Sunday, April 29 – 2007
12:15 – 16:11
Roads: Dry / clear
Area: Queenston Quarry
Vehicle: Blue Pontiac Grand Prix
Weather: Sunny / Clear
Trail Conditions: Some mud spots
Hikers: Tori, Wolf, Christine
Plan: The Darkness Beckons… Explore the Queenston Caves
Equipment: Wet suits, steel-toed boots, bump cap and Petzel headlight, 2 Diving Torches (Underwater Kinetics) 2, 100ft lengths of rope, 6 glow sticks, tie-wraps, 3 strobe lights, equipment vest and hydration pack. We are missing one equipment harness, a bump cap and headlamp.
11:50 We stopped at shoppers Drug Mart in Niagara-On-the-Lake for batteries for the torches then onto the small parking lot by the 405 highway in queenston.
12:15 Put on all our packs and head out to the caves
12:30 We pass the old crane area and a girl in denim with very muddy bare feet and muddy sandals asking if we had seen her partner with a fishing rod.
12:43 We pass the small pretty valley with the Niagara Falls Native club marker
12:50 We descend the staircase marked 1000
12:55 A little tired from carrying all the gear, we arrived at the cave mouth and relaxed a little before putting on all our gear.
13:45 After struggling to get ready we descend into the darkness. The water was just above freezing, about 1m deep with very thick and deep sediment. Heading in a counter-clockwise direction we headed through the deep sediment and we came across a few sand-bar like areas which led-off to caves in the distance. We stayed in sections we could stand or almost stand-up in. As we circled around we saw a few small bats flying around as we disturbed them. My feet were very uncomfortable in the Cat Walking Machines I was wearing. Tori’s feet also uncomfortable as the wet-suit socks pinched our feet as they made our shoes too small. There were a dozen or so small entrances allowing light into the caves. Tori’s UK light failed and so did her backup light. I used my back-up Petzel head lamp and she used my large UK torch. Tori said she got very cold with only her thin summer gloves on. We came across a large amount of debris like wood, pop bottles, pipes, and other rubbish. The caves were spectacular to behold. They were very large and seemed to go on forever in all directions. We will be able to make multiple trips here and still not see everything.
14:30 Tori’s feet were sore and she was cold so we decided to head back out of the caves. Before we exited we saw an area which would have been easily accessible and had paintings of someones hand and several white dots on the rocks. Excited but a little tired we headed out of the caves and stripped off our wetsuits and gear to relax in the sun. It was so quiet here. Off in the distance we could hear all kinds of birds. Tori made the hike here barefoot for comfort of her damaged ankle.
15:10 We started to pack up the gear and were joined by three cyclists who asked what was in there and see if we saw any remnants of an old washing machine – which we did no see.
15:14 We met a few people who came to scope-out the caves for something called geocaching. Apparently one of them was from the Toronto caving club.
15:30 We bid farewell to our caverns and headed up along the trail towards the car.
15:40 Passed the little Niagara Falls Nature Club marker and scenic valley
15:52 Passed the old crane structure en-route back to the car.
16:00 Tori hiked completely barefoot to help her sore ankle. It seems to be the only way she can hike without any pain. She kicked a branch with her right toe and cut it open, not very seriously.
16:11 We arrived back at the car and opened the boot to deposit our packs. We sat out for a bit to relax. Tori wore her black pants, red shirt and adventure hat. Wolf wore his camouflage pants, cross-toe Tevas, denim shirt and adventure hat. The walk was very tiring back to the car, but we are both excited to have the opportunity to go into the cave system.
16:35 We arrived home safely and unpacked our wet and muddy gear. Tori rested her sore ankle as she will be out of commission for a few days now.