A large pool of water lay before us.
“Where is the way out?” I asked.
“In front of us.”
It was another waterfall and rock face combination.
As we got closer, I realized how tall it was, and how slick. Could I climb fifteen feet up through these obstacles?
The handholds in the cave had been replaced by larger expanses of smooth, wet rock. On the left the rock wall inverted, offering vines and tree limbs as the only handholds. The middle went through a small waterfall – not an option. The right offered limited climbing options requiring large steps with scarce handholds.
One wrong move and you would fall backwards, hitting the rocks below before falling into the water.
Since no options were proving to be fitting, I suggested a safer and less exciting route out.
“Why not bushwhack?”
As we swam back to the pool shore, we plotted our route. We had to go around the back of the waterfall and back towards where we had started, but to do so, we had to to start on the right and cut a large circle.
Nat walked on with his dry bag, which held his car keys and headlamp. Three inches of water had submerged the contents.
As we started our hike, I enjoyed my additional up-close-and-personal view of the rainforest.
I’d never seen anything like it.
Dr. Suess-like plants grew in all directions, looping towards the sky. Moss in a rainbow of lime, sage, and Kelly green trickled with banana yellow sprouted at the base of trees like shag carpeting. Tree limbs wound in all directions, draping vines to the ground. Green foliage poured out of rich bark like waxy, cascading ribbons. Looking up, a canopy sheltered us from direct sunlight and gave the appearance of looking through a sunlit green snowflake. Ferns, shrubs, saplings and moss multiplied exponentially into the distance before my eyes.
I was in heaven.
The downside to a dense jungle environment: navigating a straight line is impossible.
Going straight may need to be accomplished by first going right, curving left, then righting your path when surroundings allow.
Led by Nat, I followed. I am not known for my navigational strengths, and he seemed confident, so I trusted him.
The next hour passed with us bushwhacking through grass as tall as our shoulders, climbing over large trees, ducking under low-lying branches, and snacking on strawberry guava while we skirted the stream.
We had changed direction so many times, I had no idea where we had started.
After heading up the ridge and descending down, we found ourselves at a 40-foot drop off to a shallow, rocky pool. Dead end.
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