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Posts Tagged ‘spelunking’

As I am still recovering from my mexico trip – (a nasty ailment that leaves me wishing that I’d been a little more cautious in the cenotes), we thought that we’d take it easy this weekend and though we pass Greig’s cave several times a month, we finally stopped in for a visit. Cost is $10 per adult and there is a nice picnic area, washroom, free walking sticks and the use of a flashlight, having my caving helmet I did not inquire about the cost (of the flashlight rental).

When I was younger I recall seeing that great and tacky classic ‘Quest for Fire’ and so it was with some amount of recollection that I viewed one of the larger caverns and I believe it was there that one of the epic battles between the Neanderthals and the other hairy guys took place. Another vivid memory was that unforgettable scene when the three stone-age morons were sleeping up in the tree and one of them had eaten all the leaves. I believe he was taunting a lion or a tiger beneath when the branch he was sitting on broke.

Anyway, more significantly, after a very interesting trip to Shallow Lake and the observation of one of it’s sinkholes, JC and I donned our packs and helmets and spent a little time looking for evidence of something other than the usual sea cave formative processes at Greig’s. I can’t really be totally sure of what I was seeing, I sometimes like to mull over what I have seen before I come up with a theory. For the most part there is a lot of collapse and evidence of wave action, but there was this one spot where a massive joint cut into the rock and from there a low crawling tunnel branched off along an anastomosing route – quite different from the smooth worn walls in other areas. It may have just been a rotting corroded section of rock, but the tunnels were somewhat regular and unchanging in size and one passage that I should have crawled down further, but was filled with porcupine feces, seemed to be quite promising – not so much for what you could see, but rather the floor was dirt and I wondered if there was anything that could be unearthed with a little digging (like a passage that had been miraculously overlooked). Several people have suggested the possibility of solution tunnels playing a part in the formation of Greig’s Caves – I’d like to prove that theory.

The above picture is of a little squeeze beside a pool. Up ahead JC’s camera on a telescopic extension revealed a small cavern that slopes down to the left with the possibility of further going tunnel, but that is just a guess by looking at his pictures. We both tried fitting through here, but neither of us had either the ability or inclination, but Jeff is strongly considering giving it another try – I believe he will fit. It seems that there are sseveral passages oriented along the bearing of a joint that runs somewhat parallel to the clif face – one is quite long and the crawl was increasingly painful in jeans and tanktop. I hope to prepare a little video sometime later in the week.

All in all, the $10 was well spent. The property is very scenic and we suddenly realized that we’d spent several hours in speculation. Admittedly this is not a wild cave, but it certainly has some interest and who could possibly shun it for the fact that it was the setting of that great theatrical masterpiece of my teenage years – Quest for Fire. If you are looking for a casual outing with your kids, providing you keep a good eye on them as there is plenty of opportunity for injury, this could well be one of the fun things to do near Toronto. This is a good example of what cavers call spelunking. I felt a little overdressed with my helmet, but what the heck.

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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).

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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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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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Anybody know about caving clipart?

Thoughts of tunnels deeper in.

You might be interested to compare this picture to the one I have included three or four posts earlier of the Cuevas de Bellamar – Cuba. Aside from the size difference you might also notice the difference in tunnel crossection. Any idea why? Are there any cavers out there who would like to interperet the elliptical as opposed to the flat bottomed reason for the two tunnel shapes? Any knowledge of red Cuban limestones? I would be really interested to know about the kind of limestone that the Cuevas de Bellamar had formed in.

This picture is taken deeper in along the small passages at the edge of the small escarpment. I hope with summer investigation we might find a way to penetrate deeper in.

Water flows across the more easily crawlable direction of these tunnels that proceed parallel to the resurging stream nearby – this indicates to me that there is something deeper in – this is not just a passage that leads along beside the river.

See the channel in the floor. There are several that run out toward the river from deeper in the river bank. The more I think about it, the more I feel resolved to investigate the bigger scarp in the Spring. I’ve never been up top.

Just a question, Anybody know where I can find some good caving clipart? I am preparing a presentation on power-point for a club of interested individuals. I never realized what great stuff you could accomplish with that program.

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If you want to cave in Canada – you gotta like the cold!

Caving in the winter

Speaking of caving possibilities – there is plenty of virgin passage beneath this low escarpment – tunnels that I have entered but never really pursued. Come to think of it, this might be our easy access to the bigger suspected tunnels beneath the larger escarpment nearby.

There are always interesting ice formations in this area – in this case stalacmites of ice that have grown up from the floor.

This particular opening was the first one that we ever found in the area. Marcel, his ggirlfriend at the time and I stumbled across this hole – we never really followed in to far, but I believe that somewhere along those passages they must connect up with the Marmora Maze Caves (downstream).

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Ontario in the Winter – Canadian caving trips

 

Got to watch for polar bears and sasquatch – I heard a caver just got eaten.

Here I am in one of my favorite Ontario caving spots looking for more tunnels. Winter is often a good time to look for caves as you can see the breathing holes and with few leaves and brambles – holes can be more visible.

This particular spot is at the edge of a resurging valley somewhere near the Crowe River. I am climbing up a slippery embankment that is one of several ridges that soon progress to an escarpment that I am absolutely sure is underlain by caves. In this area there are 3 distinctive joint directions and I can see a length of straight-line collapse beneath the soil in one spot on the nearby escarpment. There are undoubtably tunnels under there Рits just gonna take some digging.

Sometimes its esy to get depressed about Ontario’s caving possibilities, but the caves are there, they just need digging and as cavers we just need to get together and do some serious work. We lack unity thats our problem!

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