Thursday, October 06, 2011

Up Island - Caving Day!

The definite highlight of our holiday was, for me at least, the opportunity to go caving at the Horne Lake Caves. They're about a 45 minute drive from where we were camping in Qualicum Beach, but not that far as the crow flies. Most of the drive was on sketchy back roads into a provincial park. The caving operation is run by a company that works in conjunction with the provincial park to take people into a cave that's locked up to prevent vandalism.

If you ever go caving, I HIGHLY recommend tough nylon MEC pants. Trevor's jeans were incredibly muddy, but after a quick dusting off, my pants were totally clean. Also, no matter how warm it is outside, it will be REALLY cold underground. And since you have to wear the helmets they provide, I recommend having your own hat to wear under said helmet if you're squeamish about things like germs and bugs. :) Also, take water and a few snacks in a very small backpack - you will absolutely need your hands free.

It was quite stiff uphill hike from the parking lot to the actual entrance of the cave. When we got to the cave, the guide unlocked the gate, and we scrambled down a long metal ladder like you'd find on a ship. I was surprised by the cave itself - I had expected something you could stand up in an walk around, but it was more like a long sloping tunnel. I expected to hear mysterious drumming from the depths any second....

Cool mineral formation

Some people see a buddha, some people see Jabba the Hutt...and you can see a perfect reflection!

Emerging from the underground

After all of the hiking, scrambling, and hiking, not to mention the long drive, I was STARVING. So we headed to Coombs to see what we could find to eat.

We found goats on the roof, and an amazingly delicious Italian restaurant called Cuckoos, where I had the most incredibly divine bowl of homemade pasta I've ever eaten. And Trevor had a panini that knocked his (dirty) socks off...he actually talked about mingling flavours. It was a perfect culinary experience! Then we had ice cream, watched the goats, and bought some tasty treats in the shop. I wanted island-made blackberry jam, and I also found some imported Cherry Coke, which was the cherry on top of a perfect day. :)

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