SEPRI invited us on a trip to look for Cathedral Cave. According to some documents I had found, the cave was very close to the road in a heavily forested ravine. It also has four entrances, two of which are enormous. Finding it sounded easy enough.
As soon as we parked, Carlos disappeared into the forest while singing to himself.
We followed a slight trail of crushed plants left by Carlos. It soon tracked right (NW) into the ravine, and then down a steep slope of roots. Carlos was at the bottom, still singing. He disappeared into the forest again.
Minutes later, Carlos yelled, excitedly. I bushwhacked over, across the steep slope, and found Carlos at one of the windows to the cave. He had found an entrance, less than 30 minutes after leaving the car.
With the cave map stuck in my mind, I knew the main horizontal entrance couldn’t be far. I traversed laterally across the slope for maybe 150 feet, and the massive entrance suddenly came into view. We had re-found Cathedral Cave.
While it seemed so easy and obvious, Carlos had already been here, many years ago, and his memory certainly helped. Finding it without him would have been significantly more difficult.
Suhei, Carlos and myself went to the entrance. We yelled, and heard an OK from Julio and Rosanna. We waited, and waited, at the entrance. Carlos told us cave stories, and we talked about cave ecosystems, and bats, and petroglyphs, and waited. When Julio and Rosanna arrived, we went in the cave.
At no part is it completely dark, but having a headlight is necessary. We followed the main passage for a few minutes, went over a boulder pile, went just a few more minutes, and climbed a steep slope up to the light of the large vertical entrance.
Here, the scenery was stunning, with travertine walls and vines and moss and dripping water from the rims, over a hundred feet above us. Carlos was very knowledgeable about past studies of the cave, including positive histoplasmosis findings in small rooms in the cave walls. We sat in awe.
On the way out, we cut the trail, but the jungle will soon reclaim the location of Cathedral Cave.