Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DAM and Guajataca Tunnels

Saturday's weather was not dry enough to go caving as planned so we came up with some alternatives! Tom had found the Quebrada de Los Cedros Dam on an earlier outing and took us, along with Diana, on a trip out there. This dam is on the Aguadilla/Isabela border near Jobos and is completely overgrown to the point of never being able to find it if you didn't know it was there! Not quite sure when it was built but Tom and another friend (Ron) told us it was built as a hydroelectric dam. Unfortunately, despite warnings by geologists, they built this massive structure on Aimamon limestone which is porous and won't hold water. Needless to say, this huge structure never worked. Tom knew exactly where to go and in a short machete chopping few minutes we were on the top of the dam. You can't tell, but the structure has got to be 50 feet tall? We walked down a steep slope to it's base. Jeff and Tom are going in a little opening. We walked through a lot of these openings and most were pretty full of guano. Mounds and mounds of bat poop! Holy shit!

We then went through it and into the river bed which, if the rock weren't so porous, should probably have water in it. Of course we encountered garbage (cars, stoves, tires, etc). We then found the tunnel that leads to the partly built hydroelectric plant. We didn't go all the way through the tunnel but will return on another day for that. It goes for almost 3 miles and comes out at the bluff overlooking Jobos beach. That is a view I'd love to see. We didn't continue because we were spooking bats and a group of rats and don't know if the end is capped or open. We didn't want to disturb the bats or trap them.

After that it was on to somewhere we have always wanted to go but haven't  because we usually have more exciting things going on. Today was perfect since it was close to home and rain didn't matter. We headed up number 2 and parked on the right just before you get to the giant Puerto Rican flag on the way to Quebradillas. Behind the lottery stand is a nice trail that is clean. It leads to a tunnel that is garbage free and loops back around to the highway. You can see nice stone bridges/walls and flower blossoms were on the ground everywhere (pee tree blossoms).

Then we headed west on 2 to get to the other tunnel. This area was a totally different story...people know where this one is and you don't really have to walk. The parking lot wasn't too bad. Tom told us about how different this spot was 10 years ago - how there were vendors and food stands and it was cleaner and kind of an attraction. That is not what we saw. We saw graffiti, smelled urine, saw trash of course and wished it were how he remembered it. There is a flat trail that goes for a little bit along what could be a beautiful coastline (if people didn't throw trash everywhere). It has great potential to be a beautiful walking, biking, roller blading trail that could connect to the nice Isabela/Jobos trail. There was a small cavern at the end of the tunnel that was the official bathroom and garbage can. Just think what a few trash cans, bathroom stalls and supervision could do for a spot like this. There was even a "no tirando basura" sign stuck on the rock high out of view where most people wouldn't see it. I mentioned this to Tom and he thought it was high so no one would steal it. Maybe a joke or just plain sad. Sometimes those signs really mean "throw it here." Just like the "no parking" signs or a colored curb mean "park here."

The tunnel has spectacular views (if you can overlook the trash) and you won't find more dramatic scenery. I am glad we came out. I'd love to visit on my own to photograph but unfortunately I don't think it is safe. The waves were really high and a lot of the rocks looked like they were floating or were about to levitate. Bi-Polar PR. Immense beauty and ugliness together again. If you want just the nice....go to the first tunnel. It doesn't have the water views but it doesn't have the trash. Neither is physically taxing and both are a decent outing for a rainy day when nothing else is going on!

We had a good meal at the Cheesecake Shoppe "Just Say Cheese," where they have different beers, pizzas (on a nice thin crust) and...cheesecake. On someone else's table I spied an awesome looking salad, so that is what I had. Unexpected! I have trouble just eating a big ball of cheese followed by whipped cheese so I gobbled a real salad with different greens, tomatoes (not just an under ripe slice), nuts, cheese crumbles, cranberries and a nice dressing. I did follow that with half a slice of cheesecake and coffee. They have made menus since the last time we were there! They offer good food and service (and of course being in good company always helps). It was the first time in a lot of outings that I didn't sit out the food part or whine about it. I am sure that pleased my company immensely!

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