I suppose on of the most gratifying things about cave exploration is the ‘buzz’ that you get, and everything in existence seems to be encompassed in the yellow circle of your headlamp. Outside your headlamp there is mystery – turn your head and the mystery reveals itself. Each turn, corner and passage feels like it’s own first time discovery – I guess its something like the gambler’s buzz, and once you leave the cave the buzz dies away and then I feel like i’m in this slump and the rest of the week is grey and gloomy.
First human in a place that has lain untouched for several thousand years – beat that! How can you? The greater the challenge, the more the buzz. If somebody has already gone before you and poured a concrete sidewalk where’s the wonder there? I believe caving can become an addiction, and having caved for 26 years now I am hooked just like a junkie. And oddly I’ve become a connisour of rare and unusual sights – a flowstone dam, cave pearls, speleothems and speleogens, crawling in tunnels that are washed by frigid streams, deep tannin stained pools in marble, dolostone, calcite and limestone – privy to a sleeping porcupine’s bedside, wondering if a bear lies just beyond. Where does the waterfall come from? What wondrous crystal is that? some would pay a fortune at a mineral show, I prefer the mineral exactly where it sits – a concept of eco-mineral exploration which is something quite closely allied to ethical cave exploration.
Somewhere above some pretty deep shafts that lead down to Friar’s Hole this lama used to live. I was returning from one such shaft and he followed me – more like terrorized me, just kind of pacing along behind. I’ve had a few weird experiences with lamas so …
Any way, off that particular topic, but on the topic of cave shafts, check out these cave base jumps. Not a sport I’d considered before, but it looks amazing, as the Chinese guide says in a massive understatement, “Everybody will have an exciting day today” …
If you are wondering why no update on broken rowboat cave, its serious snow up there right now and neither JC or myself can hack through that kind of terrain in those conditions and also I’m working like a mad man to finish off my next book – it’s now a week overdue. Keep your eyes peeled – “Tamarindo”, Published by Edgehill Press.
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).
In pursuit of the slurping sound I waded onward down the watery tunnel. The water was about 5 feet deep, clear and greenish tinged. Remarkably the floor was composed of pea gravel – tiny little rocks worn smooth and translucent by the running water. I wondered where the pebbles had come from – I am in a dolostone terrain and some of those pebbles were igneous in origin.
Following the release some time ago of my book "Rockwatching; Adventures above and below Ontario", I am pleased to announce the release of my new book "Tamarindo; Crooked Times in Costa Rica". It is a story of opportunity. Edgehill Press is the publisher. (www.edgehillpress.com)