Up until this week you’ve been able to drive right up to our geotour locations. This time, we’re adding some serious exercise and a healthy dose of adventure to our geotour choice: Lusk Cave. To get to the cave you’ll go on a moderate hike through Gatineau Park and then climb through a watery cavern. You will get wet! But on the plus side, unless you are Batman, there is no need to wear a mask in this bat cave.
There are a couple of things that I love about the Lusk Cave adventure. The first is that it’s actually open. Many caves and mines in this area are completely off-limits to exploration for valid safety concerns. The second is that it’s never crowded. If the cave was within an easy stroll of a parking lot, you’d probably have to line up (two meters apart, of course) to get in on a weekend. So it’s a great destination for your next COVID-19 staycation.
Let’s begin with the geological aspects. Lusk Cave was initially formed by the melting water of the most recent glaciation in this area, around 12,500 years ago. The rock in the area of the cave was marble surrounded by harder rocks. As the glacier melted, water was forced downwards into the cracks and fissures by the immense weight of the ice above it. This action dissolved the softer marble, leaving the caverns. There aren’t a lot of caves in the Canadian Shield because the rocks are generally too hard. Ever since the glaciation, the small creek running through the cavern has continued to erode and shape the space.
Lusk Cave is about a five-kilometre trek from the closest parking at Parent Beach. It’s a healthy hike, but the terrain itself is not particularly challenging, along trails 50 and 54 as marked on this map.
The cave itself is in two sections: an easy one and a slightly more difficult one. Together, they only stretch for about 100 meters, so they won’t take you long to get through. This nice NCC map of the cave gives you a good idea of what to expect as you walk through.
Preparation for your adventure is important. Apart from the usual stuff you would take on a hike, you will need a bathing suit, helmet (bike or otherwise), waterproof footwear and a waterproof flashlight or, even better, a headlamp. Depending on the time of year, you may be up to your chest in water in the second section. There are no changing rooms or bathrooms at the caves (apart from plenty of trees, of course).
So are you ready for some adventure? Then: To the bat cave!
As with anything these days, it’s a good idea to check the website before heading out; Lusk Cave was closed until very recently. Not suitable for those who suffer from claustrophobia or chiroptophobia (fear of bats).
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