Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Exploration in Ontario’

IMG_8705, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

JC, GW and I returned to this karstic area to make an attempt on this pit. This is but one sinkhole of many in this area – over 50 mapped nearby, all overlying a buried karst that likely hides caves that we would very much like to find.

We have taken a short break from Wasteland Waterway as it can get quite intense if you do it every weekend. Instead we thought to involve ourselves in something a little less serious – the C… sink was exactly what we needed. It was a sinkhole that had been dye traced by a local university, but inexplicably, with such a perfect pit, they never had the curiosity to descend it.

We carried our ladder for around a half hour through tangled, bush, nettles and along the edge of a corn field until we reached our destination.

At the end of a narrow, steep sided gulley we followed a barely flowing stream as it dribbled over a ledge for a free fall into the underground.

Down below the water pattered down upon us like a cloud-burst, we were soaked in seconds, but we stayed to clear debris from the mouth of a small triangular shaped tunnel. As GW points out, with a little persuasion we will be able to remove the boulder that blocks our way and then we’ve got a going cave dig.

We now have the luxury of one promising cave dig and 2 caves with virgin passage known only to myself, JC and soon to be Greg and Marcus.  For Ontario that really is quite remarkable and it becomes increasingly apparent that the karst is there and if you know what to look for, the tunnels soon make themselves apparent.

A short break next week as I’m off to the Bancroft Gemboree – I never miss it. I hear the CGA is there so I’ll stop by to touch base with old collegues. Gems are another of my interests.

Still working hard at getting the next cave book out – it’s looking good. If you are cave-interested, especially in Ontario caves, geology or geography I’m sure you’ll appreciate what I’ll have to offer – again discretion with locations, but like opening a treasure box if you’re a cave searcher you will be totally energised by what you hear and see.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Wasteland Waterway - an Ontario cave that just keeps on getting bigger

Wasteland Waterway - an Ontario cave that just keeps on getting bigger

Our aim today had been to reach the underside of a sink some 200 surface meters as the crow flies from the “Blue Barrel sink”.

The initial squeeze beyond the blue barrel sink seemed tighter than I remembered it last visit, but beyond that, as expected, the tunnels opened up well beyond our most hopeful expectations. The above picture was at the squeeze just beyond “Blue Barrel Sink”.

JC and I followed into a vadose trench where the roof was soon well above our heads. We left a decorated upper level behind (with it’s own exploration possibilities) and found ourselves following a zig zag course downward through sheets of rock and layers deeply pitted with scallops.

Today’s exploration ended in a shallow pool with 3 choices of tunnel moving forward. I suspect that a rightward leading tunnel could well underlie the sink for which we had been heading – but then it’s just purely speculation (well not entirely). We must already be quite deep beneath the surface and confirmation as to this passage’s eventual termination would require a stoop walk along the said passage which at first glance looks very jagged – though to it’s credit it is a little above the trunk passage in height so possibly a feeder passage leading from the suspected sink.

As an Ontario cave this one ranks up there with other more impressive local caves – who knows how big it will eventually get, it certainly blows a healthy draft. So far the formations have not quite matched those of Spanky’s Paradise, but they come a close second. This cave is certainly deeper than most Ontario caves (and I have been in most Ontario caves that are known to the caving community). As a straight line tunnel – thus far only branching now, it is definitely impressive for Ontario.

Read Full Post »

 

IMG_8547, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

It should come as no surprise that an Ontario cave is cold and wet and smelly – so much so in fact that we have named a nearby sink “the stink sink”. Anyway, here is me crawling from the entrance of the cave, the snow is yet to fully melt on the nearby slopes, but when you find an undiscovered cave (undiscovered to cavers that is) you have no choice but to explore it.

We only went in a short distance today as we need wetsuits, I believe we must have seen about 100 feet of tunnel. It gets more spacious once you pass the entrance and the tunnel meanders in a limestone bedding plane. By the gently curved roof, it would not be unreasonable to suspect that the passage had initially developed beneath the water table, and by the multitude of other nearby karst features you absolutely know that numerous other sinks will be linking up as you get deeper in. Looking over the hill above the cave we can only speculate the route of the underground passage, a nearby sink leads us to suspect the first part of the route, but after that who knows? Unlike the relatively predictable route of a joint oriented tunnel like my recent trip to the Casselman Cave, the bedding plane orientation (without joints thus far noticed) is a crap shoot.

If this passage does not dip beneath the water table soon it will be a provincially significant find – it can only get larger.

Not tio diverge, but check out my new book “Tamarindo; Crooked times in Costa Rica“. If you have read my first book Rockwatching, you will certainly want my second.

Read Full Post »

Puzzled? Not so for the experienced Ontario cave searcher

I whimped out!

I am at this time still barely able to walk. My excuse …

I am out of shape
Jeff is in shape
He walked too fast, I walked to slow
My backpack was too heavy
It was too hot, I missed my dog

Just plain failure of morale, in part based on the everfluctuating readings of a GPS in which I had little faith.

Anyway, those are some of my excuses, but on the bright side we finished the day with some hope and a plan for next time (About a month from now)

We had learned of a cave beneath the power lines and at the edge of a lake and so on this beautiful sunny day we headed up north to investigate. From pictures that another caver had shown me, there is a hole that drops through the rock down into a stream channel that runs through a rubble strewn – sometimes wet passage eventually ending up at the shores of the lake. (Ontario cavers may have seen Cornelie’s pictures. From what I understand the Niebelungen cavers made a visit here about 2 years ago)

We initially arrived where the power lines crossed the road and from the air photos, I had suspected there was only a small stream to cross and then 2 kilometers to the cave – not so, the beavers had set up obstacles since the air photo was taken and we had to approach from another route where the car was parked several kilometers away. We followed up rutted road that became a dirt track that eventually intercepted the power lines. Power lines are hell to follow; you wont get lost but its not easy walking. Jeff and I slogged along over rocky hillocks and through marsh. Again the beavers made the walking circuitous and exhausting. At times we teetered along the rim of muddy beaver ponds – beautiful in amongst the lillies and dragon flies if it were not for the beating sun, progressing headache and screaming legs.

By midafternoon I was utterly exhaused and I backed out before reaching the suspected cave location – not one of my more spectacular outings. It just seemed that the power lines marched on for ever (and they do) and the hills were getting higher and higher and my legs were getting less and less co-operative (and they were -stubborn like mules)

End result, a five hour drive back to Guelph, legs that I am still barely able to get functioning, and a plan to return with a rubber raft before winter and cut across the newly formed lake to take a great distance off the hike.

There are supposedly several other caves in this area and we are resolved to pay a visit to a couple of likely sites before the snow arrives.

Read Full Post »

Check out the scalloping

An Ontario cave near Lake Erie

Notice the scalloping – wear features shaped like spoon scoops, they are indicative of the water speed and direction of flow. The roof above is grey and hard and worn smooth – no sign of the ceiling joint that governs passage direction in many Ontario caves (e.g. Ongleys Hole/ Dewdney’s Cave), so as for water just trickling in from the fields above, that does not seem to be an option at this time. The water certainly rises high in the tunnels, but today it is drizzling outside and no sign of raised water levels.

Up ahead there appears to be either deeper water or less rubble in a “T” junction. I wonder if the left leading junction meets up with the surface depression that we saw? Does it function as an overflow conduit like in Little Stream?

We are left considering the possibility of some kind of dendritic feeding system, or a single point at which the water sinks. The passage seems to be widening up ahead and so we resolve to return to “Dead Mouse” in about two weeks with the appropriate equipment and push on deeper in.

Read Full Post »