A couple of weeks ago, my boss announced that he wanted to take us on an adventure to go caving on Vancouver Island. I’m scared of caves…

Adventures, however, are right up my alley, so there was no way I was going to sit this one out despite all that mountain overhead, the lifeless, immoveable and uncaring rock to squeeze through, and the creepy crawly things that live in caves all freak me out.

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So off we went to Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park! It’s about an hour north of Nanaimo, mostly along highway, although the last stretch is on a gravel road.

We were booked in for a three-hour guided tour which took us to three different caves. There’s a bit of an uphill hike to get there but it isn’t long, the forest is beautiful, and our guide (Kay-Lynn) made stops along the way. Each stop taught us more about caves, cave formation, and how to tell you’re in an area that might have caves from above ground.

And then we went inside. I spent a lot of my time hyper-focused on the small amount of light that was available and also on what Kay-Lynn was saying. It was the perfect balance of more caving facts, extra challenges, and making our way through the caves.

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And let’s be honest, they are pretty freaking cool!

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Without our guide, I don’t think I would have lasted long in the caves. Not only did she distract me, which kept me from freaking out too much, she also distracted my Seekers coworkers which meant I could ride this one out more or less under the radar. Plus she knew the way out, which was a big bonus in my books.

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I had a couple of moments where I nearly lost it. First, when Kay-Lynn (our guide) said that spiders hibernate in caves and once had to walk past a wall of hairy legs. Happily for me, they’d all already crawled out into the world (and into my basement suite) by the time we went in.

The other was when we did an optional climb up a mini underground waterfall and over a tight(er) squeeze between layers of rock. Kay-Lynn was super helpful though and I definitely appreciated her calm manner – someone excitable would have been no good for me in that situation.

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I did it though! I was really proud of myself for facing my fears and it truly was a cool experience.

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