Westbound on wheels: Siu finds adventure deep below

Inside the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville

Siu Hong Yu is a scientist working at the National Research Council. Outside the lab he tries to stay out of trouble with live music, food outings, photography, gallery visits, running, hiking, good reads and cinema.

With the perfect summer sun and a few friends visiting, what better way to celebrate a long weekend than with a little road trip? After taking in all the downtown festivities on Canada Day, our group headed out on the open road.

Water? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Cooler? Check. We’re ready – let’s go!

Cedar Hill Berry Farm in Pakenham

We kicked off our action-packed Saturday getting down to our knees for some strawberry picking at Cedar Hill Berry Farm in Pakenham. After a friendly competition of who-gets-the-biggest-berry and being pleasantly surprised at the cost (three mid-size baskets for just $12!), we continued our journey on a country road heading west. And now that raspberry season is here, I’m certainly thinking of going back.

En route to our next destination, we passed by White Lake, where I was green with envy looking at the boaters. For our own break, we stopped in Renfrew for an impromptu lunch at Finnigan’s Road House (302 Raglan Street). Maybe I was hungry, but their fries and gravy were totally worth the drive, let me tell you!

Inside the Bonnechere Caves in Eganville

After lunch, we continued west on Highway 60 (where we almost stopped for a photo op in front of the sign for Cheese Factory Road). Instead we travelled for another 20 minutes or so and arrived at our final destination: Bonnechere Caves in Eganville.

Greeted by the steaming-hot midday sun, we didn’t need to wait long for our guided tour, which runs every twenty minutes and lasts approximately fifty. The tour begun with a brief history of the caves and an intro to the local geography, followed by a showcase of a few impressive fossils found in the area.

Upon entering the caves, I was delighted by the refreshing natural A/C. Our tour guide was enthusiastic and had a few humourous little stories to tell from her previous tours. However, my highlight in the underworld has to be the “optional” section of the cave, where we had to tread a little water to explore a narrow passage in almost pitch black — and then seeing my friend gasp in horror over a tiny spider hanging over us.

Not far from the caves, the Fourth Chute Falls

Once back out in daylight, a short trail that passed by a sink hole brought us back to the gift shop and parking lot. All in all, it was a fun experience, albeit a little overpriced at $16 per person. Across the parking lot, my friend and I had a camera fight, “shooting” each other over a waterfall, which could have made an excellent picnic spot.

On our way back to the city, I kind of dozed off. Afterall, I was dreaming about all the desserts we could make from those strawberries…

Wow! Sounds like an amazing Saturday, Siu! Maybe something for this long weekend? Do you know of any great Ottawa-area roadtrips? Tell us about them at ltottawa@gmail.com.