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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

The above picture is of the inside of Travertine Cave, which is situated at location near Toronto, Canada. We visited one winter day quite recently. While at University I often remember sitting there wondering what I could find to do aside from studying (of which I did precious little) (Toronto University, or possibly University of Guelph, or McMaster University – Hamilton, are close to here).

In the accompanying video – What to do on a winter day in Toronto Canada – Ice Caving Adventure (Toronto University) I detail my attempts to explore the cave and the unfortunate accident that I had which now leaves me aching and bruised.

Of particular interest was the observation that deeper into the cave – well past the flowing water at the entrance, was the realization that water was also flowing outward from within. I had always thought that Travertine Cave was simply a shelter that had formed as Tufa seeped over the edge of a low cliff. Water flowing from within might suggest the possibility of a solution cave and tunnels that are more extensive than I had imagined.

The ice formations in Travertine Cave were also very unusual. A strong breeze blows through the cave and the resulting icicles are flat and bladed with square protuberances at the bottom of each hanging pendant. I am left wondering what freak of climate or geography would so consistently create that unusual shape amongst not one, but all of the icicles hanging in a certain area of the entry grotto.

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Wolf or Coyote – cave hunting, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

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.

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