostwork in Butler Cave, VA.  Maybe next meeting we could show the group the picture we are talking about or add it to the email announcing the next meeting.

·         Grotto Christmas party – should we have one? When? Where? We are still concerned about COVID. Would anyone come, should they come, where would we have it? Trish suggested we could try renting a pavilion outside, but we worry about weather this time of the year. We decided at this point may need to just wait & see. We may need to just cancel this year.

·         Grotto Elections in November – Any nominations? Volunteers? Here is the slate we have come up with at this point. Still need to check with some people. Chairperson- Marian McConnell- need to ask her if she will accept, Vice chairperson- Nick Schmalenberger- he will but prefers not to. I told him I would ask Lauren Appel, Treasurer- Dave Socky- he volunteered last meeting, Secretary- Mary Sue Socky- need to ask her if she will as well



New Business

·         Marian was contacted via email recently by a Larry Johnson who went to Roanoke College back in the late 1950’s. He went into Murder Hole in 1957. He stumbled upon our website while looking for information about the cave to share with his granddaughter.  The day we went, there was a log laying across a portion of the hole [at the bottom of the Ski Slope into the lower level]. We tied our rope around the log and lowered ourselves into the cave.  We had our carbide lamps for light and had an enjoyable visit exploring the cave.   When time came for us to leave, we discovered that we didn't have the stamina to hand-over-hand on the rope to get out. We knew absolutely nothing about rope work that would have done the job.   As we sat there pondering how the hell we were going to get out, as luck would have it, three teenagers who had skipped school came to the cave, saw our rope on the log and shouted to us.  The boys saved us by having us tie the rope on us one at a time and then the three of them literally pulled us out of the cave.” He’s 85 now and lives in Houston, TX. He also did lots of caving in Porter’s Cave (which they called “Anderson’s Cave” due to the name of the owner back then). He and 6 of his college friends got trapped in Porter’s during a severe rain storm and had to be rescued.  He sent a copy of the Roanoke Times newspaper article about the rescue. [Marian will share at the October meeting.] Hopefully Marian will share this info at the Oct. meeting.

·         We discussed whether we should continue to hold meetings at Jersey Lily. The Gulden's offered us the use of their backyard to have a meeting. Concerns are it may be cold & it will be dark. While we are all cavers & should have plenty of lights, the concern is seeing well to write the minutes or even reading what the chairperson needs to read. Also would be dark going back to your cars afterwards. I (Susan Burr) contacted some members who will not attend at the restaurant to see if they would attend an outdoor one. The consensus is it would not really increase attendance. Several members have discussed the fact they do not like having to walk through the smoke at Jersey Lily & wish we would find another place. We decided we should really have a zoom meeting, especially since elections are coming up. I will check with Dave to make sure he can host one for Oct. If not, we will see if Trish or someone else would be capable.



·         Please submit written cave trip reports to the secretary.  Thanks!

·         Meeting adjourned at 7:08 p


Program:  None


Since we had no program we just ate & had some nice conversations with one another. Got to talk with the guests about future cave trips. They asked questions about cave gear, batteries, etc.




·         Next BRG meeting is October 16 at Jersey Lily’s unless otherwise announced.