Nathan and I have a long tradition of caving and camping at Wee Jasper. It was where we first started to eye each other off and think - gee I like the look of him.... 15 years later we still love going.
We have walked the kids into the mouth of a few natural limestone caves before, but as Matilda was either not walking or not yet climbing, we had not yet taken them deep into the caves. This time, to much excitement of the kids, we spent the whole morning in a great starter cave called the "Signature Cave". This is a great cave to begin with as there is a decent amount to explore but no "endless drops" for the kids to fall down. There are squeezes, mazes, tunnels and slippery slides to enjoy.
So, full of excitement we 'donned' our dirty clothes, helmets and head torches and set off to explore the cave. The kids were wonderful, they got comfortable with sitting on their bottoms to get down slopes and became more and more adventurous as we spent time exploring the cave.
We set boundaries about helmets needing to stay on in the cave and that was it, no other boundaries were needed. The kids were really empowered by being real cavers. They were fascinated about the new world they found below the earth and the new experiences it allowed us to have. We turned the lights off and felt the complete darkness on our bodies. We also loved getting REALLY DIRTY, sliding, rolling and crawling through the mud.
This is going to be a new regular for our family. Watching the sense of pride on the kids faces when they pushed through their comfort zones and challenged themselves was really rewarding. Orlando was so inspired by it that he made up all sorts of plans about living in the cave, and dreamt of many a cave adventure.