Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cave Hunting in Lingan, Nova Scotia

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a rural area of Cape Breton that allowed me to pursue many memorable childhood adventures. I can barely recall staying indoors playing with dolls or watching television but I do remember days spent exploring the woods behind my house, scouring the beach for lost treasures, digging in the gravel pits behind the ball field looking for dinosaur bones, scaling cliffs along the shore, playing spotlight at night with no boundaries and riding my bike into town to explore the back roads and alleys and hiding in the bushes near the park to avoid the curfew whistle that went off every night at 8:30 which we were led to believe by our parents meant we had to be home or the police would round us up. One adventure in particular was a day spent looking for a cave that was said to be located in an area further down the beach that was on private property owned by Nova Scotia Power. Being the adventurous (and maybe a bit mischievous) kid that I was, I rounded up a group of neighborhood friends and we set off on Labour Day when we knew there would be no one at work that day and did what we did best; walked the length of the beach until there was nothing more to do but trudge through knee-deep water, climb a few cliffs, crawl under a metal fence and continue to crawl over some large tanks (crawling to avoid any security cameras picking us up) and over some more large boulders and down another cliff until we found what we were looking for. The only thing was, during the time it took us to get there, the tide had come up and the cave was submerged in water.

Almost 25 years to-the-day later, the idea of finding that cave returned to the forefront of my mind after hearing other people in the area talking about it. After carefully studying the tides and the long range forecast, I picked a day and set out in search of that long-forgotten about cave I tried to find so many years before.

I calculated that 2:00 pm would be the best time to leave the house and reach the cave at a time when the tide was at its lowest. I made the same journey over the beach, up and down cliffs, through knee-deep water and up onto the large tanks that had the fence we had had to crawl under. The hole was still in the fence and, although the area was still owned by Nova Scotia Power and it would technically be trespassing, it was no longer under surveillance in that particular area and there were no signs telling me to keep out. I personally believe that no one has the right to block access to any natural wonders of this planet; they should be accessible for everyone to see. Blocking access to this cave is likened to the newcomers to the area who think they can build a mansion on a beach and than deem the beach private property so no one else can enjoy it when in fact, in the province of Nova Scotia, you can build a house on a beach but it is illegal to deem it private property. Beaches are public property. The hole in the fence was much smaller than I remembered or maybe it was that I was much bigger. A few scrapes and bruises later, I made it to the other side and down the last cliff to round the bend where the cave is located.

I was right, the cave was there just as I remembered except this time, it was not flooded with water. I was able to walk right in, explore the various little nooks and crannies that were tucked away within the main part of the cave, took some pictures of the inside and the view of the surrounding area from the opening and read the writings that various cave explorers had left on the walls over the years (not that most of this writing was what you would expect from cave explorers...more like the writing of teenagers who obviously used the well-hidden cave as a hideout for their Saturday night drinking binges).

As the tide started to rise and water started to, once again, flood the cave, I made my way back up the cliffs and down to the beach just as a fierce thunder storm rolled in and a torrential downpour ensued. Just another day...and another adventure knocked off my list!

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