Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This Weekend's Cave - Cueva YuYu

This Sunday we visited a different section of a cave we had been to before. We had done some surveying in the other part which was dark, cold, full of chin-high water, a sump, a close rappel...This was the "dry" section - ha! (Actually most of it was dry.) We needed to go to the point in the cave where we could meet-up with the part that was surveyed (we would need to rappel down) and then survey our way back in the main passage. If time allowed we could then explore and survey the other passages. Here's a shot looking at the entrance from inside. Today's group was Tom and Diana Miller, Frank, Jose, Jeff and myself (Katrina).

One of the first things of interest to me was this section of the floor that looked like bubbles. It is flowstone and flowstone makes up some of the neatest formation in caves (so far anyway). For a "dry" cave there is some knee high water at this point. I think these little shelf-like structures are like rock fungus poking out of the stone.

We wander for a while and then we get to a pool that is probably 5 feet or more deep. While everyone is trying to figure out footing to move around on the edges without falling in I look around for another route and find a small tunnel. I zig zag through it in about 3 minutes and pop out in a more desirable spot. The guys think it is a little small and carry on with their climbing activity. Diana gives it a go and then decides to try my route which works out better for her. The guys make it across and no one falls in. The water is kind of deep in spots and if it isn't deep the ceiling is getting lower and we have to submerge. YuYu is a cold cave and I hate to get wet right off when I know we will be there for hours. I didn't wear a wetsuit since this was the dry section. We continue on following the river and crawling/climbing up and over and around formations and crevices and cracks. Sometimes I held the wall with my fingers to avoid walking chin high in water.

The water was a nice blue/green in the deep pools and you could tell quite a bit of water has been moving through the cave recently. At times the cave truly is mostly dry. This is the waterfall/pool around I tunneled around. I came out on the left part of the photo at the base of the pool. YuYu has creepy, dark, eerie looking formations. I don't know what it is about this cave that makes it kind of creepy but it is kind of creepy. The other section is really surreal. So into the water we went following the river some more.

In a lot of places it opened up and was stand-up-able. The passages look really neat full of water until you start looking at sticks and things embedded way high in areas you can't climb to. There were a lot of neat formations like this white "table" that just met the water's edge. The whole place is just drippy, dark, and candle-wax looking.

Following a river underground is just a strange thing to do anyway, but when you are doing it you end up going through small cracks and areas that at first don't appear to have openings. Then there are the times you follow the water and it ends at a wall (sump) that you don't know if it goes or not. The mystery of what is beyond the area you can't see leads to a hunt for passages around or above the area....you just have to know where it goes! The water doesn't just end - it goes somewhere. This cave is very drippy with water running, dripping, spraying from who knows where.

Caving is wonderful because it is an imaginative place to be. Your mind can wander...you see shapes and figures that aren't real...you can't make-up what you are seeing! You keep pushing yourself to see more...I really enjoy following tiny crawl spaces that appear to end or go nowhere. Most of the time they do end, but they have little rooms or neat formations along the way. In a rare instance they keep going and I end up somewhere totally unexpected. Back at the main tunnel, which is big enough to drive a small car through maybe, there were a lot of very large slabs in a collapse/breakdown area. Breakdown provides many opportunities to crawl around and explore. It is kind of a rush to be underneath huge stones that are resting on one another and making spaces human-size or smaller!

One little tunnel had this neat waterfall with lots of rushing water in it. I am on my stomach in the water to photograph this - it is just a boulder with water rushing over it, but the water came from 2 different directions. This formation looks like eyes and a nose to me - could it be Halloween already?

This was a nice cave to explore. I think I traveled a majority of the tunnels. We couldn't fit down a spot to connect with the other survey area but did survey a nice amount of cave. I probably could have gotten down but it was questionable whether I could get back up - it was a flat space and you have to bend your knees to ascend on the rope. I think we could drop a rope there and try from the other end to go up first. Now it is kind of a challenge that may require trying to break off some rock to enlarge the opening. That'd be a first for us!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's pretty awesome and the pics are really fun to look at.

I like the white "table" pic.