Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cueva Sorbetos (straws)

Our final cave trip in this little 4 day flurry was a trip to Cueva Sorbetos, home of a million calcite soda straws. I don't know if there are really a million or not but it seems like it so I made that up! After 3 days of tough caving (although it seems a lot easier in the cool weather) Sorbetos was a nice end since it is a short walk, a little swim, and a beautifully and uniquely decorated cave. Since this was our 5th trip here (Jeff and mine) and it was nice to be able to go slow and look around a lot. When you first visit a cave there is a tendency to blast through it because you want to see it all (therefor you don't) and you don't know how long the cave is and the time it will take you to get to the end and then get out. The walk is along a nice and mainly flat trail near the Aqueducto station on the Tanama River. You could really tell how dry this year is. The river was low and the usual sticks and debris that cover the walkway were absent.

Once inside there is the initial scramble down some rocks and slippery mud. Immediately there is an entire wall of incredible sorbetos (straws) and helictites (anti-gravity looking formations). We had found a spider-web looking mass of helictites on a previous trip that we wanted to show our companions. This trip included Rob, Brett, Monica (who had never been here and had wanted to come for 8 or so years), Jeff and I. It was really muddy and slippery.
Here we are oohing and ahhing under the sorbetos. We found the little patch of amazing helictites too.
Jeff was looking at an extremely nice drapery. Then it was off through the magic storybook tunnel of straws. This area was very slippery and we had to really watch our packs and helmets. On the other side there are many things including this huge column with tiny Rob standing next to it. He looks like a toy even though he is over 6 feet tall!

Brett went down a steep slope into the river to go in the passage I had previously gone into. The running water goes up to a rock with a small hole in it. From there you can get into that hole (if you can fit) and look in to (or go into it if you can fit - that would be me) a dead end pit. The water slops over the rock and into the dead end hole if any one enters the passage. Not a great discovery. He got to the rock and stopped. We then headed up the collapse to the TV viewing room (as I call it) where large draperies and shields and straws abound all suspended and making much better viewing than any TV I've ever watched.
Jeff is near a big column at the base of the collapse. These kind of interesting "poo ball" formations (no idea what the real name is) have intrigued me since I first saw them. Rob is looking at all the amazing calcite and flowstone and straws and draperies etc. Leaving the collapse we followed the wall looking up at amazing helictites and straws the entire time before heading out through the tunnel and back up the boulders into reality.

We did a quick swim across the river and proceeded to rinse off all the mud and get mud out of our boots for the walk back. It started to rain slightly and was raining when we got to the cars to change and head out for something to eat. Food is ALWAYS dissapointing so I won't get into it. Not even shitty food could ruin such a nice day!

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