Being only 150 feet south of Smoky, it was surprising that it took nearly half an hour to get from Smoky to Steam. The brush was thick, and we took great care to avoid any contact with the numerous poisonous plants. Fallen logs, uneven boulder piles, and numerous spiderwebs slowed progress.
Reaching the entrance of Steam Cave is an unforgettable moment in any caver’s life. Extremely large, decorated with hundreds of stalactites, vines and moss, and with humid air bellowing out, one could say it
looks like the mouth of hell.
Descending the mud field into the entrance took about 10 minutes. Once inside, there were some very large boulder fields requiring negotiation. We followed a series of graffiti arrows which steered us to the left side of the cave, which required some squeezing, stemming, up climbing and down climbing. This eventually deposited us in the main hallway, with an entrance possibly 200 feet high. This was a distant skylight on the ceiling.
At one point we crossed a small stream, which we followed until it disappeared into the wall on the right. Here, the main passage did not appear to end, but a large breakdown pile blocked easy passage. I found a route up and over this pile, but it seemed a little dicey. We took some photos before turning around.
Some research I had done showed other entrances and descriptions of Smoky. I am guessing that there are other entrances past the breakdown pile, that can be accessed via points in the forest south of the entrance that we used.
Exiting Steam Cavewas as incredible as any part inside the cave. It is simply not an entrance comparable to others on the island, as far as I know. We bushwhacked back to the car, still double-layered against the carrasco, and drove home.
Having forgotten about Thanksgiving, we soon realized all the food stores were closed, and when we returned home, we only had a box of dry Lucky Charms to eat but were thankful to be seeing so many awesome caves in Puerto Rico.