Our group on the suspension bridge over Qualicum River before heading up to the cave – T. Koleszar
Interpretive (and rest) stop on the way up, with guide Sarah telling us about cave geology – T. Koleszar
The trail up is well switch-backed! – T. Koleszar
Sink hole filled with debris. This would lead to the upper reaches of the cave – T. Koleszar
Naturalist group preparing to go underground – T. Koleszar
The cave entrance – T. Koleszar
descending into the dark! – T. Koleszar
water-deposited rock formations on the cave walls – T. Koleszar
and more of them! – T. Koleszar
Our guide Sarah pointing out features on the upper walls – T. Koleszar
Sarah pointing out more features on the upper walls – T. Koleszar
more cave deposits – there were interesting things wherever you looked! – T. Koleszar
Limestone (calcium carbonate) formations in tunnels reaching down from higher parts of the cave or from the surface – T. Koleszar
Approaching the Buddha… – T. Koleszar
The smiling Buddha and his reflecting pool – T. Koleszar
stepping up to see the buddha! – T. Koleszar
a delighted spelunker! – T. Koleszar
Small mineral pools at the base of calcium carbonate flows – T. Koleszar
Time to go back out – and remember to duck! – T. Koleszar
Back on the surface after our underground tour (we’ve all been more than 6 feet under and came back to tell the tale!) – T. Koleszar
Underground! Horne Lake Caves
by Tom Koleszar, 30 May 2015.
Sixteen Naturalists traveled to Vancouver Island to visit the Horne Lake Caves.
Lead by our guide, Sarah, we had a 1/2 hour walk (uphill!), complete with interpretive stops, to the entrance of the Riverbend Cave. From there, with helmets and lights on, all 16 of us descended (steeply!) into the cave.
With our guides Sarah in the lead and Jesse bringing up the tail, we moved about 100m into the cave, all the way to the smiling buddha room where we all had a chance to step up and view the buddha beside his reflecting pool! We had many opportunities to see the fascinating rock formations in the cave, and also had our minute of TOTAL darkness with all our lights out. I think we all had an interesting day learning about Vancouver Island caves and Horne Lake in particular. You can learn more about Horne Lake caves here.
Following the cave tour we returned to Courntey to visit the Courtenay Museum & Palaeontology Centre to see more of the geological and cultural history of Vancouver Island. A very worthwhile stop!
And lastly – the Griffin Pub to take our ease over dinner and a beverage before heading back to the ferry.
Special thanks to Barbara Sherriff for organising this trip and persevering through all the necessary arrangements!