Monday, June 17, 2013

Cueva Larga Again

On Saturday we took a California caver (Ryan Baker) and his daughter to Cueva Larga. Julie and Richard also joined us for this trip. It started with a meet-up at Panaderia Lourdes at 9am and proceeded on the twisty roads to the parking place which was well marked by bags of garbage. You just can't escape it. The walk through the jungle was about a mile and 1/4 and the heat and humidity made it seem much longer for everyone. Once we arrived, the mouth of the cave was cooler and we sat and had a snack and water before heading into the cave. This cave is very very muddy and is pretty much a straight shot that is flat without many side shoots. There is a little bit of climbing to get into the cave and there are a few places to crawl if you want or climb if you want but really it is flat and muddy with a lot of nice formations. This first photo shows some odd dimpling in the rock I thought was interesting. Jeff is standing near some mushroom-top formations (my made-up name) and unfortunately it is really impossible to show the scale of anything in this cave! These columns, the flow stone and draperies are absolutely humongous!

There are a good number of really nice, clean flow stone areas and lots of glittery areas. This cave is a bit of a walk so not many cavers have had a chance to do much damage. Jeff and I have only caved in Puerto Rico, and I am sure need some additional training before we enter caves anywhere else - we try to be careful and try hard not to walk or touch clean, still-growing formations but I am sure cavers from other areas are much more careful than we are (do you have any advice for us Ryan?? We welcome it). I always enjoy the clean, white flow stone that to me looks like a river.
There is an entire floor of this "popcorn" looking formation and we unfortunately had to walk on this area to continue. We tried to stay to the side. Up close you can see they are still growing drip by drip. There are a lot of very large column pieces that are on the ground that I think look like missiles.

You continue across this popcorn area and down the long muddy tunnel amazed at all the very large formations covering the walls and ceiling. There are a couple collapse areas and one in particular has an amazing room that is unexpectedly jammed with helictite chandeliers, white draperies and an amazing, 5 plus foot perfectly white stalagmite growing in an area surrounded by clean, mostly undamaged flow stone.

There are a couple spots in this area that look like they could continue but we don't want to damage the area trying to find that out. It is much more important to stay OUT of some areas. It is so easy to be overzealous and want to bulldoze into new territory!
I think this collapse area is the definite "highlight" of this cave or at least a nice "end." It is interesting how muddy it is and yet how many really pristine formations are in this cave. This is my third time in this cave and I still see new things! I think everyone had a good time...and then My Friend Taco as the grand finale! (that's a joke)  Another great day in a cave! Thanks to every one who came!

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