Rock Watching: Adventures Above and Below Ontario


192 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55046-449-3
DDC 557.13'2




Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.


The first feature of this guide that most readers will need to consult
is the two-page glossary. Beginners to the hobby of finding and crawling
into the earth’s hidden tunnels and caves will need its help in
navigating the text without tripping over terms such as diagenesis,
syncline, lithification, clastic, karst, karren, and vug. Of course
readers such as cavers, rock climbers, and scuba divers who are familiar
with such terms will instantly know they have found a soulmate in Gordon
and a work packed with information, tips, and cautions about exploring
cliffs, caves, crevices, tunnels, sinkholes, kettles, soil pipes, sinks,
dolines, joints, and other rock features.

The guide focuses on southern Ontario, with sketch maps indicating the
location of choice sites and the features of individual locations.

A substantial introduction covers the formation of rock features during
the time glaciers moved over the province. This geological history is
semi-technical and will be a slow read for those new to geology. It is
followed by accounts of features found at 15 specific sites. These
descriptions have a more approachable style, thanks to more-personalized
content. It is in the site notes that Gordon is most successful in
exploring the link between rock, land, and human. While the emphasis in
on rock and land formations, with existing features related to ice-age
activity, a passing nod is also given to architecture, vegetation, and
wildlife in the area, broadening the interest potential of the area and
the versatility of the guide.

The book is rich with quality colour photos, both of geological
formations and of “rock watchers” slithering through tunnels,
entering caves, and doing other activities definitely not for the


Gordon, Michael., “Rock Watching: Adventures Above and Below Ontario,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,