It doesn’t matter if I’m crawling through caves, flying through the air, or riding waves, I’m all in—adventure is my middle name! I was excited to book a tour through Canmore Caving when I was traveling through the Alberta, Canada.
Canmore Caving offers two types of tours. You can take the Explorer Tour, which is the easy track, or the Adventure Tour. Of course, I went for the Adventure. It has a lot more hiking, rappelling, and squeezing through tiny spaces. I had no idea what to expect from this, but I was ready to go spelunking through some wild caves!
The tour begins with a hike up the mountains. It’s not too bad, only about 20 minutes, and it’s beautiful. We all packed our own stuff up the hill. I enjoyed the walk. If it wasn’t for my anticipation to get inside those caves, I would have wanted to stay out there all day!
The first thing we did once we got inside was learn about rope safety. I was super excited to get going, but plummeting to my death at the bottom of a massive shaft didn’t sound too appealing, so I listened closely. They repeated all the rules we’d already heard in the office. Obviously, there are risks involved in caving, but that’s pretty much true for anything fun you do while traveling. People have been hospitalized by vending machines, after all.
The cave we explored is 4 kilometers long and is called Rat’s Nest Cave because of the bushy-tailed wood rats who make their homes near the entrance. Honestly, those little things are way too cute to be called rats! I’d go with “mouse-like chipmunks” if it were up to me. But obviously it’s not.
In any case, we took a peek at the nests and then continued through the cave system. The biggest room in the whole cave is the Grand Gallery, where we could mill around easily without bumping into each other or the walls. During the journey, I enjoyed seeing the Grotto Pool, where some people go cave diving, and the Bacon Strip rock formation way in the back of the cave. Seriously, though, I can’t imagine squishing myself into some of those squeezes, like the Laundry Chute. Fortunately, the squeezes are optional. Even without fitting through those little spaces, the tour is definitely not for the claustrophobic.
The whole tour was about six hours, with four hours of that being actually in the cave. We rappelled pretty far down and got to feel like explorers as we tip-toed through the cave. It was amazing to see how the cave’s stalactites and stalagmites have formed over thousands of years! I wonder, who was the first person to explore the caves, and what did they find?
Location: Canmore, Alberta, Canada
What to bring: Good shoes, warm clothes, a sense of adventure
Good stuff to know: It’s cold. Like 4 degrees. Dress warm! Also, make sure you don’t drink a giant sup of Tim Horton’s (note my Canada savvy here) before you go. There is no bathroom in the cave. Be prepared to have fun and get epic! This is the real deal, folks.