Eleven adventurous souls made the 1¼ hour drive down island to Horne Lake Provincial Park. We went on a variation of their guided multi-cave tour. After the suspension bridge over the Qualicum River and the 1 km walk up the hill, we started on the upper end of Riverbend Cave where we visited the Soda Straw and Bacon Galleries with beautiful caves features (speleothems) and continued as far as the Buddha Room to see the “Buddha” in the reflecting pool. Main Cave was the second cave where we climbed up a waterfall and slid down a metal slide. We all managed to avoid “face-plant rock” at the bottom of the slide. The final cave was Lower Cave with beautiful features and tight passageways. We crouched low as we walked up the stream in the “Birth Canal”, but the “Cheese Grater” was the tightest squeeze. We emerged dirty, somewhat wet and tired, but everyone had a good time.
Matt was our guide and an experienced caver as well as fun and knowledgeable. He explained how the caves were formed by slightly acidic water running through limestone. He also showed us ancient fossils and how calcite crystals are formed. As we made our way through the caves he talked about how stalagmites (from the ground) and stalactites (from the ceiling) are formed over thousands of years. 4 hours on the tour.
I would highly recommend this Park to anyone. There are a wide variety of things to do for all levels of comfort.
Thanks to Norris and Vic for the photos
(click on photos to enlarge)