Caving on the islands: Horne Lake Caves

So this post is quite late since it’s May and this happened in March. I had no idea that BC Ferries did Spring Break discounts! A bunch of us got together to head out to Vancouver Island for a short weekend trip back in March to do some exploring!

We headed out on Friday after everyone got off work. This meant we arrived at Nanaimo at almost 8PM. We dropped off our stuff at our Airbnb in Ladysmith, then headed back out to Nanaimo to do some grocery shopping. We wanted to pack some lunches for the next day for when we’d go hiking and caving, and also get some stuff for breakfast.

When we got back home, we found that the water in Ladysmith smelled very peculiar. It honestly smelled like rotten eggs?? We tried to Google up why the water smelled like that, but even to this day, we’re not quite sure what it was. We ended up doing most of our cooking, drinking, and such via the water cooler our Airbnb host had in the house.

We woke up to cook breakfast. The host of our Airbnb left us bread and also farm fresh eggs!

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We then headed out to Little Qualicum Falls. We wanted to do some light morning hiking and also see the waterfalls. The falls were gorgeous!

We then headed to Horne Lake Caves. Previously, we were contemplating on not bringing a car. Honestly, without it, we probably would not have been able to stray far from Nanaimo, so definitely bring a car if you’re visiting the Island.

Caving was a cool experience. Some tips to remember when caving:

  • Dress in layers. It can get cold, but you can also work up a sweat.
  • Wear rain boots. I was going to go in runners, but seeing pictures of people going in rain boots, I decided to be safe and bring a pair. I would’ve had the coldest feet and also would’ve completely ruined my runners if I didn’t wear rain boots. At one point, water was up to my mid-calf. Some caves have water running through it, and there’s no way you’d be able to wear sneakers in them.
  • Light sources are very important! The provincial park website suggests we have three light sources with each of us at all times. Some online sites suggested two. Definitely get a headlamp or rent one. You won’t believe how often you won’t have a hand free to hold a flashlight.
  • Be ready to squeeze. There are lots of tight spots in caves. There was a particularly bad one in one of the caves we went to where we had to basically crawl across horizontally. I scratched up my back a bit because my jacket got hitched up. It wasn’t too bad, but expect to put your flexibility to the test.
  • If you can travel in without a backpack, do so. Again, loads of tight spots to wiggle into.

Caving was definitely the highlight of our trip and the activity we had planned most around. We also visited Paradise Fun Park in Parksville on our way back to the ferry for a round of mini golf. I LOVE mini golf. I suck at it, but I love seeing how different places theme their courses. We did a pirate course and it was pretty fun!

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Definitely interested in checking out where else we can go next time BC Ferries does a promo!

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