Saturday, May 1, 2010

After 2 Months...Back to Some Caves!

After two months of not being in a cave we were very excited when Tom Miller invited us to join a short expedition he had planned for a few of his students. We met this morning and headed to Cueva Los Barbudos and Cueva Monte Encantado. We picked up some good geology information listening in on his commentary and got to explore a couple caves we hadn't been to. This is the entrance/exit of Cueva Monte Encantado. This is a very large, open room with some other high bat rooms a little deeper in. The cave isn't very large, but has some nice formations and mainly lots of bats.

We saw a lot of life we don't see deep inside other caves...crickets and crabs and even a mammal.

There was one really large bat room with a couple side bat chambers. The smell was of burnt popcorn and the floor was a marshmallowy soft guano type floor.
Even though we were a fairly small group we managed to disturb the bats to the point where they were flying and chirping quite a bit. Tom collected a water sample for testing.

The mammal we saw was a rat - not something you find deep inside caves but since this is a large, open cavern area we saw him foraging for who knows what.

I think this area looked like creepy Halloween eyes...

The first bat area was large and after going through it there were a couple other chambers to the sides.

This is the opening to the first cave we visited - Cueva Monte Encantado. This cave was my kind of thing...low with what I call "coffin passages."

It started out with a scramble down a little hill. There was water kind of appearing and forming a little stream.

Then it got kind of low. This is where you practice lunge walking while crouched over...mainly people just had to get on their stomachs in the water.

Then it was kind of dry but still coffin-like with stomach crawling. I crab walked while hunched over. This is the kind of thing Jeff hates.

This is the stuff that is hard on the knees, wrists, fingers and neck. It takes some muscle effort to crawl around in odd positions.

It takes some body contortions as well!

Then we got to a sump and since Jeff and I left our packs mid way it was the end of the line since we didn't have masks to explore with. In the past there was a really dry year and supposedly the water was so low that cavers were able to crawl through this area and continue on for a bit. Not today though - this was the end!

So all in all it was a short, pleasant, interesting day. Tomorrow it is on to another cave - Cueva Cucaracha...everyone we talk to has been there once...and only once. Hmmmmmm

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