Sat. June 6, 2009 - COG once again ventures down to Carlsbad Caverns for our annual restoration trip. Here is pictures from Anne and Kelly on the trip along with a trip report from Sue...
Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico: Restoration 2009
by Sue Bozeman, June 5-6, 2009
Anticipating 11 people at this year's Restoration Weekend, we all met at the Motel 6 in Carlsbad within 45 minutes of each other! The Hunsingers arrived from Los Alamos, Dale Amlee had hopped a ride in Weatherford from the Woltzes, and Dale Town on his motorcycle had led the Town Car with Lil, Anne Ault and John and Sue Bozeman comfortably ensconced inside.
We ate at the Red Barn that first night -- BBQ ribs or other delights of the carnivore kind. Anne was somewhat at a loss for choices but did not starve. After breakfast the following morning at Happy's, we headed for an 8:30 a.m. meeting with NPS contact Tom Bemis. It took a half hour to get all the paperwork done and signed by all 11 of us: Dale Amlee, Anne Ault, Steve Beleu, John and Sue Bozeman, Becky and Mark Hunsinger, Lil and Dale Town and Jon and Kelley Woltz.
Then our assignments were presented: Haul new LED equipment and cable to a staging area and then clean formations in the Papoose Room. We were NOT expecting this assignment as we had been told in 2008 that we would be working in the Music Room for the next number of trips. But we go where we're wanted and so we geared up, loaded the electrical equipment into the Town car and headed for the elevators at the Visitor Center. John Bozeman remained on the surface as he was skeptical of his abilities to see in dim lighting conditions after the recent ARN vision loss. Everyone else picked up whatever they could comfortably carry and went off after Tom like good little dwarves.
The equipment we were transporting consisted of 150 lamp fixtures and 1,000 LED control boards, plus a 1,000 roll of cable lights (heavy stuff, eh Steve and Dale?). All told, we moved 7,500 worth of equipment to the staging area and Steve stashed it behind some formations out of view of the tour. Then we continued with the rest of the buckets (filled with whisks and toothbrushes and sponges) and water tanks to the Papoose Room near the King's and Queen's Chambers. This is a pretty area and had been muddied up in the past when tourists were formerly allowed to roam around at will. We were to start by cleaning a very pretty formation that had a layer of tan mud all over it. The crew had to be reduced to 8, so Mark and Sue went back upstairs, leaving the others to spray and gently mop up the grime for hours on end.
Eventually, Anne came topside having had enough and Sue went back down for the final hour and a half. We developed a method of using the sprayer to give water to an area that was then quickly blotted up by individual scrubbers and blotters. Once a sponge was saturated, it was gently thrown at Lil, who wrung it out in a bucket and then tossed a 'dry' one back to the blotter. Sounds nasty, but it worked!
Just before we called it quits for the day, one of the tour guides asked Tom to take her group as she had an emergency. Sue asked if we could be of assistance and the guide said only if we had first aid equipment. Sue did and quickly went to see what assistance could be provided. Turns out one of the tourists had an epileptic seizure and needed far more than a first aid kit. NPS personnel provided oxygen and medical assessment indicated that a wheelchair was necessary. Before the wheelchair came, the woman had a second seizure (turns out her medication had been changed and had not yet been correctly evaluated).
Sue returned to the restoration site and helped tidy up the area. On our outbound trip, she and Lil helped the stricken family by distracting the young daughter whose Mom was having the seizures. We stayed behind awhile until the wheelchair crew arrived and transported her up the hills like the terrain was flat! Strong guys! We had to wait for elevators as only two were functioning! But we eventually got upstairs and joined the topside group.
Tom gave us credit for 9 hours of work, each, so our Grotto efforts for the year are 90 hours. Good effort.
Some of the photos of before/after area cleaning are great -- one by Becky was especially telling. Very good work.
Look forward to seeing the new lighting which will happen
first in the Papoose Room so we should see it next year!
Evening meal at Chili's took an hour's wait, but it
was an enjoyable repast. A birthday dessert for Steve topped off the night. Hope you had a good one, Steve!