Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘exploration’

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.

Read Full Post »

The author of “Caving in Ontario”.

Pay no attention to that picture, they took my Scotch away and I got a little grumpy.

I thought that it might be advantageous to the prospective book buyer to understand a little about my motivations in writing the book “Caving in Ontario; Exploring Buried Karst” and so you can click on the link and it will take you to a discussion in my study.

See the interview here – Interview with author of Caving in Ontario. as you will hear I speak a little about some of my previous books and why I choose to write this one.

Check out a 12 page preview of “Caving in Ontario” here. Read more about a book on caves in Ontario here on the Edgehill Press site.

Read Full Post »

Caving in Ontario – Exploration of Buried Karst – JC following up a cave tunnel

“The newly published book, “Caving in Ontario; Exploration of Buried Karst”, is now available for purchase from Lulu at this link – “Caving in Ontario” – buy the book. On the Lulu web page you will be able to preview several pages and in paying on their site you can choose shipping options that range from single day to 1 week delivery time.

“Caving in Ontario” has been a joy to write, it records the underground caving explorations that I and those that I know have taken over the last 2 decades in Ontario. There have been some extremely hazardous, world class adventures beneath the rock of this province and I felt the need to document those as well as saying something of the culture of those who are involved in extreme sports such as this.

If you are in any way interested in what lies beneath your feet, the rock and tunnels of Ontario – this book is for you. I am personally attracted by the beauty of the underground and the mystery of what lies beyond. In “Caving in Ontario” I write of many of the known caves and some that are known only to me and my closest caving friends.  I summarize two decades of exploration and tell prospective cavers how to find their own caves. Finding caves involves understanding local geology and the clues of surface geographical features.

Buy the book “Caving in Ontario”. I look forward to hearing of your own discoveries, there’s plenty more to find.

Read Full Post »

Leaded paint rock art circa 1970. Do you suppose the artist was trying to express his inner soul? will this still be here a thousand years from now and what will they surmise of primitive Ontarions?

I found this unique piece of primitive graffiti in an abandoned Mine near Niagara Falls – this at the edge of a pool of water that stretched on into cavernous darkness.  All through the water there are great hand-cut wooden beams and remnants of the previous mining operation and a deflated plastic raft that had once been used to venture deeper in. From past experience this would be the best way to do it as the mud is really treacherous.

Here is another urban exploration in Niagara Falls of a slightly more daring nature.

Read Full Post »

An Ontario Cave - Spanky's Paradise (Jeff)

An Ontario Cave - Spanky's Paradise (Jeff)

Spanky’s Paradise is certainly one of the more exciting cave discoveries that I’ve been involved with. Of particular note are the formations and also the knowledge of other tunnels in the area.

Spanky’s is under an escarpment and there are several buried joints that follow into this ridge, all along the same orientation as Spanky’s. This past weekend JC and I identified one such joint as likely to open into tunnel with a little rearrangement of the rock around it. We pretty well know that this escarpment is absolutely hollow. I can only imagine the incredible sight of buried Ontario cave tunnel exposed to my headlamp for the first time.

Check out these videos of Spanky’s Paradise. Sadly my humble efforts hardly portray the incredible beauty of the cave.

Spanky’s Paradise 1   An Ontario Cave – Spanky’s 1

Spanky’s Paradise 2  An Ontario Cave – Spanky’s 2

Read Full Post »

Well as much as I have used the post title before, it comes as no surprise that it should be used again, because if you keep on looking, you just keep on finding. As seems apparent both JC and I are two stubborn dogs who just won’t quit looking so we find our share of local (Ontario) caves each year. Last year it was “Broken rowboat Cave, the year before it was “Broken glass Cave”, now it’s wasteland waterway”

Sitting in the Centennial Parkway parking lot of the Home Depot we checked out the aerial photos of our target area. Jeff pointed out that there had been past mention of sinks around the destination. Well we drove there and after about an hour of slogging through the forest we came across a karsty sort of terrain – sinks about 20 feet deep and runnels cut through the clay overburden within which flowed cappuccino colored streams. We followed one such stream to where it disappeared underground and we had our first glimpse of the cave that we baptized “the Wasteland Waterway’ – henceforth it will be called as such.

As you can see, size-wise, the entry tunnel is about 4 feet wide and about 3 feet high and a brisk stream flows within. I believe there are some similarities to Nexus Cave and as we soon hope to discover, possible size comparisons as well, but being a cave and not knowing what is around the corner till you get there we also remain realistic to the possibility of disappointment – more to follow soon.

Oh, BTW – check out my new book “Tamarindo; Crooked times in Costa Rica” here.

And on the subject of books, I am giving serious consideration to another book on Caving in Ontario (Rockwatching was my first).

Read Full Post »

 

Ontario cave

Admittedly, there is way more down there than we have presently discovered. A good example would be the interior of the Bruce Peninsula – some of it public land, some of it private.

Various indicators suggest that from the smaller tunnels, their sediment blockages and lack of surface flowing water, there must be bigger systems and underground rivers that are yet to be discovered.

Stay tuned for posts to follow (Ontario Caves).

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 »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »