After last weekend's success at spelunking in Gatineau park we decided to finally go for the big one. Lusk Cave at the east end of Lac Philippe. We arrived at the parking lot around 10:30 am where I packed up my swimsuit, sandals, toque and headlight before starting on the 5 km trek to Lusk Cave.
The hike runs through the campground and past three beaches before continuing along the southern shoreline of Lac Philippe. At the east end of the lake there is yet another small beach with an awesome view of the entire length of the lake. Not surprisingly this is a popular resting spot for bikers, hikers, kayakers, and canoeists.
Turning away from the lake we hiked the last km to the cave where we were chatted up by one of the park's volunteer hikers whose job it is to patrol the trails with his yellow jacket and walkie-talkie. After checking out the cave map and getting some helpful hints we geared up and headed over to the cave's entrance.
Once in the cave we found ourselves following a tiny stream that echoed off the walls making it sound like something closer to the size of Niagara. The start of the cave is fairly open with a couple of holes in the ceiling where the sunlight beams down. At one point the ceiling and height of the water approach each other leaving only about a foot and a half of clearance. This meant that we had to crouch way over and shimmy our way through the water to the next opening. Luckily the water was only about a foot deep here but we still ended up getting pretty wet.
Soon we reached the halfway point where the cave opened back up to blue sky. The next half starts with a 2 metre "waterfall" and then winds left and right with a couple of large ledges that you can hop up on to have a rest and get out of the stream. Near the end the clearance again shrinks down to about a foot above the water line but luckily there is a little side route that you can take that makes the spelunking a little easier (especially when you're carrying a camera).
All and all we had a great day and given the original forecast for rain today's warm sunny skies was a definite bonus. This is one adventure that I'll definitely put on my annual hit list, in fact I'm already planning to bring the kids up here to test out whether or not they're claustrophobic.
Celebrating our first real spelunking adventure.
Click here for a detailed map of Lusk Cave.