I was wandering through the jungle the other day, hung over, without water and without underwear when Joel’s host brother and guide asked us what we would do if we were lost. It was played off as a joke at first but none of the five of us gringos thought it was too funny. We were looking for an Indian cave that had drawings from 600 years ago, it sounded like an amazing opportunity and the night before Joel’s brother said it could only be found on foot and was 15 km deep in the jungle, not to mention, only a few Americans have been there. We had to leave at 5:30 in the morning, and I had not been convinced to join the expedition until Friday night at 11:30, after a couple presidentes and a 100 peso bet that I wouldn’t be able to handle it (which she never paid up on).
We had been walking for 6 and a half hours when it became clear that he didn’t know where we were. At first I was pretty pissed off because we had been walking for so long and still hadn’t seen any 600 year old Indian drawings, also the breakfast we had of sardines and crackers was not cutting it. . . but after climbing, crawling and stumbling for 2 more hours we were all getting a little more nervous. Everyone was very realistic about things; we weren’t really in any danger. Amy and Taylor are the adventure couple from Arizona who taught wilderness survival classes and led tours in the Grand Canyon, Joel used to clear trails in Yellow Stone for a living, I was an Eagle Scout and Michel (Mee-how) has a degree in environmental danger adventure or something to that effect. The only real issue came with how exhausted Joel and I were getting, and the more tired you get the more prone to injury you become and this jungle was starting to feel like some kind of lame Indiana Jones adventure (where one wrong step didn’t mean certain death, it just meant you fell over and felt like a jack ass… and hurt a bunch). Rocks were falling out from under us, a tree broke and fell on Michel and Joel kept having the ground give way out from under him . . . it was getting pretty old fast. What ended up happening was we just kept going south west (I finally got to use my compass!) and eventually ended up in the back side of some random farm, once we found the farm we followed its fence back to the road and hitched a ride back to our town in the back of an empty produce truck. Once we got to the truck there was quite a bit of laughing and making fun of me for being hung over and pissed the whole time. We ended up getting back at 3:45 as a huge rainstorm came in, there was a little talk of us having to stay the night out there and the rain storm made us that much happier to be back!
So how did we end up lost and why am I not still pissed at Joel’s host brother/Guide? It turns out that this mountain range is on or at least very close to the San Andreas Fault (Yeah, that’s right, the same one in California) and there was a 6.2 earthquake 2 years ago that closed the cave up. He took us to where the cave used to be and it was now a hole that looked like it went into the abyss, there was no way we were climbing into it and we didn’t even consider it to be the cave at that point. So we kept going further and further looking for the cave that wasn’t there. We didn’t find out that it was closed up until after we got back and Amy and Taylor’s Doña told them. Oopsies. The bright side of the whole thing was that we got to try all sorts of random fruits that were growing all over the place. I can’t remember the names of any of them, except that at one point towards the end I had an orange that was delicious, and I had a lime that was sweet (maybe a key-lime, but I don’t know.) Also, there was definitely some swinging from vines, Tarzan style.