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Archive for July, 2009

Where does the tunnel go from here? Is there airspace or do the passages descend beneath the water table?

Next visit we will remove the wheel and try back-float the passage in a wet suit.

A short distance through the mud left me up against this wheel – a good place for mud bogging if you can get your monster truck past the entry squeeze. Notice the scalloping where the water funnels down and the alternating layers of rock above – the tunnel goes on – but it will be a water crawl from here.

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Going deeper!

Jeff’s picture

Not being quite high enough to crawl on all fours I had to belly inch my way down this slope throgh numerous jagged glass obstacles that struck up through the rock. Down below the passage gets a little higher and in one spot there is a pretty sizeable fossilized sponge with a scallop scooped into it. The rock looks fractured and the passage wide, but down near the bottom of the slope it almost seems like the pool ahead is possibly in a joint. It is also possible to see the water worn walls of the passage, but I am sinking down into deep mud.

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Bed of Glass Cave – a newly discovered Ontario cave


Jeff C.’s picture 

So here is where you slip down the incline from beneath all the tangled wire deeper into the cave. Right next to my helmet there is an old milk churn and in sliding over it I bruised my ribs quite badly and I’m still feeling it today. I am looking down a slope that is strewn with broken glass and old bottles and wondering wheter I’ll be getting my belly slashed today. The cave is likely unexplored by people, but it certainly shows signs of their human presence by the trash that has tumbled in over the years. One thought would be to clear the garbage and restore the cave to a relatively pristine state.

This cave kind of reminds me of the XS wired project that I had been involved with, though also something like Olmstead Cave. It seems like farmers viewed sinks and cave openings as the place to dump all their old fencing. Something else that seems to be quite noticeable is that most dismiss the caves as tiny holes around which they played as children – a fox hole, or an overhang. Most know of the cave presences on their land, though most have a fanciful memory of them. Most wont have even seen the actual opening as it would have been buried under trash heaps from as far back as the 1800s. When I got home last night from the cave trip I found an 8 inch long spine of rusting wire threaded into the back of my pants and through my belt. Fortunatly the wire had passed parallel to my backside as opposed to something a little more noticeable.

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A newly discovered Ontario cave

Initial exploration of “Bed of Glass Cave”

This is Jeff, he discovered Bed of Glass Cave” last weekend.

Having dropped down through the hole that had been broken through the coils of rusting wire we found ourself in a twilight world of subdued light, old car parts and broken bottles. Up above the messy canopy was capped by brambles and old sticks.

What we found ourselves up against was a fractured clifface – behind Jeff there is a roof from which leads a dry tunnel that appears at first glance to get quite small (I am yet to go down there and get a better look.

In the direction that Jeff is looking, there is a sort of convex drop-away that leads on to the lower tunnel. Water from the now dry stream would flow (in time of flood) in from the direction that Jeff is looking.

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Toronto Caving Group

Another  new Cave near Lake Erie 

A question that is commonly asked by people who visit this site is, How do I become a caver? or, How do I start caving in Ontario?

Well, aside from the obvious (start caving on your own) Join a caving club.

I had been caving for many years as an independant before I joined the Toronto Caving Group. I had initially taken a caving course in the army while I had been stationed in Gibraltar but that only covered the basics of sport caving. To really cave as an independant required far more knowledge than that.

A caver needs to know how to find caves and short of that knowledge, you need to align yourself with people who already have that skill to learn. Your first caving trip with the TCG (Toronto Caving Group) will likely be to the Niagra Escarpment caves (e.g. Mount Nemo or Rattle Snake Point), but after that, and with the appropriate contact (That you will make in the club) your horizons begin to expand. Later caving trips might be down to Dewdney,s or Moira caves and then later with more experience – Friars Hole in West Virginia. Somewhere along there you begin picking up the skills to progress further in the field of caving.

This picture was taken yesterday and it is above a new cave that Jeff discovered last weekend. The cave (“Bed of Glass”) is buried beneath a pile of rusting wire fencing and old car parts. A dry stream weaves through a nearby woodlot and disappears beneath the big pile of crap. Jeff had made a hole and down this hole we went. My first task had been to ascertain the absence of snakes. I had seen several in the grass that day and I hate snakes. Nowhere more appealing to snakes than beneath a big pile of garbage just like this.

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Pool in Dead Mouse Cave

IMG_7892, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

I suppose it would not be unreasonable to assume that I have managed to fit in a significant amount of study since the last post went up, but unfortunatly I was again distracted and ended up visiting my good Friend Jeff (SNAFU).

Jeff M. is a techie, I am not. I’ve been trying to figure out how to record a fire alarm sound and then play it at work for the betterment of those who do not understand our two-tone system. It had seemed like an impossible task. Fortunately, my frustration was soon aleviated by Jeff who said that I had the wrong connections at the back of my boom box. You see the peole at Futureshop had sold me the wrong connection, or maybe I had bought the wrong connection – either way, I’ve been feeling pretty frustrated. Problem solved, SNFU knew the solution right away and now everything is good.

Now an explanation of the cave picture.

This is what lies at the furthest extent of where I was willing to crawl in “Dead Mouse”. It is a strange little dam that holds back a crystal-clear pool of water behind(not the muddy one you can see in front) and Jeff C. who I was with at the time said that he might have been able to push the passage further as it is wide and curves sharply off to the left beyond this picture. For me, this is as far as I will be going in dead mouse. There are better options in the area of which I was then aware and I will explain that morning’s big success in my next set of posts – I just wanted to finish off on the “Dead Mouse story before diverging off onto more exciting news.

Oh, one kind of interesting thing. You might have noticed that rock in the middle of the dam, its kind of like a cork in a dyke. It had forced its way into the hole from behind.

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A disapponting conclusion – I’m to fat to go much further

 

IMG_7898, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Just a quick post as promised – a conclusion to the newly discovered cave – “Dead Mouse”. In one sense, you did not miss out to much here Greg. The cave soon changed to something less explorable, but it was the exploration earlier in the day at another spot found by Jeff that really made the journey worthwhile.

I am again supposed to be studying for a health and safety exam. This is the last of the delay tactics that I can employ – a quick update that I will build upon in a following few posts later this evening.

As we have discovered over the weeks since our last visit, the Onondaga Escarpment (south of Hamilton) is a rich caving ground if you know what to look for. The escarpment winds all wriggly and convoluted across the top of Lake Erie – interspersed with layers of chert and some fabulous fossils.

More to come soon.

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