It Was 40 Years Ago Today …

By Richard Rhinehart ~ July 20th, 2009. Filed under: Caving News, Uncategorized.

NASA Apollo 40th Anniversary LogoOn July 20, 1969, while the world watched breathlessly the coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing in the Sea of Tranquility, Colorado cavers were exploring another frontier here on planet Earth.

In Colorado’s Groaning Cave, cavers from the Colorado, Colorado School of Mines and Colorado State University chapters of the National Speleological Society were busy underground. Teams of cavers were exploring and surveying the state’s most recent discovery on the White River Plateau north of Glenwood Springs.

While survey teams measured and sketched the cave passages beyond the CSU Passage, Donald G. Davis and Debbie Stucklen explored past the surveyors, squeezing through tight and dusty crawlways until they came into a mammoth new corridor that had never before been seen or explored. Carefully, Donald and Debbie walked down this undiscovered country, which they named “Tranquility Hall” in favor of the events happening that day.

From Tranquility Hall, Donald and Debbie continued their exploration of the sparkling gypsum-filled crawlways leading deeper into the mountain. Soon, they came into the second big discovery of the day, which they named Serenity Hall, in honor of the future landing site of Apollo 17, the Sea of Serenity.

Later that summer, Donald Davis made his epic exploration of Groaning Cave, discovering thousands of feet of corridors, chambers and crawlways that led far beyond Serenity Hall, to the Hall of the White Forest, Submarine Boulevard and the Conning Tower. To date, Donald’s day of discovery remains one of the most impressive solo explorations in Colorado caving history.

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