Into Guatemala

November 22, 2013 Posted by Deb

The high school and college counselors don’t tell you to drop everything and run off to the middle of Guatemala for a year or so. Apparently hundreds or even thousands of 20 somethings and younger figured that out on their own.

We buttoned up the boat, packed, and grabbed a 2:30 p.m. shuttle for Semuc Champey for the famous Guatemalan disappearing river, caves, pools, and general gorgeous jungle stuff. The main route was closed so we beat the van and ourselves through what they call roads for six or seven hours until we ran out of gas about 3 km short of our hostel.

We got there, checked in, upgraded our room, grabbed an appetizer and beer and noticed the next oldest person for several miles in any direction was 28 and he was a veteran traveler on his last run before getting married.

View from Zephyr Lodge after our long, long trip to Lanquin

View from Zephyr Lodge after Our Long Bumpy Trip to Lanquin

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Toilet Bowl

The cave started out moderately and escalated. The toilet bowl was the highlight for us followed closely by a climb up a ladder in the middle of an underground waterfall. The toilet bowl was an act of faith. A bunch of water disappeared down a hole and we were supposed to allow it to suck us straight down. The guide, in Spanish, said to give him our right hand across our chest as we slid in butt first but that we were to rotate 180 as we got sucked through. It worked and we fell into another chamber below. Most got a bit bloody at some point on the trip and we did have one broken tooth in our group, a girl from England.

We’ve been in lots of non-U.S. caves and knew what to wear (really good water shoes) and how to protect ourselves.

Entrance to the Cave

Entrance to the Cave

"No Way, Chuck"

“No Way, Chuck”

We Go Down There? You First@!

We Go Down There? You First@!

Into the Mist

Into the Mist

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ViewBridgeSemucChampey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

Straight Down to the Pools at Semuc Champey

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Pandora

Pandora

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ChuckJumpSemuc

A New Record

The river resurfaced below the pools and the jump was about 50 feet. Of course, it wasn’t just a jump because you had to swim quickly across to an eddy before being taken over the rapids below. Three in our group jumped. … Lopez, the guy who did the back flip off the bridge, is a snowboarder. Instead of using the launching area the locals used, he took a run at the cliff, did a flying backflip, and completed it perfectly 50 feet later. The guides said that was a first.

LopezJumpSemuc

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