As promised, I am revealing a little of what I saw this past weekend. I have asked my companions to check out the blog before they decide whether they mind having their image go “world wide”. Maybe by tomorrow you can see the full extent of our adventure – or maybe you cannot.
What you see in this picture looks, as my son remarked upon seeing the image, “Like an alien’s spinal cord”. These fantastic notched ridges corrugate the walls and are known as draperies. They are a type of speleothem. Given time they might evolve into any number of strange forms. Looking down the main tunnel it suggests to me the gullet of a dragon. A freezing stream trickles along between bars of sculpted sand. They are features that are reworked annually during the spring flood. We followed up the flow until the tunnel roof met the water and there in a murky pool realized that it was as far as we would be going that day.
This system into which we had entered is undoubtably one of the most decorated caverns in Ontario. Most local tunnels are scoured clean of speleothems. Here the walls are a cheesy white, in places yellowing like “poutine”, elsewhere a browning bank of terraced fudge. A bowl in the wall appeared to hold the bacterial slime known as “moonmilk”. I shone my beam into it and observed its eerie translucence.