Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
During a family trip back home, we decided to go visit Le Trou du diable, the second largest cave in Québec. It is located in St-Casimir, about one hour from my home town (Trois-Riviėres). The visits are by bookings only, and you can call ahead by visiting the Portneuf tourism website. You need a minimum of 4 people to book. We got lucky because the other couple who was booked with us cancelled at the last minute, granting us with a nice private tour!
There are 2 options for the tours. We chose the touristic version of the tour, which consist of a 1h30 underground tour. From the main office, there is a short 5 minutes walk in the forest until the entrance of the cave. Our guide showed us a few spots on the way where you can hit or jump on the ground and hear (and feel!) the vibrations from the cave underneath. In some spots, the cave is 4-5m well under our feet.
Le Trou du diable is thought to be about 8000 years old and was created by a creek going underground and dissolving the rock over time. It got its name by the peasants back in the days who could hear noises and scary sounds coming from underground in the cave, and who thought the devil (Trou du diable means “hole of the devil”) was living in there. When speleology became a thing, some professionals (and a priest!) came to explore the cave, relieving the inhabitants around about its totally natural and non-demonic aspect!
I have always been a bit afraid myself of crawling underground, but I have to admit I was quite impressed and thrilled by this tour! The main path in the cave is quite large and should feel comfortable for everybody. There is lots of room to walk and stand. If you are afraid of spiders, I suggest avoiding looking at the walls too closely! The water in the cave is anywhere between your ankles and knees, depending on season and areas of the cave. The cave is around 950m long, although we walked only the first 450m deep before it became very small passages.
To spice up the visit a bit our guide gave us 3 different challenges to perform. 2 of them consisted of crawling in some very small, wet holes or passages in the walls of the cave. I am proud to said that despite the discomfort, the 3 of us succeeded!
Our last final challenge was to walk about the 450m we had crossed in complete darkness, headlamps off, with only our hand following the right wall of the cave. I ended up just closing my eyes, as it was easier than trying to see anything in that darkness. We did succeed again and it was a really fun experience!
If you are interested in doing a longer tour, they also offer a 3h adventure tour, where you will explore some of the small passages of the cave. Basically you will crawl and kneel in water for an additional 1h30!