Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today's Guajcataca Adventure

Diving has been really nice up until this week's rains. Currents finally pushed the mud out of the Mayaguez area and up toward Aguada. Jeff's dive Thursday night sucked even though Tuesday night's dive was very clear (but we had loads of current). We have seen a manatee up at Shacks, had 100 plus visibility and were able to dive outside the holes at Shacks. Today the surf was supposed to be up to 8 feet and we could see the mud from recent rains murking up the water. Tom called and proposed a hiking adventure along the Guajcataca River. We hadn't been there yet and decided to join in the adventure. He and Diana had gone a certain distance and wanted to continue to explore. I hate "hiking" when it is on old road beds or roads but I do enjoy wandering in the jungle. We parked in a neighborhood near Lake Guajataca in a place where people often tube in the canals. We got permission from the owners and headed off down the canyon into the river. It was very beautiful.

The water was clear and it was lush with vegetation. We followed what I call the Name trail (pronounced gnawme with double dots over the N). We saw the vianda all over and the trail was old and not well traveled. We crossed over the river several times.

Jeff and I tried to forge a path rather than cross the river and double back, and had a heck of a time and ended up in the water anyway! We had to try though, since taking uncharted pathways sometimes leads to new discoveries. (this one led to a ball of baby spiders in my hair and a bunch of bites under my shirt)

We have not seen a white one of these lovelies before.

There were a lot of waterfalls and pools. The rocks were pretty slippery so we had to be kind of careful.

We came across this rock with vines cascading over it - looked like a monkey cage to me. It would have been really fun growing up as a kid around here.

I had Jeff make a "mean" face - he doesn't do that well.

There were all kinds of neat plants and even some animals.

We heard a lot of birds but never saw them. We came across this large snake trying to heat up by sitting in a sunbeam.

We pressed on for a couple hours getting past where Tom and Diana had gone before.

There were mating snails...

and a strange noise that sounded like a generator to me. We walked toward the ruckus and then Tom heard it too. Then we saw a dam and the powerhouse of the Quebradillas water supply. We found a nice lunch log, had our lunch and then made a critical decision. We had one car at one location. This meant that we needed to go back the same way we came. Tom wanted a beer and also wanted to see where the road was so it could be an exit point in the future...a place to put a second car so the trip could continue further into uncharted territory or at least be a one-way trip. As soon as everybody else decided we were going up...our fate was cast. Up we headed, and up and up. There were power lines and Tom had a GPS so we knew there was civilization ahead but like many Tom adventures there was no way to know exactly where we would come out. Up and up and up on a road (not my favorite thing). There were no cars since it was the road to the powerhouse...but this road went on and on and on. Then we ran across a little hole.

Well, any hole you encounter demands exploring so out came the lights and in we went!

This was not a large cave and didn't go anywhere other than two small rooms but the formations had never been touched and there weren't footprints so we are pretty sure this is not somewhere many if any people had gone.

We looked around to make sure there weren't other passages and unfortunately there weren't any. The formations were pretty neat and unexpected since this little cave sits on the roadside.

The little white blip in the lower left is the entry/exit hole as seen from the inside.

So after the cave the real adventure began. Like I said, everyone else decided we should head up toward the road. It ended up being a long walk out and we ended up near 111 and 119. There weren't many cars and the ones that came by moved fast. We talked to one guy at a house and a few at a bar to try to get a ride to the car. We called our friend David but he wasn't able to get us. So we wandered around on the road with me campaigning to go back the way we came (before dark and rainstorms) and the others thinking we could get a ride with someone being that we are white novelty items with an attractive Puerto Rican gal in the middle of Jibaro country with about 10 bucks. We were sent to a little store that appeared closed and then bit the bullet and started to head back. That is when the guys at the bar told us we hadn't gone to the right little store. They also said there was a Publico taxi driver they knew that didn't work on Saturday or Sunday but they would go try to get him. Next thing we knew the miracle vehicle appeared on the road...just like in the movies! It was a car from another time...a big white boat of a car that drove smoothy and the driver was well dressed and had on a nice aftershave lotion. He had a kind face, professional attitude (that didn't match the area) and the car was very very clean (I felt bad getting in since I was kind of dirty). It was kind of like a scene from Cuba maybe or of a movie where the Gringos are taken into the woods and shot by a well dressed man that they didn't suspect would do that. He brought us for what seemed like miles and miles (about 20 minutes) to the car and before I could get the camera out took off back down the road with a wave. Our knight in the big-white-car saved the day (or at least hours of walking) and it was still daytime! Living in Puerto Rico is just like living in a movie. Most of the time I feel like the movie is Mad Max, but other times....

1 comment:

Cassie said...

You guys make me smile. That's a cute mean face. lol. The jungle is so cool out there. It is like Alice in Wonderland all the strange and cool things you can see! I miss Puerto Rico. I think you're right that being a kid in PR would be awesome!