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The Hourglass Cave by Dean McMillan  


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caving photos and stories from Hourglass Cave, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
The Hourglass Cave
by Dean McMillan

It's fall on Vancouver Island and our wet weather is back. That means the mushrooms are out. One day in mid October I ventured out south of Lake Cowichan in search of the ultimate patch of chanterelles (cantharellus cibarius). We drove down a badly rutted logging road in my old ranger, minus shocks, until we came across a spot where I had picked in previous years. The mountain had been spaced (reforested trees thinned out) and game trails criss crossed everywhere, making for easy hiking. We stumbled across a patch of chanterelles and followed it until it ran out. It took us three miles around the mountain, and we guessed at a different path back to the truck. By the time we got back to the truck it was getting on in the afternoon, so we decided not to pick any more that day.

Before leaving we decided to scout out some new spots. My thought was to head off the beaten track. There seems to be more and more pickers every year. It seems that the easily accessible spots are always picked over these days. I took an almost unused road up into a promising area. I followed the road till it ended in a washout and got turned back.

caving photos and stories from Hourglass Cave, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada On the way back down I checked out a trail and instead of mushrooms came upon a cabin. My first thought was that it was a squatters' cabin, but upon further investigation found it to be a cabin used by cavers. There was a wood stove in the corner, a bunk in the loft and a plaque on the wall that said Hourglass Cave. Upon leaving the cabin I caught site of the cave mouth. I ran back to the truck, excited by my discovery and got my camera. Discretion being the better part of valour we decided not to explore inside the cave.

caving photos and stories from Hourglass Cave, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

That evening I phoned an old logger friend who knows the area. He said he was unfamiliar with the Hourglass Cave, but said that there are lots of caves in the area, some that sink for miles into the earth.

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