Monday, August 20, 2012

The Hell Holes Revisited!

There is no other door to knowledge than the door Nature opens;
and there is no truth except the truths we discover in nature.
            Luther Burbank

Almost a year ago I was invited to go to a place called the Hell Holes with a couple of boys, and their Grandma. Music Man, Inventor Man (formerly known as Red Hat Boy) asked Grandma to phone me the other day and ask if I would like to go with them for a repeat performance, I immediately said yes. I could not believe they wanted me to join them again, I was so excited. I thought that when young boys grew older they would not want to spend times with old (Ok not that old) women. I know they love to spend time with Grandma but why me? I put that question to Music Man and his reply was “You never grew up, you are like a big kid” Well thank you very much I have heard that before.  OK enough of this chatter, on to the adventure.

We arrived at The Hell Holes a little early and waited on the side of the road, this gave us time to have a chat. I found out that Music Man’s band is doing very well and he is still writing original songs. I discovered that Red Hat Boy is no longer a boy so the name does not fit, I decided on Inventor Man as he can make something spectacular out of anything. His mind is always working. Potato guns, bubble machines out of acorns, need I say more? Just as we were starting to wonder when it would open along came the nice man to let us in early.

We paid the man and just before heading out he advised us that the mosquitoes may be bad in the valley and we may need bug spray. Trying to be always prepared I pulled some out of my pack so we all took turns spraying ourselves down. We head off with Grandma carrying her special made lunches for all, Music Man carrying the apples; I think Inventor Man carried his water and jacket. We walk down the dewy trail and admire the trees and a white caterpillar hanging from a tree at face level, I took a photo of the boys standing behind it; this would make it appear that the caterpillar was on Music Man’s nose. We laughed out loud wondering how the photo would turn out.

We came to the Devil’s Stable and Inventor Man rushes in to see if the blue light key chain I gave him would shine in the dark corner, and yes it did. I had forgotten how awesome this place was. There were lots of mossy rocks to climb but the twin pillars had to be the best. They were two gigantic rocks shooting out of the ground reaching the sky, side by side. I picture the rocks being tossed around during the melting ice of The Ice Age rolling these stones over and over through the now dry river bed in the melt, finally landing straight up and waiting till the next Ice Age, to be moved again. The boys climbed to the top, and made the best of a perfect photo opportunity, smiling for the camera.

Finally we came to the main attraction The Hell Hole; the owner/operator had explained to us how he had been working on it since last year and made it much larger to allow people to stand up in the far corner of the cave, I had never had any problem before but was looking forward to seeing the much bigger cave.  The boys were really excited about the thought of a bigger cave. I noticed a thermometer on a post just before we were to climb down the slippery stairs into the darkness. The temperature today was 22c or 72f.

 After pulling out flashlights from my pack, brave Music Man is the first to volunteer to crawl down the ladder and through the small opening into the darkness. Next Grandma, I watch as Grandma's blue hat disappears a little at a time into the unknown. Inventor Man wearing a red hat climbs down next and I follow close behind. I put my camera in my pocket and start to climb down the steel ladder; I watch below to see if there is any light. I can hear Music Man and Inventor Man questioning where the new bigger cave was and they sounded very excited. Music Man shines the flashlight to the bottom of the ladder so I will know I am almost there and tells me how many steps are left. I think to myself he is quite the gentlemen. When I get to the bottom I notice Inventor Man with his DS (I thought it was a game thing but what do I know?) he was taking pictures and using it as a light source, plus playing with his little blue flashlight. He seemed to glow in the very dark cave. We started wandering around the cave looking for the new addition, I must admit our high expectations of what it would be like did not appear, and we were a little disappointed. They both thought it must be deeper inside the cave so we searched every nook and cranny, climbing over the damp cold jumbled rocks to no avail.

 I noticed a thermometer down here in this new small section that had been opened up, the temperature down here in this dark, damp, water trickling down walls cave was 9c or 43f amazing. The boys thought we should have lunch down here. Grandma decided to head up to where it was warm and since she had the lunch the boys plan was cast aside (I was I must admit happy about that, eating in the dark damp cave was not appealing to me). The boys and I explored a little more and laughed at the patterns the light made on the wall. We eventually decide we better get back to Grandma and headed up the ladder. First up the ladder Inventor Man, then Music Man and then myself, after snapping some more photos. I climbed up the ladder in the dark my eyes keeping to the light above. I could feel the mud on the ladder rungs from the boys and then I could feel the mossy and cold wet rock under my fingers. I was actually happy to be up in the warmth. I took some photos of a very cool, seemed to be glowing caterpillar, and then off we head to the Natural Stone Bridge which leads to the Valley (my favourite).

We crossed the Natural Stone Bridge, and then climbed down the many levels of stairs to the Valley floor. This place is my favourite as it is surrounded by the most beautiful Rock Formations and high cliffs. We remember last year when the lady from Sweden was yodelling we all agreed how special that was and wished she was there. We all tried yodelling ourselves “Yodelaheehoo” no I guess it takes a lot of practise. I must admit Music Man did pretty well. We settled with the familiar “ECHO” “ECHO”. This is where Inventor Man could be seen climbing every rock and through every hole in the rocks. Every time I looked up there he was. Music Man was starting to get bit by mosquitoes and we all needed to put more spray on. We took turns spraying lots more spray on and we all at that time thought that would work. We were wrong. They continued to assault us; poor Music Man was very popular and was just miserable.

Our plan was to eat our lunch in the valley and enjoy the view but we kept walking hoping to find a spot not so mosquito friendly. It was not an easy task it was very damp back here after two days of rain; we finally ate our lunch while walking, in Music Man’s case walking very fast trying to escape them. It was not what we had planned. We unfortunately made our way past things we would have normally lingered and explored. I must say I was certainly happy to see the Secret Attraction at the end and get into a light wind to keep the mosquitoes at bay. This out running mosquitoes had been exhausting. We rested awhile and then Music Man hurried to the end of the trail and the log cabin about a half a kilometer away, with us close behind. I felt so sorry for Music Man they would not leave him alone.

While sitting in the cabin visiting with the very friendly owner, Inventor Man and I sat up in the loft while Grandma and Music Man sat on the main floor, we rested with a sweet treat and a drink (outrunning mosquitoes is thirsty work) and listened to the owners stories about wildlife and the story about the Owl that hangs from the rafters, oh yes I must not forget the trespassers, he was very interesting. We bid goodbye and promised to come back next year, hopefully not in mosquito season.

Off to Grandma’s house to listen to Music Man play guitar and sing original songs; and Inventor Man has promised to show me how to make a bubble machine out of an acorn. I can’t wait. Scratch, scratch.



  1. what a magical place! and being told "you never grew up" is high praise, in my book. :)

  2. Stunning and magical!

    Miss you!


    ps. Please don't ever grow up! ;)

  3. And in other news: Echo! Echo!
    Tis the sound of Pan calling for his beloved! ;)

  4. Sounded like it was a wonderful adventure!

  5. I confess...caves and I do not get along. No way! NO how! :) I'm happy all of you had such a wonderful adventures.

  6. What a wonderful adventure, and to be told you've never grown up? Priceless! Such enthusiasm and sense of wonder is contagious. =)

    I'm now scratching in sympathy.

  7. i love that they wanted you on their return visit! speaks volumes! :)

  8. wow Buttons, this is an amazing place. What a beautiful experince.

  9. Stay a kid. Being a grown-up is so boring and lacking in adventure. Good for you to go with the other kids to climb ladders and crawl in holes and check out caterpillars. No wonder they like to spend time with you. Thanks for taking us along as well.

  10. What an amazing adventure to go spelunking...Thank You for sharing !!!

  11. What a neat place! I'm glad ALL you kids had a good time in spite of the mosquitos! :)

  12. Oh now that looks like a dandy place to explore! Cool pics!

  13. It sounds like a wonderful fun time except for the biting creatures.

  14. What a wonderful adventure and how great they wanted you back with them because you're still a kid to them. Love that!

  15. oh you had me worried! nice experience huh? thanks for sharing.

  16. That's a true adventure, back to the past.

    But speak to the same Nature.

  17. sounds like a lovely place.. the photos are beautiful too. Geez mosquito's are really annoying though.

    Reminds me of this quote:
    If you think size doesn't matter, try sleeping in a room with a mosquito ;)
    Have a good one


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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