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EXPERIENCE

The Rat’s Nest Cave Will Change You. I Promise.

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A single beam of light illuminates a few feet ahead of you. Past that, you see nothing else. Pitch black is ahead and behind you. All you see, really, are the glossy highlights of the cave walls’ sweat and specs of dust floating by, illuminated by the beam of your headlamp… 

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This is the fourth installment in my series into the depths of Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore, AB, Canada. My first cave descent in 2017 prompted a deeper look into the cave and the people who make caving their lives. If you haven’t read about my initial descent earlier this year, you can read my first post Into Earth’s Womb, Adam Walker: A Man Underground, and Exploring the Unnatural with Christian Stenner

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You take a deep breath – moist cave air fills your lungs. It smells…spicy. You crawl on your hands and knees – sometimes on your back and stomach – with only a few inches between the tip of your nose and rock. The next move could be a four story rappel or a shimmy through several “squeezes” through cave formations.

Prior to entering the cave you’ll ask yourself several questions, all mostly to do with panic or getting stuck and to be honest, all of that goes away the moment you enter the first room of the cave and you’ll understand the cave is not moving or shifting, and that you’ve just entered an adventure playground beneath the surface.

All legitimate questions because as humans, we tend to fear the unknown and the misunderstood. But something happens to you down there. Exhilaration replaces fear and by the time you come out the other side vibrating because of the amazing experience you’ve just had.

Spelunking/caving is an adventure that will change you from the inside out. I promise. It changes you – from how you see yourself and what you’re capable of, to how you see and experience nature. After exploring “Earth’s Womb” you will feel…reborn.

That was my experience with Canmore Cave Tours when I was invited for the first time to take on this caving challenge and explore the Rat’s Nest Cave.  Since then, I had the chance to go underground again with owner, Adam Walker and get to know a little bit more about this business of caving, and Canmore Cave Tours in particular.

In business since 1992, Canmore Cave Tours has evolved from strictly caving tours to offering some unparalleled experiences and events that are held within the cave. Besides challenging yourself on the Adventure Tour by squeezing through The Laundry Chute, for example, Canmore Cave Tours now offers many other experiences for the budding caver.

You can enjoy the serenity of the cave on a private SOLITUDE Tour, which means it’s you, your guide and the cave. That’s it. You and the cave and a highly knowledgeable guide to keep you safe and allow you to experience Rat’s Nest on your own terms and time. Knowledge and growth are also two key elements to the business and owner Adam, so two caving courses have been developed for those who have been bitten by the caving bug – vertical and horizontal courses can be booked by those who want to take their caving experience to the next level.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to explore Rat’s Nest, you will be familiar with one of their grandest rooms – The Grand Gallery. The name is fitting because this is the largest room in the cave, allowing for some incredible acoustics and breathtaking visuals. The folks at Canmore Cave Tours were quick to pick up on this and have created yet another way to experience the cave through its UNEARTHED experience. Have you ever been to a concert 10-stories underground!? The UNEARTHED experience was developed to mash together the magic of music and caving for an event that is unlike any other.

Adam Walker inside the Grand Gallery, within the Rat’s Nest Cave, AB, Canada. Photo by Dax Justin

Speaking events are held in The Grand Gallery as well, not to mention custom photography tours and even yoga/meditation sessions. To be honest, I don’t think there is much you can’t dream up that the team at Canmore Cave Tours wouldn’t be able to accommodate.

Embrace your inner explorer and join them year-round, rain or shine, for a Natural History tour into Rat’s Nest Cave – a wild, undeveloped cave under Grotto Mountain, near Banff and Canmore, Alberta, Canada!

I photographed the Rat’s Nest Cave while on Canmore Cave Tour’s new Private Caving Experience – SOLITUDE. Without being with a group of people, you’ll have time to enjoy every inch of the cave while exploring at your own pace.

 

What: A Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

Where: Rat’s Nest Cave, designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1987, situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain near Canmore, AB, Canada. Access to the cave is restricted in order to protect the environment inside and entry is facilitated by Canmore Cave Tours.

How: Connect with the Team at Canmore Cave Tours:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/canmorecavetours
Twitter: www.twitter.com/canmorecavetour
Instagram: www.instagram.com/canmorecavetours

Web: canmorecavetours.com

Toll Free: 1877.317.1178

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Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
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Exploring the Unnatural with Christian Stenner

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Christian Stenner was an elementary student when he and a handful of friends decided to grab their backpacks, a few military canteens of water and take off into the woods in search of some caves they’d heard about near his home town of Edmonton, Alberta. It was a rather, “Goonies style exploration,” as Christian puts it…

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This is the third installment in my series into the depths of Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore, AB, Canada. My first cave descent in 2017 prompted a deeper look into the cave and the people who make caving their lives. If you haven’t read about my initial descent earlier this year, you can read Into Earth’s Womb and my second post in the series, Adam Walker: A Man Underground.

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Christian and his friends had only a vague description of where the caves were and after hours traversing the forest not really knowing what they were doing, they found these caves. The “caves” were really just sandstone indentations, but at the time it was this massive expedition for this small team of young minds and it created a lasting memory of what adventure felt like.

Fast forward a dozen years and Christian finds himself on vacation in the Canadian Rockies with his girlfriend (now wife), Melanie. On a road trip from Edmonton to Banff, Christian and Melanie explored various areas around Banff National Park and Canmore. It was then they heard about Canmore Cave Tours and signed up for a tour within the Rat’s Nest Cave. That moment would forever change Christian’s life because upon descending, he felt an immediately-powerful attraction to the nature of caving.

Not long later he and his wife moved to the city of Calgary, and Christian’s caving outings became more easily accessible – the mountains were just over an hour away! Now, his first love, Rat’s Nest, was quite literally in his backyard for the first time in his life. That was the good news…

Christian was then diagnosed with an auto immune disorder. His doctor described it as, “it won’t kill you, but it’s highly annoying.” This struck a note with Christian and he immediately took it upon himself to DO THE THINGS THAT MADE HIM FEEL ALIVE. And that one thing was caving. He joined the Alberta Speleological Society and took it upon himself to make a go at caving at a higher level.

Inside Anthodite Hall, Sistema Huautla, Mexico. Photo by Adam Walker

Inside Sistema Huautla, Mexico. The deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere. Photo by Adam Walker

Today I spoke with Christian on the phone and I asked him, “What do you think it was about caving that consumed you so much?” He replied, “It’s hard to describe. At the time of the tour, you’re doing something that seems so wild…it feels like you’re the first person inside this place.” I have personally learned that feeling repeats itself. Christian also said it’s about the unexpected (and welcomed) mental and physical experience when you’re down there. He says, “The mental challenge comes from overcoming your fears of rappelling into a black hole or shimmying through a squeeze. You’re putting yourself into situations that are physically and mentally unnatural. You don’t get that anywhere else, doing anything else!”

Christian’s fascination with the unnatural is strong. He has since been on expeditions in some of the deepest caves in the world and has made significant discoveries while working tandem with scientific and ecological organizations. His partnership with Adam Walker, owner and operator of Canmore Cave Tours, is that of two professional cavers, who both made caving a large part of their lives. They’re both involved with the Alberta Speleological Society and Christian does cave rescue training inside the Rat’s Nest Caves with AB/BC Cave Rescue.

Christian is now the AB Provincial Coordinator for AB/BC Cave Rescue and often appears at workshops where he speaks more about the science of caving, his exploration and unique discoveries inside caves worldwide.

In my opinion, rapelling into the Rat’s Nest Cave is often a journey of discovery, and an exploration of self. The outcome is one of self-discovery.” – Dax Justin

East Crater Cave, Summit of Mount Rainier. Photo by Francois-Xavier De Ruydts

I photographed the Rat’s Nest Cave while on Canmore Cave Tour’s new Private Caving Experience – SOLITUDE. Without being with a group of people, you’ll have time to enjoy every inch of the cave while exploring at your own pace.

 

What: A Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

Where: Rat’s Nest Cave, designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1987, situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain near Canmore, AB, Canada. Access to the cave is restricted in order to protect the environment inside and entry is facilitated by Canmore Cave Tours.

How: Connect with the Team at Canmore Cave Tours:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/canmorecavetours
Twitter: www.twitter.com/canmorecavetour
Instagram: www.instagram.com/canmorecavetours

Web: canmorecavetours.com

Toll Free: 1877.317.1178

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Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook Page

Meeting Polar Bears Face-to-Face with Canadian Geographic

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In late October, 2017 I embarked on my greatest adventure yet in the Polar Bear Capital of the World: Churchill, Manitoba. On assignment with Canadian Geographic, I was told I’d be seeing polar bears with Churchill Wild on their Great Ice Bear Adventure. What I didn’t clue into was that I’d be on the FRONT LINES SHARING THE SAME ICE AS THE POLAR BEARS!

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First of all – this trip got REAL, REAL FAST. We approached Churchill Wild’s Dymond Lake Ecolodge, a 20-minute plane ride from Churchill, Manitoba. As we began to land I looked out of the plane’s window and SAW TWO POLAR BEARS LAYING DOWN not far from the gravel runway. We were to land then proceed on-foot to the lodge, which is about a 10-minute walk from the runway…

Not five minutes into the walk towards the lodge and suddenly we saw two polar bears sparring to our left. They were quite a distance away and behind trees but this display stopped us in our tracks. This wasn’t the time to stop and unload equipment so it turns out this was a moment shared only between the few of us, not captured in any sort of digital form. To witness two bears sparring and kicking up snow was a spectacle that will already have me planning to go back. And the adventure hadn’t even started yet!

PHOTO GALLERY:

Meet Scarbrow. Scarbrow is a male polar bear with a long 10-year history with the people of Churchill, Manitoba.

On the day we flew into the remote arctic lodge I had the chance to meet him up close & personal. Scarbrow is a badass Canadian celebrity and is kind of a big deal. He’s won the hearts of thousands. He has even been in the slammer a couple times… You don’t get anywhere in life without tipping over a few garbage cans! On the inside, Scarbrow is just like every one of us, taking our best shots at life while we’re here. Nobody is closer to this bear than the Director of Operations at Churchill Wild, Nolan Booth. “He’s no different than a big furry pet and I love him like crazy! He’s been visiting us for about a decade now and I’m hoping we can continue to see him beyond this season.” – @nolanbooth

Usually after a decade or so the mature polar bears will move onto a quieter life further into the white abyss, away from humans. They become less curious about people and the man-made places, and just want to be completely in their element out on the ice hunting seals and sleeping. Here’s to you, Scarbrow — you may not know it but you are a cherished animal on this planet. ?

When you’re on the Tundra with polar bears, there’s this magical unspoken communication that happens between you and the animal.

Few people will write about this unique occurrence in length because it’s hard to imagine and explain, but I will do my best here. Everyone’s asked me one question: “Did you feel safe out there?” Honestly, we all felt comfortable the instant after our first encounter as a group with a polar bear. Sometimes we gently approached bears, other times they cautiously approached us. We saw several different bears over the week and in EVERY instance there’s this instantly noticeable transfer of energy between you and the bear. You’re the most aware you’ve ever felt, yet totally calm. They’re walking towards us, slow and calm. Catching scents and sniffing the ground and air as they inch closer. The exchange paints an imaginary ‘Do Not Cross’ line when you’ve both reached a level of comfort in distance. Using mostly verbal communication, our guides would raise voices and bang rocks together and somehow, the bear knew in every case, when we met our comfort level. The bears would back off when they heard a sharp or loud sound out-of-place in their environment. I can only explain this nuance as a profound energetic transfer of comfort and respect. The bears were all equally as interested and curious as we were and this deeply felt exchange and this understanding is what can help keep them safe out there.

I’ve been struck-through-the-heart by these animals. Don’t get me wrong, they are an apex predator, but after you spend time with these giants you’ll see and feel their true souls. They remind me the most of dogs, and in fact polar bears aren’t that far from the dog family! They all have their own personalities and character, they play, they listen, they observe, they LOVE + SURVIVE – and they deserve to be loved back. That’s what the people of Churchill Wild dedicate themselves to. You won’t just learn about these creatures you’ll meet them on the front lines, LITERALLY.

Experience polar bears without the crowds — it’s the only way to go.

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From this I have garnered a deep admiration and respect for polar bears that I wouldn’t trade for the world. (That’s why this experience exists!) Please take this advice too: Put this on your bucket list then do it..

 

What: The ‘Great Ice Bear Adventure‘ facilitated by the team at Churchill Wild. 

Where: Dymond Lake, Manitoba, Canada 

How: Connect with Nolan and the Team at Churchill Wild:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChurchillWild
Twitter: www.twitter.com/churchillwild
Instagram: www.instagram.com/churchillwildsafaris/

Web: churchillwild.com

Toll Free: 1 866-UGO-WILD (846-9453)

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Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
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Adam Walker: A Man Underground

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How many times have you gone in to work, walked into your office building and noticed new things, changed things, growing things that weren’t there before? You notice shifts to the floor plan or elevation, new hallways, a whole new and undiscovered nook or conference room? Would daily discovery make it a good day at the office for you or would it scare you? And what does this have to do with caving, you ask? Read on…

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This is the second installment in my journey into the depths of Rat’s Nest Cave in Canmore, AB, Canada. My first descent earlier this year prompted a deeper look into the cave and the man behind Canmore Cave Tours. If you haven’t read about my initial descent earlier this year, you can check out the story and photos here: Into Earth’s Womb →

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Adam Walker inside the Grand Gallery in Rat’s Nest Cave, AB, Canada. Photo by Dax Justin

My first descent into Rat’s Nest Cave earlier this year allowed me a sneak peak into the whole caving culture and an introduction to what I’d like to refer to as an active frontier. A whole new underground world that is alive, breathing and changing. It’s a self-contained eco-system that shifts and grows. I started to daydream about what it would be like for me to set up my office in the cave – I was THAT excited about my maiden exploration of the cave.

All joking aside, I started thinking about the man behind this whole operation and what his “day at the office” must be like. What kind of person does it take to make this not just his living, but also his life’s work?

Now before we get in too deep, let me just tell you it’s my opinion that it must take someone very interesting (and maybe a little crazy) to pursue a lifetime in the cave. What would your resume need to look like? Does it take a little insanity, an undying devotion to the endless pursuit of going deeper into a subterranean realm, an unstoppable hunger and curiosity to keep exploring and discovering new things every day? Apparently so and I got to meet him on my second descent into Rat’s Nest.

Adam Walker illuminates The Grotto. The deepest point in the Rat’s Nest Cave, AB, Canada. Photo by Dax Justin

Portrait of Adam Walker just outside Rat’s Nest Cave, AB, Canada. Photo by Dax Justin

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There’s one man who has been instrumental in the facilitation and future of this cave. I’d like you to meet Adam Walker, Owner at Canmore Cave Tours. Adam has led Canmore Caverns Ltd. since 2013 and is a pure badass – if it weren’t for Adam’s relentless passion for caving this place wouldn’t be anywhere near where it is today. He has a strong background in the outdoors and has been guiding in caves since 2003, he’s been involved in a multitude of underground pursuits across the world that spans Canada, USA, Spain, Barbados and the Bahamas and last but not least, Adam has orchestrated a passionate team of like-minded cavers and guides to help in the daily operations of the cave tours.

Portrait of Adam Walker from the depths of Rat’s Nest Cave, AB, Canada. Photo by Dax Justin

Adam will never take all (or any) of the credit. You’d have to tear it out of him. He may be the most humble person I’ve ever met and honestly, if you were to ask him how he has been able to progress the developments of the cave and business he would have only one answer: “My team.”

Case in point: When I asked Adam the question, “Why? Why do this?” He answered,

“I have been in this cave more times than anyone can count and I still find something new every single time I go down. This place changes. Nothing is scripted. It grows and evolves and we try to grow and evolve with it. Nothing fascinates me more.”

Now, that’s what I call a good day at the office.

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I photographed these photos while on Canmore Cave Tour’s new Private Caving Experience – SOLITUDE. Without being with a group of people, you’ll have time to enjoy every inch of the cave while exploring at your own pace.

 

What: A Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

Where: Rat’s Nest Cave, designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1987, situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain near Canmore, AB, Canada. Access to the cave is restricted in order to protect the environment inside and entry is facilitated by Canmore Cave Tours.

How: Connect with Adam and the Team at Canmore Cave Tours:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/canmorecavetours
Twitter: www.twitter.com/canmorecavetour
Instagram: www.instagram.com/canmorecavetours

Web: canmorecavetours.com

Toll Free: 1877.317.1178

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Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook Page

INTO EARTH’S WOMB

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I’ve always wondered what the Earth looks like below the surface. After my exploration of Rat’s Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours, I’m excited to share the photographs and stories with you. In the cave you’re immersed in a living, sweating, self-sustaining eco-system. All without a lick of sunlight. It was thrilling, educational, and visceral.

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I want to take you deep inside Earth’s Womb and show you why this is a Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

A few weeks ago my latest assignment had me descending hundreds of feet into the Earth, as part of a 3-person team including my renegade manager Larissa Roque and our guide, Max. Our idea was to rappel into the fault line that created Lake Minnewanka and explore this subterranean realm, facilitated by the cavers at Canmore Cave Tours. Located just an hour and ten minutes away from Calgary near Canmore, Alberta is the Rat’s Nest Cave: a Provincial Historic Resource situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain. YO, let me be clear – I’m uneasy and scared sh*tless of the thought of crawling into tiny cracks and squeezing through tunnels hundreds of feet below the Earth. Being wedged between rocks – Are you nuts or what? But something happened down there. Time stopped; and we descended into Earth’s womb.

The first memorable instance from this journey came immediately upon entering the cave –  I looked down into a deep dark hole, fully harnessed at this stage and realized: there’s no one else down there whatsoever. This is the back country. I felt slightly nervous not knowing what to expect. Before the initial descent, our guide Max pointed out a drawing just inside the entrance of the cave. A reddish-colored marking at eye-level held my attention for the next few moments…the drawing was of a person holding a wheel. After historical research it was discovered the pictograph was of a Shaman – a protector of a spiritual place. It was a belief that this cave was the entrance to the “heart of the land.”

We entered the first room, appropriately named The Bone Yard – a room of skeletal remains of deer and paleontological specimens of birds, snakes, fish and several amphibians.  An accumulation of bones populated this room from a variety of sources such as animals falling into the cave, rats bringing in bones, but there’s also evidence of First Nations cultures visiting the cave as artifact discoveries have been made of arrowheads as well as bones shaped out with carving tools. The cave also contains the remains of over 30 mammalian species. The many and varied paleontological resources of the cave exist alongside the diversity of insects, arachnids and worms that presently inhabit the site. The human presence in the cave has been established by the discovery of prehistoric tools found at the site that date back roughly 3000 years ago. These are the reasons why this cave is a provincial protected resource. It’s safe to say that set the tone for our journey.

When you enter the cave, you enter a whole other world. It didn’t feel like we were under the surface – it felt like another planet entirely – an alien planet that was ALIVE. A rare place that thrives without the assistance of the one thing we all think every living thing needs to survive – the Sun. After we left The Bone Yard we rappelled down about 60 feet into another area of the cave, exploring throughout on mostly our hands and knees, or just flat-out on our back and stomach.

Then we came up to a newly-excavated, unnamed squeeze not yet on the map. Traditionally, a professional “mapper” carries out mapping of the area, which is conducted over time. Once the area is fully mapped, the mapper will give the newly-discovered area a name, but I suggested to Max we name that squeeze The Slayer (if you know anything about me, you’ll get the reference). I think it was meant to be – this was the tightest squeeze to shimmy through up to that point and the day before we explored Rat’s Nest also happened to be International Day of Slayer. And to reiterate – I WAS AFRAID OF GETTING STUCK. Who wouldn’t be? But it’s extremely rare. Even if a squeeze is tight, it’s easily maneuverable and this fear of mine disappeared almost instantly down there.

In my initial research of Rat’s Nest Cave I read about one of the cave’s main features: The Laundry Chute. Accurately named, The Laundry Chute is a vertical crawl down, then a sharp horizontal crawl, or shimmy, that requires you to shift your body down a tight tunnel that takes on an “L” shape. It takes approximately 2 minutes to complete this tight squeeze and it was worth every second. I can say I was looking forward to this squeeze the most and it didn’t disappoint.

We made our way through chutes and squeezes to a large room called the Grand Gallery. Being the largest room in the cave, you’ll hear the sounds of Earth… I remember staring straight up at the long fault line that leads all the way to Lake Minnewanka thinking, “These two chunks of the Earth formed the cave I’m standing in, shaped by pressure and time.” Max then told us that this fault line leads all the way to Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, and the water that formed this cave is now the water in Lake Minnewanka.

For the first time in my life I saw alien-like formations. I don’t just mean these things “look” like fossils – they look and feel extraterrestrial. You’re surrounded by speleological features called stalactites and stalagmites; a natural phenomena basically made up of fossilized water and gas, shaped by moisture seeping through the cave’s ceiling and dripping on a vertical line. These formations can take thousands of years to grow, depending on how much moisture comes through the cave’s wall. I don’t believe I’ve ever been surrounded by such an ambient, otherworldly place. To say the cave isn’t alive is a lie. The mountain SWEATS all around you…it’s its own living ecosystem. At one point Larissa and I were both photographing the some of these formations, affectionately referred to as Pig’s Ears and as she lay on her back taking photos, a drop of water from one of these stalactites landed in her eye. It sounds like a mundane thing to bring up, but when you’re down there, all your senses come to life and everything has meaning.

“I watched that drop come down into my eye in slow motion,” Larissa said. “People tend to blink when something’s coming at their eye, but I literally watched it happen. It didn’t feel as it should have – intrusive – and it wasn’t something I wanted to wipe off my face immediately after either. I welcomed it. It was as if that cave wanted to be part of me as much as I wanted to be part of it and with pin-point accuracy, the cave entered my body through my eye. It runs through my veins now, it’s part of me. It was one of the most peaceful moments of true connection I’ve experienced in my life.” – Larissa Roque (@larissarpr) TWEET THIS

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Alien Time Machine: This photo of interconnected “curtains” was captured within the Grotto of the cave, having grown for roughly 750,000 years. The cavers call it a ‘Pig’s Ear‘ and it develops whenever the glaciers above the cave retreat, and the now unfrozen water percolates through the rock above the cave, dissolving minerals from the surface and depositing them anew when the water reaches the cave below.

When I gently ran my fingers along this specimen, it felt like a fossilized life form. It looked intangible, yet existed right before my eyes. Cold, hard, smooth and extraterrestrial. It FELT alive. And so did I.

At the deepest point in the exploration of Rat’s Nest at -54 meters, we decided to kill our headlamps inside The Grotto Pool, the lowest room on the tour (FYI: The lowest point in the cave is -165 meters). It’s a strange feeling to wave your hands in front of your face and only experience pure blackness. You. See. Nothing. You will FEEL the darkness. Lights off – minds clear. With nothing to see with your eyes, my thoughts and feelings turned inward. I discovered I wasn’t claustrophobic. You know the first time I met Adam, Owner & Facilitator at Canmore Cave Tours, he said, “This is not a ‘tour.’ It’s deeper than that…we’re in the business of showing people a side of themselves they may have not known they had. You’ll discover something about yourself you may have never known.

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“Like studying layers in glaciers or the lines of tree rings, studying those layers in the cave formations tells you about the past. Oxygen isotopes trapped within (giving information of temperature and glaciation), along with proportions of greenhouse gases (giving us information about climate), and trapped organics (telling us about the ecology outside), all work together to paint a picture of the world long before homo sapiens even walked the planet.”

Max, Guide at Canmore Cave Tours

We discovered the ultimate sense of solitude as we explored 4 kilometers of a subterranean world. Larissa and I learned how paleoclimatology (the study of time through climate) gives us windows into past worlds and after spending roughly 5 hours underground, being in this cave felt like entering a living time machine. You won’t notice the time fly by while you’re down there, it felt like time stopped. This is a visceral and thrilling experience and I now understand why it’s a Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

As I write this I’m staring down at hundreds-of-thousands-of-years-old sediment underneath my fingernails and without being on a Private Tour – SOLITUDE – Canmore Cave Tour’s new experience offering – I don’t feel we would have been able to fully absorb the magnitude of this experience. Without being with a group of people, you’ll have time to enjoy every inch of the cave while exploring at your own pace.

 

What: A Signature Canadian Experience as designated by Destination Canada.

Where: Rat’s Nest Cave, designated a Provincial Historic Site in 1987, situated on the south-facing slope of Grotto Mountain near Canmore, AB, Canada. Access to the cave is restricted in order to protect the environment inside and entry is facilitated by Canmore Cave Tours.

How: Connect with the Team at Canmore Cave Tours:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/canmorecavetours
Twitter: www.twitter.com/canmorecavetour
Instagram: www.instagram.com/canmorecavetours

Web: canmorecavetours.com

Toll Free: 1877.317.1178

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Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook Page

Bring Back Wildhood

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When I was a kid, there were times I’d run around in the woods with imagination, playing like tomorrow never existed. Did you ever play like that? I want that feeling back. And by want I mean NEED, so my friend Brennan and I teamed up with Go RVing Canada and took off on a relentless search of that very feeling. It’s not childhood – it’s wildhood.

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The #BringBackWildhood campaign is about attitude. An attitude towards nature and the outdoors, pure & untapped. Wildhood is our sense of play and imagination in the outdoors. Go RVing Canada set us up with an RV and sent us into the wild. Below is a video, a gallery of our trip and Q&A between Go RVing Canada and Dax.

Photo Gallery

Q & A: Go RVing Canada X Dax Justin

What were some of your highlights?
At the top of my list has to be skytrekking among the trees in the Skytrek Adventure Park and visiting a very sentimental place for me called the The Enchanted Forest near Revelstoke. Then; finding Wildhood at the Giant Cedar Boardwalk, reaching the summit of Terminator Peak at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, crossing a swaying suspension bridge at Crazy Creek Falls, and obviously canoeing Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park, AB during a calm yet visually radiant sunset.

Anything completely unexpected happen?
People. Amazing ones! I always meet people on my trips in the outdoors but the individuals I met on this trip were different. As in, I’m Facebook friends with them now and it’s safe to say we’re friends for life! I believe the true essence of adventure lies between the interconnections of humans WITHIN nature and each other. Though I anticipated meeting cool people along the way, the ones I met have been surprisingly supportive and were instrumental in capturing some of my favorite moments of the journey.

Was there something that really brought Wildhood back for you?
Momentarily after entering British Columbia we stepped into the Giant Cedar Boardwalk and there was a shift in the trip… Walking along the boardwalk you catch brisk scents of fresh cedar, every shade of green making your eyes spin and I couldn’t help but go off the path to run my fingers through the fresh, ALIVE forest. That was the moment got my Wildhood back, and that’s when the true adventure started.

Would you do it again?
In a heartbeat. Or less! Now that I’ve experienced a luxury RV sleeping in the bush (literally) is going to be tough!  🙂

Anything you’d like shared about your adventure?
Taking an RV through my home province of Alberta and into the stunning British Columbia was a journey I’ll never forget. The heart of this for me was being able to experience new beauty I had never laid eyes on before, and that made me feel like I was in Neverland.

Dax

As always, drop me a line and follow my adventures on:
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Via Ferrata at Kicking Horse Mtn

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Something I’ve learned about myself is that I rarely turn down an opportunity for adventure. When Kicking Horse Mountain calls and wants you to climb Terminator Peak and cross a swaying suspension bridge, you go.

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But this was no ordinary climb, this type of climb is called “Via Ferrata” which means “iron path” in Italian. I have done these types of climbs before but this one is positioned as most exhilarating Via Ferrata in Western Canada. We did the ASCENSION Route, which is the full route to the peak. It did not disappoint.

From Kicking Horse’s website: “465 meters of pure bliss! Starting off the ridge-line dividing the Rocky Mountain trench from the Purcell range, and exiting at the top of Terminator Peak, the ASCENSION Route is a truly unique beast. From the climbers’ mouth, this course is one of the most technical & scenic in North America. Discover our signature “Guts Bridge” and stand on top of the world, feeling that you summited a giant!

 

Via Ferrata Gallery

Interested in seeing how something like this comes together? Kicking Horse Mountain put together a video series of the making of the Via Ferrata:

Learn more about Kicking Horse Mountain’s Via Ferrata climb here.

Dax

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