Teakettle Cave and Thousand Springs

From: Christensen (chrst@srv.net)
Date: Sat Aug 28 1999 - 19:16:32 PDT

Date: Sat, 28 Aug 1999 20:16:32 -0600
From: "Christensen" <chrst@srv.net>
To: cp@opus.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3072$foo@default>
Subject: Teakettle Cave and Thousand Springs

> There's a cave in Idaho, USA known as "Teakettle Cave".
> It is a lava-tube cave. There's a skylight- the roof fell in,
> so the center of the room has a cover of large volcanic rocks
> and boulders. Amongst the rocks and boulders grow many ferns.
> If I remember correctly, there was a small stream in the lower
> area of the cave.
> This afternoon I was trying to think of a wet, humid place in
> Idaho where carnivorous plants may grow and I remembered
> Teakettle Cave. Durring the summer, the environment inside the
> cave is different compared to the environment outside the cave.
> Outside, grows grasses and sagebrush, the summers are hot and
> dry with the possibility of wild fires. Inside, grows ferns and
> mosses, humid and cool.
> Could there be carnivorous plants in Teakettle Cave?

A few days ago, I went there to look for cps. My grandpa was with me
and he showed me the way to the cave. I found mosses,
fern sporophytes and fern gametophytes, a delicate white fungus,
a rattle snake, and packrat poop. I didn't see any carnivorous
plants. The cave was humid but the ground was dry. The exception
was a few spots where the ceiling was dripping. Apparently, durring
the summer and drier months, the ferns in the center of the cave
will die back. Underneath the cave, I think there are more lava
tubes. Many years ago, I remember seeing a small stream that
disappeared down a hole in the lower corner of the cave. This time,
while I was in the cave I stomped around and found some parts of the
floor that sounded hollow- I could feel the vibration with my other
foot. Other parts of the cave sounded very solid and I didn't feel
the vibration with my other foot. Some parts of the cave looked like
somebody had stuffed rocks and dirt into some large holes, I wonder
if the Bereau of Land Managment did that because they had problems
with people trying to get into those holes and getting stuck. You
know how curious people can be! (I may be one of those kinds of
people) On the way out, up the spout of the teakettle, at the
entrance (exit) Grandpa found a rattle snake curled up in a crevice.
We looked carefully before we climbed in and as we walked down the
spout, but it was hiding in a crevice that we didn't know about
until we were leaving the cave.
The scary thing about it was that if it was there when we entered
the cave then it was only a foot away from us. It would have had
the oportunity to stike our feet, legs, body, neck, arms, hands,
and face because of the way we climbed in. Grandpa wanted to kill
it because it was a really bad place for a rattle snake to be, but
he wasn't going to bother it while we were still in the cave. We
slowly and carefully cimbed out of the entrance, with about 4 feet
between us and and snake. Personally, I would have left the snake
alone, but Grandpa wanted to kill it with kis walking stick. He
jabbed at it and tried to crush its head but it got away and went
into another crevice of the entrance to the cave. We saw it was
about 3-4 feet long. It never rattled until Grandpa tried to kill it.
Should a snake like that be killed or not? The cave is on BLM land
(public) and anybody can go to there, bicyclers too. If that snake
dies then another snake will take its place, someday.
So why bother it? I've been told that smaller rattle snakes give
quicker warnings and they can't strike as far compared to a larger
snake. Anyway, I probably would have left it alone.
While driving home through the lava flows, we saw at least 7
jackrabbits, a quail, a coyote (it barked at us and ran away like
a little yip yip dog), another rattle snake, and we found a canal
that was built through the lava flows. It wandered right and left
a lot, snaking through the valleys and hills of hardened lava.

Since we didn't find cps at the cave, the next morning we checked
some natural springs.
We checked three places. Malad Canyon: it is near
the towns of Gooding and Hagerman in Idaho. Idaho Power has some
hydroelectric power plants on the river, but apparently they don't
mind if people drive part of the way into the canyon and walk
farther in. At the top of the road, there are many small springs.
Past that, there's an enormous waterfall. Around the small springs,
there was a lot of stinging nettle and water cress. Also, there was
a small cluster of bog orchids. That's what grandpa said they were.
They weren't in a bog however I'm sure their roots extend into the
spring water as it flows through the rocks. Oddly, the ground around
the orchids appeared to be entirely dry, but a foot below the
plants the water is always flowing. About 1/4 of a mile past the
last hydro. dam there was an enormous waterfall but I couldn't get
to it because there weren't any trails on that side of the river.

The next stop was a fish hatchery. They had a lot of no trespassing
signs around their springs, but they didn't mind us being there.
Grandpa informed me that they don't like people mucking around
in their spring water- silty water is bad for the baby fish. I only
saw more water cress and other plants- like the springs in Malad

The last stop was Thousand Springs. I can't remember if there was
another hydroelectric dam or fish hatchery at T. Springs... may be
both. Anyway, there was a park, a conservatory, and a trail, too.
Near the beginning of the trail, there was another enormous waterfall and the
area looked like perfect ground for carnivorous plants but I found
none. I found many liver worts, a crayfish exoskeleton, blue snail with
a saucer shaped shell, small snails with black cone shells, grasses,
algae, mosses, duckweed, and more water cress. Near the base of a
smaller water fall, I found water cress growing directly on rocks
and their white roots were showing. A thin film of water was always
washing over their roots. The duckweed was growing on rocks and moss-
not on water. I'm sure it was duckweed and not a Utric because the leaves
had a dichotomous dividing habit- lacking stems and stolons.

I took pictures but it may be a while before I can show them to
everybody.. about two years, I'm not kidding. Soon, I'll be
unsubscribing from this mailing list because I won't have access to
my computer for a while. Bye!

Chad Christensen from Shelley, ID (between Blackfoot and Idaho Falls)

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