Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cuevas Matos y Evaporada

On Saturday we went with a few people to visit a couple caves we hadn't been to before. Jose Feliciano was the organizer and Anthony Castro, Tom Miller, and a few other folks came along. The first stop was Cueva Matos which is near Ventana on Highway 10. We did the quick walk in the jungle and came across the cave entrance which was really big compared to the caves we have been doing lately. There were a few petroglyphs and pictograms in the left portion of the cave. Going to the right went to the bat area which was an expansive, tall and wide and open cave full of bats. Here's Brett near a large pile of bat guano.

This portion of the cave had a lot of bats. We saw 3 cats inside the cave. They were pretty far in and skittered (freaked out) when our lights hit them. That was a first. There was a small hole no one could fit in so they called me over to investigate. Down I went only to find out it was a dead end at the bottom of a deep pit (almost like a well). After doing this circular part of the cave I went back to the other part to try to go down into this other room. Jeff had gone down but I am not as tall so I worried about how to get back up. I decided on a different route down and after looking around picked a different route up through a small hole. Brett decided to try my hole and he made it! Here he is coming up...First the head came up and then the body part way. Next came the hard part - doing a swivel and then getting the legs out.

He's out! What you can't see is the 6 foot drop to the left of the photo. After that cave some folks who didn't bring lunch (shame) had to eat something so it was off for fried food. Then there was a change of plans because the intended next cave (Melendez) was no longer an option - the water authority closed it for some reason. We ended up going to a huge cave called Cueva Agua Evaporada. When you came up to the huge, cavernous entrance there was mist just billowing out. It was really cool looking. This photo is from the inside, at the bottom of the slope looking out. There is a little human barely showing in the light.

The lights are people making their way down the long slope.

There was a lot of scrambling over collapse and then there was supposedly a shaft you could climb to get to the outside. Before that though there was a lot of slippery climbing over collapse and under big rocks. Multiple routes to take. This route required some real stretching. The holes were small - just big enough for a man to go through. Here a caver offers a leg to help another caver get up.

There were several of us going up to the outside in a line so you could see body parts through little openings in the rock and it was pretty funny! Feet here, half a body there, a head over there...Then it was back down the hole, a wander around some more, then up a really muddy slope and into the light. Tom spots a little tunnel that I am then sent into and I emerge on the upper part of the sinkhole where I can look down 20 feet or so at the others. This route was taken by Tom and Jeff over land to get back to the cars. I'd rather go in the cave than in the jungle so I went back down with Bro and Anthony. Went went back down the mud and out the same way we came in. We stopped to look into the entrance of Cueva Humo but it was getting dark so we headed back.

We went up and down and down again into the cow fields. A couple cows had some issues with the group and started bucking and stomping but we made it out. We visited a couple really large caves and had a great day!


rosa said...

Katrina - love your pictures, but just looking at them, make me feel like I can't breathe...it is so close...I am claustophobic even in NY...so many people in such close spaces!! yikes. God Bless for the ones who can and that it is being enjoyed...

Anonymous said...

I can second Rosa's comment. I realized I wasn't breathing as I read about your Labor Day cave "Toe Crawl!" I am feeling freaked-out-claustrophobic right now. But thank you so much for the pictures, and the descriptions. As you can tell, I'd never get to see in person what you/your camera is allowing me to see!!