Thursday, 15 August 2013

We went to Bon Echo Park to see the pictographs and ended up in some caves

We did!
Amazing geology in the area

Friends of Bon Echo run a boat out to the cliffs. Unfortunately, we drove an hour and a half only to find that it doesn't run on Wednesdays, they have lost a couple of Captains, and have a restricted schedule. Were we ever upset!
That was the sole purpose of the trip!

Hubby, the eternal trip and transportation expert, planned ahead. We watched the weather, left in the rain and drove out of the clouds into the sun. He phoned two weeks ago to find out how often it ran. You know you cannot depend upon web sites with these volunteer-run groups.
Bon Echo does have a couple of employees, but I know how these groups depend upon donations and government grants from Trillium and websites are not always up-to-date.

The drive was a pretty one, by the time the sun emerged.
I cannot complain, just bemoan the wasted gas.

Farm country
What to do? What to do?
Hubby, again, had a good idea. He consulted his mappie things, thought about it.
He came up with Plan B.
Now, originally, we wanted to visit this place with my hydrogeologist daughter, but catch as catch can...

We ended up driving another hour to visit the Bonnechere caves. Wisely, we'd stopped for brunch.
Check the restaurant hours:

What I like about the caves is that they are now revamped, originally opened in 1955, they are well below ground, but able to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs.


Lots to do in the area!

Picnic area
confection stand
Located in Douglas, Ontario (near Eganville) it is a lovely spot. I would advise you to arrive early, and if it is a nice day, take a picnic lunch. They have some picnic tables under a shelter. Otherwise, there is a delightful cafĂ© in Douglas.

You notice the water drains to the left, as well as
downriver, and goes underground!

"The first official acknowledgement that there were caves along the historic Bonnechere River was in 1853 when Federal Government Geographer Alexander Murray put two words, "SUBTERRANIAN CHANNELS", on the river’s original map."

You can see where the water goes underground, and on the other side of the hill, it comes out again!

Many have visited the area!
The area is a pretty one, with rocks, hills, water.

Scott, our interpreter, is a delightful young man, who tells the story of the caves, and how they were opened up to tourists.

A personable guide, he is a bit tall to be a spelunker, but was quite entertaining and informative in telling the story of Bonnechere Caves as a tourist attraction.

Our guide, Scott,
in the red hat!
Click to enlarge - good info!
 A 10-year-old girl found a fossil, took it to Tom, who promptly went exploring down the sink hole. Alone. I couldn't believe it! On his second visit below ground, he cleverly took a raft, a rope, and a camera, but no one to help him!

We learned about fossils, saw some, stalactites and stalagmites, learned about rocks of the Ordovician period.

Foolish Tom, who developed the caves, risked life and limb during his first and second trips down in the early 50's! It is quite safe for visiting now. One of the people on our tour had visited when the caves first opened in 1955. She didn't look old enough! She was bringing her children and grandchildren through.

They dammed the water in the upper section in 1955, which allowed them to take people down.

It was 13 C. during our visit!
It was quite cool down under, something I figured out, since our well water is always cold! Lake water, at the bottom, is 4 C., even in winter. I did some research, curious about my old lake.
It was hard to see the colours, although there are lights rigged in the 'roof!'

Billions of mollecules of water have eroded it, to form small and large caves. They fill the caves back up in winter, to prevent crazy people from going in and getting in trouble, as the lower portions are underwater when it is not drained. You can see the high water marks!

First you go down, and then, obviously, you go back up again!

Scott explains about the stick
holding up the rocks!
They have a teacher's guide on their website, with a worksheet for students. It was a grand trip, ending up with lunch at the pub. It was amazing hearing the rainwater dripping down through the rocks.
You can hear it on my video!


Anonymous said...

Shame about the Bon Echo trip as the petroglyphs are wonderful to see. But the day turned out a huge success with a trip to the caves.

Bill Nicholls said...

You know I think I would be worried the dam would go and the water run back in if I went down there

Kay L. Davies said...

So, the boat captains they "lost" might have been lost in the caves?
Just kidding.
Well, better thee than me, my friend, because I don't do underground. When Dick explores caves, he leaves me somewhere far, far away. (Claustrophobia and several other kinds of phobia, and vertigo, and whatnot. I'm actually shaking, sitting here in my chair.)
Must tell Himself about the caves, however. He always likes to know these things.
Glad your hubby had a Plan B.
Luv, K

The Furry Gnome said...

Sounds absolutely fascinating to me. And those are great fossils! Bon Echo has been on my list for a while, but maybe I'll add the caves now.

Red said...

What an awesome set of caves. It's too bad they had to put a board walk in.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
What an adventure that turned out to be, visiting the Lord's plumbing system!! Plan B's are always worth the making. Thank you for all the piccies, it felt like being there. YAM xx

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

We're going back to Bon Echo, for sure!
They had to put the boards in, Red. The floor is difficult and slippery otherwise!

Karen said...

Isn't that a marvelous place? We haven't been out to the caves this year, maybe next. Bon Echo was on our list for this summer as well. We're trying to figure out what weekend we can fit it in. If not, it will be top of the list for next year. This StayCation business can certainly keep a person busy.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh good -- just ignore the question I asked when I read your previous post (the one with the video) you answered my question. And your pictures are wonderful. What a fascinating place. And so glad your trip was not wasted.

Christine said...

Wow I didn't know such places existed here in Ontario.

VioletSky said...

I've been to the caves in Collingwood and that's where (as a child) I discovered my claustrophobia. It's a shame as spelunking fascinates me.