Alice Loop, Gold River and Caves

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had been warned of a possible flat tire or two on the road from Port Hardy to Cape Scott. If we had gotten a flat, we would have had to lie in the mud to change the tire ourselves (the proverbial ‘we’, that is), since we were out of range to get assistance from BCAA . Well, we didn’t get a flat … well, not then.

We noticed our tire going flat just as we pulled in to Marble River Recreation Site which, luckily for us, was in range to get assistance. Only an hour sooner and we would have been hooped.

That was enough excitement for one day. The next day we headed toward Gold River via the Alice loop with several stops along the way.

Devil’s Bath: Devil’s bath is considered one of Canada’s largest cenotes (flooded sinkhole) measuring 359m around and 44m deep. The cenote connects to the Benson River which is 200m to the northwest through a series of cave passages 80m below the water table.

The Eternal Fountain is a stream resurgence waterfall that flows into a swallet (a stream sinking into a separate cave below the waterfall). There is a short trail within this site that winds its way through a second growth forest with areas to view karst features such as dolines, swallets, disappearing and reappearing streams.

Little Huson Caves

Little Huson Caves are located in the traditional territory of the ‘Namgis First Nation and Little Huson Cave Park is a Regional Park which protects a unique area of karst geology. Thousands of years of running water have worn down the Quatsino Limestone formation, forming caves and sinkholes.

The highlight of the area is a large cathedral cave where Atluck Creek runs underground for 60 meters. The hiking trail crosses right above the cave on a natural bridge.There are also lots of smaller side caves formed by ground water.

Gold River

You may have heard about Gold River in the news 7 years ago when the only grocery store in town shut down leaving the residents without a place to purchase food without going a long distance. Consumers living in the remote village of Gold River, B.C. on Vancouver Island have banded together to open up their own co-operative retail store just last month.

What I found most impressive about Gold River (besides the Visitor Centre which was excellent), was the carved benches in the shopping mall.

Between Gold River and Tahsis, there are 18 points of interest. Some were easier to find than others.

Upana Caves

Pathways and steps allow you go to the fifteen known semi-developed wild caves, including Corner Cave, Insect Cave, Main Cave, Resurgence Cave, Slither Cave and Tunnel Cave all linked by a hiking trail with signage in Kyuquot Provincial Forest. At one point you come across an underground river. An interesting note: The underground sequences of “Huckleberry Finn and His Friends” were filmed in Upana Caves.

This marks the end of our Vancouver Island adventure! We thoroughly enjoyed our camping, exploring, hiking and the birds that seemed to be singing everywhere we went. Special thanks go to the friends we met along the way.

Now, where to next?


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