Cougar Caves

I found out about the area about five years ago by trolling through rock climbing sites on the internet looking for interesting places to hide geocaches. I spotted “Cougar Caves” and “The Bakery” in Sooke.

Perfect.

A cave of cougars to hide a geocache in!

(for the record, I have never seen a cougar at the Cougar Caves. It’s located very near Camp Barnard and seems to have a lot of human foot traffic but no cougars).

Ron, Sharan, Tucker the wonder dog and myself decided to head over to Butler/Boneyard to take a look.

 We found the thin little trail near the junction of Butler and Boneyard logging roads and went up. Sharan’s dog, Tucker, was with us. The trail was very short but quite steep. I had no idea what we were going to find up there.  I know I was  very curious. I had this misconception in my mind we would go down and into a cave.

The trail ends and I notice treetops …. below me. I notice a huge crack  right at our feet. The trail goes DOWN, suddenly, steeply and instantly. Ron scrambles down and reaches to the bottom of the crack like area. He calls up that it’s quite a bit easier than it looks and “com’on down”

Sharan passes Tucker to me and then makes her way down to the first rock level. I pass Tucker to her and she passes him on to Ron. Tucker is patient and seems amazingly calm that he is about to visit a cougar cave. Sharan and Tucker are down and then I make my way down the rocks.

We are at the bottom of a huge rock wall towering over us. Between the huge wall and the opposite bank there are jumbles of boulders plugging the bottom of the V. The spaces left in between the rocks are most likely full of cougars! We poke nervously around at the dark holes and smell the air. Do we smell cougars? What the heck do they smell like anyhow??

After awhile I relaxed and started to think about earthquakes. An earthquake in this area would be a much more serious problem than a cougar. I decide that the cougars have already figured this out and have moved on long ago. We clamber over the rocks and squiggle through a small passage. We tilt our necks back and eyeball the overhanging moss above us. We try to avoid the drips.We come up theories of The Crack. (it’s a former waterfall…an earthquake cracked the earth open….I have not idea….)

The explorations come to an end because it’s beer time. (Ron always keeps careful watch about beer time). We decide not to clamber back up that rock staircase and instead exit out the front of the crack. We wonder where we’ll end up but it works out great. The trail beetles along a slippery slope of dry summer grass and I do not look down. We pop back onto Boneyard and make our way back to the gate. A cache was hidden, we discovered a very cool land feature AND we were home early for beer time. Nice. Now for that Bakery…

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