The Maverick Grotto

The Maverick Grotto

Celebrating 20 years as a Texas caving organization in 2006!  The Maverick Grotto is the local caving club of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Texas. We are dedicated to promoting safe, fun, and environmentally conscious caving.  Our grotto is an internal organization of the National Speleological Society.

The Maverick Grotto is inactive effective November 2009!

Hill's Gate Cave, Texas

All photos are © The Maverick Grotto and the respective photographer
All Rights reserved!

Photos from Hill's Gate Cave courtesy of Butch Fralia, Dale Ellison and Laurie Moseley.  The Hill's Gate project began in April of 1997 when a landowner contacted Butch about a possible cave on his property.  What began as a large tree covered sinkhole approximately 6' deep has grown into a 50' deep pit.  Additionally archeologically significant human bones 2000-6000 years old were found in an area of the sinkhole no longer visited by cavers.  Anthropologist - Laurie Moseley - monitors the ongoing dig and is available if any new artifacts are discovered.

Click this link to see an article by Laurie Moseley at the Texas Archeological Society website.  Most of the Archeologist present were avocationals from the Tarrant County Archeological Society.

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Hill's Gate Cave entrance on the first trip.

Hill's Gate Cave entrance sink on the first trip.  Bruce Anderson looks on.

Another view of the entrance sink on the first trip

Another view of the entrance sink on the first trip.

Rigging tree pull

Bruce Anderson, RD Milhollin and Terry Doversberger rig a winch cable to remove the trees from the sinkhole.

Winching trees out of the sink hole entrance

Winching trees off the sinkhole using the winch on Butch Fralia's old Suburban.  Bruce Anderson and Terry Doversberger looking on

Donna Anderson checks out one of the newest (for cavers) Texas karst features

Donna Anderson checks out one of the newest (for cavers) Texas karst features.

A small pit in the sinkhole qualified it as a cave

A small pit at one end of the sinkhole was deep enough to qualify Hill's Gate Cave  TSS definition of 5m (15'6").  Only a few cavers are small enough to enter.

Donna Anderson and RD Milhollin dragging brush out.

Wasting no time, Donna Anderson and RD Milhollin get right to work with RD digging and Donna dragging brush out.

Donna and RD kept on digging

Donna and RD kept right on digging.

Time for more heavy equipment

Time for more heavy equipment, Terry Doversberger drags the winch cable down to Bruce Anderson to winch out a large rock.

Digging continued for several years

The digging continued on for several years; Ernie Parker and Wayne Peplinski working on the cave.

Underground at last!

Underground at last!!  Wayne Peplinski enjoys the fruit of a lot of labor as he explores under a large overhand.  Originally the fill was up to the flat overhanging rock in the foreground.

Human bones on cave floor

Then came that day at the bottom of the pit, when a rock moved and a caver cried "is this what I think it is?"  Photo showing human bones on the floor.

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This page last updated September 15, 2012