Thursday, January 6, 2011

Back to Hell - Really?

We got the long awaited cave call - only the news this time was that it would be another trip to Hell! You may remember our first ever cave trip with Tom. Cerdo Infierno...a trip that started with a disgusting smell which led to a pool of water with a gigantic bloated dead maggot infested hog floating in it...the news that we would be diving into the pig water to go under a sump etc etc. That little adventure ended with Jeff on one side of the sump with Tom and 3 of us on the other side instructed not to follow. We all rounded up an hour later and took a side passage that ended with Jeff and another guy getting get the drift. The second trip to Hell was a different section that went a little better (you may remember the frayed hand line). So our excitement was boiling over with the thought of surveying yet another section of Hell. Why not Heaven for a change? When we arrived it was already living up to its expectations. The entrance looks okay until you look at the river that feeds into it.

Oh, refrigerators...great. Tires...trash everywhere of every kind. Metal, plastic, stuffed animals, clothing, styrofoam. Hell has it all! We enter the cave and are surprised at how large the passage is. It is like a large lava tube kind of. Already we smell a smell and start having flashbacks of the giant pig. We find the place where Tom left off surveying. He believed the cave would go only a little ways (maybe 200 meters) beyond his surveying (this was based on previous maps, accounts from people etc). He told us there would be water and there was. The smell was making me gag and my imagination was whirling about what it could be. It didn't smell as huge as a hog, but didn't smell as small as a gecko either. Oh such anticipation. It wasn't long before we found the source of the smell...a Boa, or section of one at least, that was a few feet long and very bloated. Soon after that we encountered the water and I was pretty hesitant to go in. With all the garbage I just didn't want to do it unless there was some payoff. Diana decided to pass on the water part. Jeff went first and said it kept going, so it looked like the original plan of doing 2 caves wasn't going to happen - this cave seemed to offer more than expected. Since it was the only cave of the day I decided to go for a swim and we continued with the surveying for a while.

This cave was truly hell - there was so much garbage it was hard to even be there. It is a mix of disgust, horror, amazement and anger to be a few hours underground and see all this crap. The karst is a water filter and much of the water supply travels through it. Do people know that their water is mingling with all their garbage? How could they NOT know? How the hell do you even get a washing machine through the jungle and into the river in the first place? Here it is - one of many.

There were lots of tires and car parts and hub caps and bottles and clothing. Deep in the cave obscene commercialism of a "Happy Meal" shows up as a little plastic princess.

Amidst all the crap there were some beautiful formations like this dam. Why do people have to ruin everything they touch? After making it past the stinky snake and washers and refrigerators we walked in chin high water to some collapse where the cave supposedly ended. Well it didn't end. There was a little crack for me to explore and when I did I came out at an overhang overlooking an immense tunnel with a river in it. We didn't have rope or vertical gear with us and it was not possible to climb up or down it so we looked for alternate routes. We found a little drop that went into a river and we headed in and after wandering in it for a while got to a place where we could look up and see where we had looked down. Very exciting!

It continued on and branched with water coming in from 2 different directions. There were a couple levels in this cave and that was totally unexpected. The snake stink was gone and the large appliances were broken down at least so excitement took over where anger had been. Diana had left the cave and we didn't want to have her wait forever but it ended up being a Lechuga situation - let's just see around this corner, and the next, and the next and before you know it is has been a couple hours since the surveying stopped. A couple hours of fun exploration.

One of the neatest things we found was this faucet. It was like a giant shower head in the ceiling of the cave with water just gushing out of it! Looking up into the shower head it was a nice formation that looked kind of fancy. The water coming out of it was not a delicate dribble.

There was also a line up of around 8 or so smaller nozzles that were spraying water into this pool as well.
There is much more to explore including a passage we didn't even go in. Tom thinks we can take a long day to survey it but Jeff and I think we went 1/2 mile in and believe with the side shoots it will be more than a day to complete. However long it takes it is very interesting once you get past the evil beginning. So back we went. Here is a full-size blue garage can stuck in a crevice.

Oh, here's another garbage can deep in the cave. Too bad the garbage can wasn't on the outside filled with all the $&%$ garbage now inside the cave. Back past the snake, the washers, the garbage cans, the metal sheets, the stuffed animals (3) and other things people have tossed into the river we left trying to think about the wonderful water spout and the exciting adventures ahead. This includes another trip to hell and back, or maybe two.


Anonymous said...

After your Hell Cave experience, you could easily, without a doubt, win on the TV show Survivor! So sad that the trash will exist there for 100's of years to come. Thanks for the view underground.


Rosa said...

I agree...beautiful and sad. We don't know what we are doing to our Earth.