Written by Cassi Mardis

At the cave in Kansas we have the luxury of staying inside of a bunkhouse. It has one bedroom, cement floors, tables and chairs, a kitchen, and a bathroom. The cement floors are surprisingly nice because of all the dirt we bring back from being at the cave every night. This bunkhouse also has window air conditioning units so at night we turn them on to stay cool, which is lovely.

We have this older couple that come and hang out in the backroom occasionally  with their dog, Holly. They aren’t staying there, but they come in to cool off from their hard day at work. Kaipo and Holly became buddies after a few short days of hanging out.


Now adding on to my list of firsts I did laundry in a sink for the first time. It wasn’t bad and my clothes smell nice too. I filled the sink with hot water and added some laundry detergent and mixed it around. Then I added all of my clothes and soaked them and agitated them and then I let them soak for roughly 15 minutes. When that time was over I did some rinsing and then rang my clothes out and hung them on a clothesline outside. With the wind and dry heat my clothes dried pretty quickly. It was a fun experience and I learned something new!

Now don’t forget we don’t just work we do have some fun too. We were invited to a cookout with fellow researchers on the ranch. It was a good time with good people, good food, and good conversation. I ate my first bison burger and it was amazing. There were also pastas, fresh watermelon, chips, and desserts. It was a really enjoyable meal. Nice change up from our canned meals, which don’t get me wrong those are pretty amazing too, but there is nothing like a grilled burger.

Last night we had a strong storm here. It just consisted of strong winds, lightning, and thunder. The poor bats were struggling last night. The emergence stopped pretty early too. It was an interesting night to say the least. I am really excited because tonight is the night I get to go inside the cave and I get to collect a sample of bat guano so I am really pumped. We will see if my feelings change after I have been in the cave. Of course afterwards we will decontaminate all of our equipment and then throw away our tyvek suits.

Tonight is our last night at this cave. One week down, 7 more weeks to go!