The History of Cody Caves
In the early 1890's The slopes above Ainsworth Hot Springs (and most other West Kootenay towns) were frequented by hopeful prospectors looking for silver. Henry Cody, the cave's discoverer and namesake, came originally from Prince Edward Island. He worked as a miner and followed the mineral rushes through the southwest United States, up through Idaho and into the West Kootenay area of BC. Later he followed others to the Cariboo in search of gold, but returned to Kaslo to retire. His headstone is in the Kaslo cemetery.
In 1899, the caves were the subject of a short story written for Argosy Magazine by Roger Pocock, called the 'Noble Five'. Pocock's story described a cave whose walls were lined with gold. After this, the popularity of the caves grew among visitors to the area. In 1908, the caves were visited by then Governor General, Earl Grey.
The stone walls of Cody Caves are not covered in gold, but like other limestone cave systems they display an impressive array of ancient calcite formations, growing at the slow rate of about one cubic centimeter each century. 600 million years ago, the first oceans of our planet laid down layers of sediment that eventually turned to limestone. About 170 million years ago, the limestone sea bed was thrust upward to its current elevation and location near Ainsworth Hot Springs. Flowing water has since dissolved the solid rock, created the tunnels and passages within the cave and decorated those walkways and crawlways with calcite. The cave we see today is the result of millions of years of erosion, solution and deposition.
Cody Caves, like other limestone caves, continues to evolve, grow and change. Some areas have collapsed in ages past as erosion has undermined the integrity of solid rock. Glaciers have choked the cave with silt from their grinding down of mountain ranges, and streams have rinsed it clear again. The entrance way we use was created by a collapsing ceiling as retreating glacial ice broke the rock apart. Thousands of years from now, visitors will enter the cave where the stream bubbles and springs from the small hole in the rock on the path to the cave mouth.