Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Exploring caves with the grandkids, and some lucky good news!

 Hmm. Do we tell you about our day out exploring first, or do we tell you about our good luck first?

I think we'll save the good luck news for the end of the post. Keep reading!

Yesterday, we made arrangements to meet daughter Lindsey and the grandkids in the parking lot at Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park on the other side of the river in the province of Quebec.

From where we are in Galetta, the shortest route up there is to use the ferry across the Ottawa River at Quyon, Quebec. It would have been cheaper driving around, because the five minute ferry ride costs $9.25 CAD ($7.00 USD), but we decided to avoid the city traffic and take the back way using the ferry.

Fancy new Corvette in front of us.

It was an easy drive up to the park with hardly any traffic. Well worth the price of the ferry in order to avoid the city.

Covered bridge entrance to Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park.

My parents used to bring us up to Lac Philippe every once in a while when we were kids. There's a nice beach there and it's a popular day trip picnic spot on the weekends. I bet I haven't been up there in almost 20 years. It hasn't changed much!

We got parked up, and five minutes later Lindsey, Cameron, and Sadie arrived. This was to be their longest hike yet at 11 kms (6.8 miles) to the caves and back, so we were curious how they would do. They each had their own backpack to carry as well because the caves are live which means there is still water running through them so they needed a change of clothes.

Part of the trail follows the lake shore.

Lac Philippe.

Lac Philippe.

Here comes Lindsey and Sadie.

And Cameron and Ruth.

Climbing over some boulders on the trail.

Cameron and Sadie.

Strange mushroom (?) looks like sea coral.

Time for a snack break.

Lindsey took this pic.

Lots of mushrooms.

We've never seen so any different mushrooms, toadstools, and fungi. Must have something to do with the almost daily rain we've had lately.

We arrived at the Lusk Caves. It had taken an hour and 15 minutes to do just over 5 kms (3 miles) so considering we were with the kids that was pretty good!

Haven't been up to the Lusk Caves in many years. During busy season, you have to pay to get into the beach parking lot where the trailhead is, but at this time of year it's free. And the cave system is free and unmonitored as well. Somewhat surprisingly, you are responsible for your own health and safety, which is just the way it should be.

The first section of the caves is walkable, although you end up getting wet up to your knees or so if you want to make it all the way through that section. The second half you will get fully wet though, especially since they have had a fair bit of rain here lately.

I walked the first part myself alone, going as far as I could without taking my hiking boots off. I almost made it though, but at the end there would have been no way except by getting my feet wet, so I turned around and went back out to take some photos of the others.

Sadie and Cameron, ready for some caving!

Cameron at the exit of the first section.

I went in alone first just to check things out.

Looking back out the entrance.

Cameron followed me for a little while.

Looks worse than it is. But the water was COLD.

I made it through here without getting my feet wet!

The others put their water clothes on and headed in.

There they go!

Ruth had her waterproof camera with her and took this photo looking back out.

I was above a hole where they came through.

Hi Grandpa!

Another mushroom.

The second section was tough though. Ruth and Lindsey went in to check it out along with another young couple. Even the young couple decided the water level was too high for them, and so Ruth and Lindsey came back out as well.

Still, we had fun and it was a great "first cave" experience for the kids.

Lindsey took this pic.
Another snack break!

Cameron pretty much ran up the side of this rock, 
and of course Sadie wasn't about to be outdone by her big brother!

Here she goes!

Made it!

What a great day we had!

Now, let me tell you what we woke up to this morning.

Wandering Earl is a popular travel blog run by Derek (his middle name is Earl) Baron. A couple of weeks ago he ran a contest on his facebook page at and so I signed up to his newsletter and entered the contest.

The prize was $300 USD ($395 CAD) cash to be used for any international air travel over the next year.

There were 6,518 entries to the contest.

And guess who won?

That's right... me!

We will have no problem spending that money on a flight, and we are thrilled to do so.

Thanks Derek!

12" Memory Foam Mattress in a Box. Clip the 10% off coupon showing on the product page then enter code 30UFF7GF at checkout for a total 40% off. Code works on all sizes.

And in Canada...


  1. wow...nice and yep if anyone can spend that easily it will be Ruth and you Congrats....Jeannie and Barry

    1. We definitely won't have a hard time spending that on a flight somewhere this winter. Now we just have to figure out where! :-)

  2. Congratulations Kevin! There definitely were a lot of entries but in the end, someone needs to win. Glad it can be of use to you. And the outing to that park and caves looks awesome!!

    - Derek (Wandering Earl)

    1. Thank you so much "Wandering Earl"! It will certainly be used this winter, all we have to do is decide where to go. :-)

      The caves were a lot of fun and the grandchildren really enjoyed the excursion.

  3. That Cave looks like a hidden treasure. Very interesting Mushrooms and Fungi. It would definitely be worth checking out.
    Congratulations on your Flight Money as it will never go to waste.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Not as hidden as you might think, apparently in the summer time it is very busy there. Thankfully we got to the caves early enough in the day that there weren't a lot of people there and it was also during the middle of the week but by the time we left it was certainly getting busier. There were so many mushrooms and so many different varieties, like Kevin said it was probably the most we have ever seen on just one hike.

      No, that flight money will not get wasted. We know that after we leave Germany we will be taking a flight somewhere!

  4. Beautiful pics. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on the prize.

    1. Thank you Cindy, we are glad that you enjoyed them. :-)

  5. That is a coral mushroom! It looks like your European trip is meant to be winning the cash!

    1. You are correct it is a coral mushroom, we saw several of them along the trail.

      We think so too! Now we just have to decide where we want to go with that money! :-)

  6. Wow! Wow! And Wow! Great pictures of the kids having fun and the different types of mushrooms! That coral mushroom is a first for me!!! Your mushroom pics put mine to shame. Hahaha! Congratulations on winning the jackpot out of thousands of entries!

    1. Thanks Lynnette! The Grandchildren really enjoyed the caves and they did a great job on the hike too. :-)

  7. That looked like a good hike. Did the snake charmer find any interesting bugs,etc. And after you won the big prize, I would enter the lottery, and keep the mojo going! Oh and Ruth looks a lot like your daughter. Take care, Rawn Stone

    1. It was a great hike! No, unfortunately he didn't find any interesting bugs on this hike but Cameron still found lots of things that were interesting. He loved the caves until it we got to the area where it was super dark.

      Lol, yeah I told Kevin that he should go out and buy a lottery ticket!


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