Posted in abandoned mines in Ontario, adventure in Ontario, Adventures, book on caves, books, cave formation, Caves, Caves in Canada, caves in Ontario, Caving in Ontario, cool things to do in toronto, crazy things, documentary, Education, environment, exploration, extreme sports, fun things to do in toronto, geography, geology, Interesting, limestone, mines in northern Ontario, nature, Nature/Outdoors, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, photo, Photography, picture of, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, strange places, tunnels, underground, underground Ontario, tagged Canadian shield, caves in Canada, Caving in Ontario, exploring, looking for, ontario, Stone Church Cave, video on on May 6, 2013 |
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In 1965 E.D. Ongley produced his much sought after caving manuscript, ‘A Study of Caves in Southern Ontario’. In that work Ongley mentions the existence of Stone House Cave, a tunnel that had been blasted by the railways to drain a swamp that was seasonally flooding the nearby railway. In that blasted tunnel Ongley had found an albino crayfish and he speculated that the side of the tunnel, which had been blocked by a human-constructed rock wall, likely led onto a deeper, natural cave.
In the attached video, see – Looking for Stone Church Cave here, I show the caving possibilities at the edge of the Canadian Shield and I explore the small tunnel pictured above. This is not the fabled Stone Church Cave, but it is context for the next post that I will publish, which is the now revealed – Stone Church Cave.
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Posted in bizzare, central America, crazy things, documentary, Education, entertainment, geography, geology, nature, Nature/Outdoors, photo, Photography, photos, picture of, rocks and minerals, tagged Costa Rica, Poas, Poas Volcano, tour in Costa Rica, tourism, volcano on April 19, 2013 |
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Echoing my own sentiments our guide says, “We hope it no make an eruption today si!” He has the habit of stuffing the microphone under his arm pit and snickering like a mad man. “We go 10 kilometres to 8000 feet now.
In the accompanying picture you will notice, the lake down in the caldera. It is hot and acidic I am told (.01 Ph). “You put your head in the water and SSSSTT. Smells like a barracks, how you say… a foort” He hides the microphone and giggles again.
Maggie, my wife, and I are in Costa Rica for a holiday. It is an amazing place but we cannot aford to go there all that often. I am hoping to have the cash again soon. Sadly the tax man was not so kind this year. We are in a little tourisimo bus winding our way from lush green slopes, planted with coffee bushes, up into the cloud forest. We pass a mountain biker, they are everywhere. Up ahead a bank of clouds hangs low; Invariably those who reach the summit find themselves in thick mist. “We are lucky today si! If jesus is with us it is sunny”. Apparently jesus is only with 30% of the tours. “Iss very important we have rules in the national park, we do not take rock or drugs, only pictures”.
The “Tourismo bus” parks with several others and we file out into the thin mountain air. I hope for Jesus to appear but he is nowhere in sight. There is a short hike to the rim from here. “We spend 15 minutes at the crater, if it makes eruption you run for the bus!” Jason our guide can hardly finish his next sentence; “If you do not see me and the driver, and the fire is behind you (he is doubled over now making choking sounds) we are back in San Jose already”. Its great to see a guy who loves his job, hes having almost as much fun as us. “Good luck compadres”.
We are definitly noticing the elevation, I am right out of breath though it appears that there is a small patch of sunlight up ahead. Just as we arrive, Maggie dragging along in tow obsessed by the humming birds, the clouds streak over the rim. They move at phenomenal speed and we find ourselves breathing fog as thick as cotton balls. Somewhere in the mist ahead I hear the sad lament of “Jesus has left us”. We hover there on the edge and then as though by miracle, the clouds are suddenly torn away and for about two minutes we are treated to intermittant glimpses of the moonscape below. “Jesus, he has come back! You are all lucky persons. You know why? It is because you come with me”.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, best things to do in Toronto, book on caves, cave conservation, cave digging, cave diving in ontario, cave formation, Caves, Caves in Canada, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Hamilton, Caving in Ontario, cool things to do in toronto, crazy things, Education, environment, Eramosa Karst, exploration, extreme sports, fun things to do in toronto, geography, geology, guelph, Hamilton, hiking, history, Interesting, nature, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, photo, Photography, photos, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, sinkholes, sinkholes in Ontario, sports, Toronto Cave Group, underground, underground Ontario, tagged Caving in Ontario, conservation, Conservation Area, Eramosa Karst, FOTEK, Friends of the Eramosa Karst, Preservation, Toronto Cave Group on December 2, 2012 |
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Conservationists from the ‘Friends of the Eramosa Karst’ and cavers from the ‘Toronto cave Group’ have joined together over these last three weekends (Nov – Dec 2012) to hopefully expose the tunnels that all suspect lie beneath the clogged entrance of Kinney Cave. Three weeks ago this karst feature was no more than a pile of glacially rounded boulders stacked at the edge of a walking path, now there is exposed entryway into the underground.
Vern, a local resident had first bought this spot to the attention of Brad, president of Friends of the Eramosa Karst. Vern could recall playing in this spot as a child, the hole was supposedly infested with Copper Heads and rattlers. Some time between then and now the cave had been filled in with enormous field-stone boulders. That is the norm in Ontario – farmers fill openings to the underground with rocks.
Anyway this dig has been an epic event, a collaboration between the Toronto Cave Group and the Hamilton based ‘Friends of the Eramosa Karst’. Both have come together in appreciation of what nature has given the area and to preserve for future generations what some obviously fail to see today. For the most part the conservationists are not cavers, but they can understand the idea of preserving something for its own sake. I could hear them talking about the highlights of the area, a stream flooded to the edges of its banks, trees swaying in the mist, dewdrops on bare branches, and various small creatures that they have proudly kept a habitat for – priceless.
This tunnel dig, as was pointed out, is returning the environment to what it was before farming and developers – and for me, I have this curiosity to know whats under there.
Today we dug downward and along a tunnel just beneath the surface. I struggled enormously with some of the huge flaked off pieces of rock, and moving them to the surface was exhausting. Jeff Collens spent his time deepening the entry shaft and in retrospect my time would have been better spent helping him. We all suspect a tunnel down at the bottom of the pit. There is said to be at least 30 feet of elevation between this sink point and its resurgence a few hundred meters away. Marcus explained how the water that sinks here and the water that sinks at another nearby stream cross paths, obviously at different levels – resurging in places that seem to make no sense.
See the video for the dig at the Eramosa Karst (Dec 2012) here
In comparing this entrance (Kinney Cave) to one that I had helped excavate at the initial clearing of the Eramosa Karst, they are very similar. Over a decade ago we began our investigation of the area at a place we called the Olmstead Caves. In a shaft much like this that we called ‘The Birth Canal’ I dug all day and the bottom finally dropped away with a distinct inward sucking of air and there beneath was a crawlway that led on to a chamber beyond. I made it as far as the chamber, but Nina Mueller and Marcus Buck (and maybe others of a slimmer build than myself) actually pushed the tunnel system way further, wiggling beneath rock flakes that are precariously wedged in muddy tubes way beneath the ground.
There is so much in this area, sinkholes everywhere that are rapidly being buried and secreted away by development interests. Jeff and I are still to explore the further reaches of our epic Wasteland Waterway discovery – it is in a similar geological setting and we often worry that in not making its whereabouts known to preservationists we might be jeopardizing its existence. Its a tricky situation and we are hope to resolve it eventually with the good advice of those who care about this kind of thing – the caving and preservation communities.
For more information on caving in Ontario, buy my book, “Caving in Ontario; Exploring buried Karst”. There is a link on the side of this page that connects to “Lulu” where the book can be purchased.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, archeology, best things to do in Toronto, book on caves, books, Buy The Book, cave conservation, cave digging, Caves, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Hamilton, caving in mexico, Caving in Ontario, cenotes, cool things to do in toronto, crazy things, Education, entertainment, environment, fun things to do in toronto, geography, geology, limestone, my life, nature, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, photo, Photography, photos, picture of, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, sinkholes in Ontario, strange places, underground, underground Ontario, what is limestone, tagged Caves on the Bruce Peninsula, fun things to do near Toronto, Greig's Caves, Greigs Cave, Grieg's Caves, Quest for Fire, spelunking, Toronto on July 9, 2012 |
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As I am still recovering from my mexico trip – (a nasty ailment that leaves me wishing that I’d been a little more cautious in the cenotes), we thought that we’d take it easy this weekend and though we pass Greig’s cave several times a month, we finally stopped in for a visit. Cost is $10 per adult and there is a nice picnic area, washroom, free walking sticks and the use of a flashlight, having my caving helmet I did not inquire about the cost (of the flashlight rental).
When I was younger I recall seeing that great and tacky classic ‘Quest for Fire’ and so it was with some amount of recollection that I viewed one of the larger caverns and I believe it was there that one of the epic battles between the Neanderthals and the other hairy guys took place. Another vivid memory was that unforgettable scene when the three stone-age morons were sleeping up in the tree and one of them had eaten all the leaves. I believe he was taunting a lion or a tiger beneath when the branch he was sitting on broke.
Anyway, more significantly, after a very interesting trip to Shallow Lake and the observation of one of it’s sinkholes, JC and I donned our packs and helmets and spent a little time looking for evidence of something other than the usual sea cave formative processes at Greig’s. I can’t really be totally sure of what I was seeing, I sometimes like to mull over what I have seen before I come up with a theory. For the most part there is a lot of collapse and evidence of wave action, but there was this one spot where a massive joint cut into the rock and from there a low crawling tunnel branched off along an anastomosing route – quite different from the smooth worn walls in other areas. It may have just been a rotting corroded section of rock, but the tunnels were somewhat regular and unchanging in size and one passage that I should have crawled down further, but was filled with porcupine feces, seemed to be quite promising – not so much for what you could see, but rather the floor was dirt and I wondered if there was anything that could be unearthed with a little digging (like a passage that had been miraculously overlooked). Several people have suggested the possibility of solution tunnels playing a part in the formation of Greig’s Caves – I’d like to prove that theory.
The above picture is of a little squeeze beside a pool. Up ahead JC’s camera on a telescopic extension revealed a small cavern that slopes down to the left with the possibility of further going tunnel, but that is just a guess by looking at his pictures. We both tried fitting through here, but neither of us had either the ability or inclination, but Jeff is strongly considering giving it another try – I believe he will fit. It seems that there are sseveral passages oriented along the bearing of a joint that runs somewhat parallel to the clif face – one is quite long and the crawl was increasingly painful in jeans and tanktop. I hope to prepare a little video sometime later in the week.
All in all, the $10 was well spent. The property is very scenic and we suddenly realized that we’d spent several hours in speculation. Admittedly this is not a wild cave, but it certainly has some interest and who could possibly shun it for the fact that it was the setting of that great theatrical masterpiece of my teenage years – Quest for Fire. If you are looking for a casual outing with your kids, providing you keep a good eye on them as there is plenty of opportunity for injury, this could well be one of the fun things to do near Toronto. This is a good example of what cavers call spelunking. I felt a little overdressed with my helmet, but what the heck.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, best things to do in Toronto, bizzare, book on caves, cave conservation, cave digging, cave diving in ontario, cave formation, Caves, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Hamilton, Caving in Ontario, cool things to do in toronto, crazy things, creepy places, cryptozoology, cryptozooology, diving in ontario, Education, environment, exploration, extreme sports, nature, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, photo, Photography, photos, picture of, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, sinkholes in Ontario, sports, strange places, things to do in Toronto, underground, underground Ontario, wierd, tagged a cave like aliens, aliens, cave near Toronto, Caving in Ontario, new cave, Prometheus, spelunking in Ontario, spelunking near Toronto on June 10, 2012 |
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Today we busted open a tunnel in cave that we had thus far called the Void, it was somewhat nondescript, but Martin Davis said that he had seen a small passage when he visited the area 30 years ago. Well after exploring a nearby shaft on cable ladder (video on that later in the week) we went over to the void and began digging where we thought the water must go down.
We worked on clearing a plug of leaves and sticks. After about an hour the front digging wall fell away and the floor started collapsing and there in front of us was a passage that was fantastically ribbed – as Greg said, it reminded him of the trailer for that new movie Prometheus. So we have decided to rename the cave Prometheus, and of all coincidences, I got home to learn that my son was hoping to take me to that movie next weekend – obviously the cave was destined to be named this. If I recall correctly, was Prometheus not the Greek hero who bought fire to man and for his efforts had his liver torn out by an eagle?
Anyway Jeff has a theory that this is a feeder passage to the main tunnel that we are yet to unearth. I think there is a possibility that this is possible. I have been trying to determine from my picture of the scallops which way the water was running. I recall last weekend I copuld hear water rumbling away beneath the rocks in an area that was quite different from where we dug to open this passage.
Hopefully within a day or two I will have some video up on the initial opening of Prometheus, and maybe some video of aliens – actually no – I’m gonna sell those to News of the World.
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Posted in archeology, best things to do in Toronto, bizzare, bones, book on caves, Buy The Book, Canada, cave conservation, cave digging, cave diving in ontario, cave formation, Caves, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Ontario, cool things to do in toronto, crazy things, creepy places, cryptozooology, Education, Eramosa Karst, exploration, extreme sports, FOTEK, fun things to do in toronto, geography, geology, haunted places, Interesting, nature, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, photo, Photography, photos, picture of, rockhounding, rockhounding in Ontario, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, sinkholes, sinkholes in Ontario, sports, strange places, things to do in Toronto, tagged archeology, Caves, caves in Canada, caving, Caving in Ontario, creepy, death, exploration on May 21, 2012 |
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We descended by cable ladder into the cave that we call the Death Bell. That morning we had no idea what we would find. My greatest fear was rattle snakes. I have come across the Massasagua rattle snake in caves before, but being in Ontario, we are fortunate that the Massasagua is the only poisonous snake.
We cleared loose rock from the lip of the shaft and Greg joked that it was like an episode from the X – Files where Skully and Mulder found the black slime alien in a cave much like this one.
See video on the Death Bell here.
As we followed into the cavern – down the swinging ladder it soon became apparent that this shaft was like no other that we had visited. You step off the ladder onto a boulder that is perched atop a 10 foot high mound of bones. Some of the bones were those of animals likely thrown in, along with some garbage from a nearby farm, but by the size of the mound you would imagine that it would have taken thousands of years to grow and depending upon the initial depth of the shaft, the pile might go down well beneath ten feet.
A tunnel led off at the deepest point, following downward along a joint. I crunched through a sediment of tiny black nuggets similar in appearance to charred rice. A puff of wind blew from the terminal pinch-point. Possibly the tunnel goes onward, but it has been blocked by the crunchy fill-in. I believe it must be the casings of a thousand years of maggots that have feasted on the ever-growing heap of corpses from fallen animals.
I am optimistic that this is a solution cave as opposed to a sea cave. Sea caves in Ontario; Rover Cave or Grieg’s Caves for example are generally wide mouthed and narrowing like a funnel. This cave seems to have no surface connection but the porthole in it’s roof, and that hardly provides a suitable portal for erosion.
Whatever the case, an animal that falls in to the Death Bell is doomed to a slow and lingering death – there’s no way out. And for a human, much the same without a ladder.
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Posted in abandoned, abandoned mines, abandoned mines in Ontario, adventure in Ontario, Adventures, Buy The Book, Canada, Caves, crazy things, creepy places, exploration, extreme sports, geography, geology, guelph, Hamilton, hiking, history, industrial archeology, Interesting, Life, mine, My Book, my life, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, Personal, Photography, photos, picture of, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, sports, strange places, tunnels, underground, underground Ontario, urban exploration, tagged Abandoned Mine, abandoned mines in Ontario, exploring abandoned mines, Ontario rock, Ontario sandstone, urb ex, urban exploration, Urban exploration in Ontario on October 18, 2011 |
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As you might guess by my post I did not go to P-Lake today. I woke up At around 03:30 with a terrible headache (I always get one when the clouds are moving in and I hear we are in for a severe rainstorm tonight) and I thought – “I’m on holiday, why do I want to do this to myself.” It’s a 5 hour drive either way, lots of hacking through the bush and then I’m not even sure of where the cave is. Last time almost killed me. So instead I switched the alarm off and slept in till about 10 and then I went south for 2 hours instead of north for 5 – to the Queenstone Sandstone Mine. It was relatively easy to find and just as big and mazy as I remembered from that trip with Dan about 10 years ago. Only thing that has changes was the path to get there.
See that pillar in the middle of the room – go ahead kick it – I dare you.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, bizzare, Canada, Caves, crazy things, culture, cultures, entertainment, Interesting, Life, my life, Nuit Blanche, ontario, people, Personal, Photography, photos, picture of, strange places, theater, underground, underground Ontario, wierd, tagged all night rave, Arts festival, Heart Machine, mobile rave, Nuit Blanche, Nuit Blanche 2011, rave, Toronto, Toronto festival on October 2, 2011 |
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With the arrival of Toronto’s good citizens it really started heating up in the square around the Heart Machine.
I understand the mobile rave had nothing to do with the official Nuit Blanche, the mobile rave was a grass roots event, not for profit loosely organized and with a number that prospective ravers could call to see where exactly the rave is at any time through the night. As for one of my favorite activities – people watching, it was a very colorful crowd and a mega sound system that literally shook windows in surrounding buildings.
Rave organizers advised ravers to not “be that guy”, keep it legal, keep from blocking traffic etc. The actual rave would not be illegal, it would be the activities that were taking place by rave participants that might push the boundaries. Well from what I saw, they pushed the boundaries a lot.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, bizzare, Canada, Caves, cities, crazy things, culture, cultures, entertainment, Interesting, Life, music, my life, News, Nuit Blanche, people, Personal, philosophy, Photography, photos, picture of, strange places, theater, tagged Arts, Arts festival, Burning Man Festival, Nuit Blanc, Nuit Blanche, Nuit Blanche 2011, Nuit Blanche zone B, The Heart Machine, Toronto on October 2, 2011 |
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So I’d meant to visit the Heart Machine. It seemed to be a nifty concept, the idea of taking control of your city, instead of passively waiting for the city to happen and you just being an observer. As the artist had written, the interaction between citizen and city was meant to be symbiotic.
long before you saw the exhibit you could see the orange flicker of the Heart Machine on the upper walls of nearby buildings. I was especially interested as the Heart Machine had been featured last year at the counter-cultural Burning Man Festival in Nevada. the whole idea is that these 4 big severed arteries or maybe it was the Vena Cava would belch huge roiling puffs of flame into the sky when triggered to do so by some good citizen who was beating at the heart. Well it certainly was a spectacle and it drew a crowd of citizens who chose to interact with the exhibit.
Carl, Jeff, Maggie and I were standing around the Heart Machine somewhat passively watching this fire twirling girl toss a flaming stick around when this Mohawk’d fellow climbed up onto a reddish mound that I took to be the heart. Imediatly the heart seemed to be picking up the pace. The pulse was increasing and the night above was lit by great roars and exhalations of fire and then the citizens arrived – planned or not they certainly added to the atmosphere and if it had not been for the chill in the air I could well have imagined that I was at the Burning man Festival myself.
I felt it first – this primitive vibration in my gut, a pounding beat explained as “step-Dub” by Jeff who is familiar with the raving scene. The street was packed and a mob was moving toward us – the smell of weed (cannabis) preceding their arrival. It was a mobile rave where the police were conspicuous in their absence, several hundred youths in varying degrees of stonedness, one fellow near me puffing a joint so large it lit the crowd up all around him. There was this guy who looked like Renfield from Dracula, faries, various pseudo Manga characters, kids in masks, costumes, fancy gowns and tons of neon glow sticks. And of course a couple of rave queens in a pickup and another vehicle behind that was kind of like a float. “Water, anybody got water?” a young fellow cried out to nobody in particular.
The music was pounding out so loud that I could barely hear Maggie saying “lets get out of here, this is getting out of control”. As though in reaction to the new arrivals the heart was now spewing flame as though it had just ruptured. A fire engine was caught up in the mess and its siren added to the chaos.
You might say that these citizens of Toronto had come to interact with the heart, and interact they did!!! It was a symbiosis that seemed symbolic of recent interactions – read into it what you will.
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Posted in adventure in Ontario, Adventures, books, Buy The Book, Canada, cave conservation, cave digging, cave diving in ontario, cave formation, Caves, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Hamilton, Caving in Ontario, crazy things, creepy places, Education, entertainment, environment, Eramosa Karst, exploration, extreme sports, geography, geology, guelph, Hamilton, hiking, history, Interesting, Life, My Book, my life, nature, Nature/Outdoors, niagara escarpment, ontario, ontario caves, Ontario geography, Ontario Underground, Ontario's geography, Ontario's geology, Personal, Photography, photos, picture of, rocks and minerals, rocks in Ontario, rockwatching, searching for caves, sinkholes in Ontario, sports, strange places, underground, underground Ontario, wierd, tagged Alice in Wonderland, Caves, caves in Canada, caves in Ontario, caving, Caving in Ontario, karst in Canada, Lewis Carol, Lewis Caroll, sinkholes, soil pipes, soilpipes on September 20, 2011 |
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Might this be the hole down which the white rabbit disappeared?
JC and I found this in a valley. Two deep gullies lead up to this spot and there is some obvious overflow where the valley fills up under flood conditions and flows out across the land. The landowner said that he’d heard of this feature, but he’d never really looked.
I believe if I dived down here I might get at least 8 feet before the hole got too narrow and then I’d lie there wedged until my eyeballs popped out or the rabbit set me free. A point on that story (Alice in Wonderland), my mother used to work for the Dean of Christchurch (where Lewis Caroll was a Don) and there was a constant flow of people wanting chestnuts from the Cheshire Cat tree which was right outside her office window – sorry I diverge from caving in Ontario.
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