a peek inside the fishbowl

26 Aug, 2008

We braved the cave (again)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|Ottawa|Photography|travel talk

We first ventured into the dank darkness that is known as the Lusk Caves around this time last year. The water level was pretty high, we were all rather freaked out (okay, maybe that was just me), and we didn’t make it all the way through.

This year, we decided we wanted to do it again. And guess what? We did it.

This kind of cave “exploring”  (I am using the term rather loosely here, because there’s only one path through the cave system and there isn’t that much to explore) is an amazing way to give yourself your kids a boost of self-confidence. Sarah and Emma were both as jumpy as a couple of mice at a cat party, but they did it … one small step at a time.

Why was I worried? Well, for starters:

– it was DARK in there
– there was flowing water
– we had headlights that weren’t quite bright enough.

Better yet, here’s a pictoral chronology.

Lac Phillipe at noon today. NOT A SOUL to be seen. I never seen it so entirely people-free. In fact, I wondered if we had accidentally stumbled upon some alternate universe in which there were no crowds:

Lac Phillipe

It’s an easy 5km hike to the cave:

path to Lusk Caves

And there it is (yes, that black hole carved in the rocks):

Lusk Caves

Guess who’s excited?


Watch your step!

Lusk Caves

Um, did I mention it was pitch dark?

it was dark!

Now just LOOK at this photo, and tell me, would or would you not feel a slight pang of discomfort at this point in the journey? Note that Sarah is shorter than I am. She’s deep in the water and she had actual headroom. I was crouched over, holding my camera up next to my ear, and beginning to hyperventilate:

Deep in the cave

 Holy Mary was I happy to see the light of day.

Lusk Caves

The girls wanted to go again, but as my chest loosened I realized how much I didn’t really want to do it again. But I’m rather pleased I did. You know what I mean?

Lusk Caves

They are immensely proud of their accomplishment today, as am I. That’s one more off the list too!

p.s. If you’re keen to check out the caves for yourselves GO NOW while the water level is low and is still warm(ish)!

Tommorow I will tell you about a very different kind of field trip we had recently. Some of you might like this one too. :)

7 Responses to "We braved the cave (again)"

1 | The Moffman

August 26th, 2008 at 10:12 pm


Whoa. That would seriously freak me out. I’ve always been mildly claustrophobic… plus, now that I think of it, I think I also have I-really-don’t-want-to-drown-someplace-where-nobody-will-find-me-o-phobia.
If I ever feel a need to conquer these fears, now I’ll know where to go. Thanks for that. :)

2 | porter

August 27th, 2008 at 9:44 am


I don’t think I would ever do anything like that, and I’m okay with that! I am also mildy claustrophoic (like The Moffman) and yep, I also think I also have I-really-don’t-want-to-drown-someplace-where-nobody-will-find-me-o-phobia. I would be immensely proud of my girls if they did it though…after I got peeved at the person who let them do it in the first place!!!!!!!!!!

3 | Scattered Mom

August 27th, 2008 at 10:57 am


We’ve done a bunch of caves, but none with water in them. I’m more partial to the ones with actual formations, like stalactites. :)

Now scuba diving in a a cave(people actually do that)….you couldn’t pay me to do.There’s no where to go if you run into trouble, unlike the open ocean where you just go…up!


August 27th, 2008 at 3:55 pm


Me and my daughters set out to do the caves as well but myself and one of the girls had to stop just after the entrace. Way too claustophobic for us, so we heard about all the cool stuff through the other one. Pitty!

I like your blog – it’s very cool. Feel free to check out mine – I’m new to this. http://momofboxer.blogspot.com

6 | I caved >> a peek inside the fishbowl

August 24th, 2011 at 10:38 am


[…] way to the beginning of the tour. It’s a guided tour (unlike Lusk Caves, which I wrote about here). I wasn’t sure if I was keen on this fact – I like going through a place at my own speed – […]

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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