Step into the silence of the subterranean: Get ‘grounded’ on a caving adventure

Step into the silence of the subterranean: Get ‘grounded’ on a caving adventure

ZENSEEKERS

Caving - aka spelunking - has to be one of the most unique things to do in Western Canada. You’ll come away awed by the silence of the subterranean and learn more about how our planet was formed.

Alberta and B.C. are home to at least three caving companies that will take you to the under side: the underworld, absent of natural light, sound – or a cell phone connection.

This is an adventure few ever get to experience. It’ll open your mind to a whole new way of looking at the Earth.

Recently, our team at ZenSeekers went on one of these underground adventures at Horne Lake Caves in Horne Lake Provincial Park, just outside of Parksville, B.C.

We decided if we were going to do this, we’d go big, so we opted for the three-hour, multi-cave experience. It’s just one of the tours offered, that range from one to five hours.

Here’s some of the most impressive things we learned from our epic adventure.

Know what you’re looking at: Those icicle-like formations hanging above you are called stalactites. These take thousands of years to form, and humans can ruin them in seconds. Note: when exposed to sun and “above-ground conditions,” the calcite making up the rock will turn grey and crumble if removed from the caves.

Cave-hunting tip: There are clues above ground that hint at cave systems below, like karst landscapes which means you’ll see water-soluble rock, ancient stream beds, fallen trees because of shallow topsoil, grike or baby caves.

 

Lean on your guide: If you have a fear related to caves (enclosed spaces, darkness, trying to squeeze through immovable rock, etc.) it's a good idea to take a guided tour. A good guide knows how to get you through tight spots, knows the quickest way out, and keeps you distracted with a commentary of what you’re seeing.

Water features: You’re bound to encounter water at some point (Horne Lake has a four- to five-hour adventure that lets you to rappel within the cave next to the “Rain Barrel” – a waterfall within the cave!) Although the rocks were wet, algae doesn’t grow here, meaning it’s not slippery. Bonus: Caves also have some of the cleanest, freshest water found on earth.

It’s really cool down here: The caves at Horne Lake are a stable 8C degree temperature all year long.

Caving central: Vancouver is home to more than 1,500 caves so you won't have to look far for this underground adventure and find a new state of wonder.

Relax and enjoy: Take a deep breath and revel in the moment knowing that you are virtually ‘grounded’ in Mother Nature.

Learn more: The folks at Horne Lake Caves have the skills and experience to ensure a safe adventure. Check out their list of tours here: https://hornelake.com

 

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