As mentioned in a previous post, courage or weather withstanding JC, Wolfmaan and I would be exploring virgin tunnel this last weekend. Well a failure on all fronts. The weather around the Wasteland Waterway Cave was just outrageous and, additionally, my courage failed as well – I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am by nature a coward. As for an outdoor adventure in Ontario, it would not be happening that day. I imagined leaving Wasteland Waterway after crawling underground sometimes in water, sometimes not, and then trying to strip off that freezing slippery neoprene in blizzard-like conditions and well, to be honest, looking at the blizzard, it was hard to face the elements and we postponed cave exploring until the weather gets a little warmer.
Having traveled through some very poor road conditions that morning in my Hyundai Accent to meet JC down the Home Depot – our usual meeting spot – we didn’t have the heart to entirely waste the day so we went out anyway just to follow some likely cave leads.
Trudging over frozen plowed fields and drifts that were blowing and at times created virtual whiteouts we saw this wolf or coyote thing that was running between small patches of forest to evade us. It was not so much the forest that interested us but rather the sinkholes around which they clustered. By aerial photos JC had identified several teardrop shaped patches by which we have come to expect the terminus of a disappearing stream. Wandering into one such depression it looked familiar and soon I came to recognize the now forgotten site of XS Wire Cave. On a similar freezing day several years back we had broken through a layer of rock and immersed in water I had crawled along a tunnel in possibly some of the most painful caving that I had ever done. The tunnel was short but at 20 below the conditions were abominable.
My book on caves, Caving in Ontario; Exploring Buried Karst has a chapter that details something of that discovery and the experience of the steel porcupine quills. As for cave exploring, the exploration of XS Wire Cave had truly been a challenge.