Jack Trout from the United States visited us and attempted one of our cave adventure tours with a group of friends at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch. He wrote a blog featuring the awesome adventure and one of our tour guides, Abel. Here is a photo of Jack and Abel.
"In Belize, Central America, there is a place where the Mayans once prayed to their gods in a cave with river running through it. Back on April 24th, 2007 I took the Gebhart family to place I knew deep in mountains of Belize, where mystic rules and tales of legend lurk deep behind the orange orchards that grow in the fields that lay in front of one of man's most coveted secrets. To experience it one must float by intertube and once back far in the cave the Monkey Goddess of Fertility would be there to greet us. So we picked our tubes up and headed out to see it first-hand! Once in the river we could see the cave entrance and a rock that extended down in the doorway that resembled a snakes head!!"
"Once inside the cave the inside grew tall and it was like being transformed to another world as the lights got darker and darker. The group was having fun paddling through the shallow river that ran out of the cave. Cindy thought the water was the perfect temp. Travis floated over a very deep section of river and everyone laughed as they floated deep within the cave's walls. As we entered a very sacred area of the cave, I could feel and see the energy that was running through us all! It was like the Ancient Mayans were trying to communicate through Cindy's headlamp! Wow, what a trip it reminded me of the Winterland Concerts!!!
"After that epic adventure we landed on shore to view some of the cave life critters. We saw bats….. Very close up! This cool crayfish- like, out of Jurassic park!! That ruled out skinny dipping for me!! … Then we ran into this awesome huge cave spider, this guy looked as old as the walls! I reached out and held him in my hand knowing these crusty critters are harmless."
"Our head guide Abel has been my friend and guide for almost ten years, led us like he has led so many other tours in his native surroundings. He has guided the Discovery Channel several times and was getting ready to explore another series of ceremonial caves with Discovery in a later date that he had discovered on his own one year ago on his birthday. Abel is an amazing interpeter and ambassador for his ancestry explaining to us the history and use of the cave by the Maya for religious and sacrificial purposes."
"The ceremonial crystal drum. Ceremonies were performed here before the sacrifices were taken up 60 feet to another level in the cave. Here's us taking the 60 foot climb about 1 mile back in the cave at least! The Gebharts were really loving this trip and everyone was inthralled by the Mayan Lore. After a nice climb we got up to the flat part and everything leveled out and we were 60 feet up looking down on the river. Everytime I'm up here it always amazes me that something so mystic, so out of a book, so out of my wildest dreams, could be so real right here in front of my face. I can tell you this folks, this is where they get the ideas for Indiana Jones films. Everywhere you looked, you could see broken pottery, chards of broken artifacts or a carving. You could feel Maya amongst us and we were happy folk, no threat just interested in the stories Abel had to tell us."
"Abel explained to the Gebharts that the Maya were very superstitious and felt that the seasons were only delivered by the amount of sacrifices that were presented to the gods. The world was thought to be square, and the inter-world was where the gods lived inside the cave... So the Mayans would go out into the forest previous to the ceremony and pick silicidal mushrooms and other hallucinogenic herbs from the jungle that were so potient that they couldn't be taken orally. The sacrificial lambs were then given the herbs to better enable them to talk to their gods, as an enhancer the Maya used fires in the caves and that would cast reflections on the cave walls. Godly shadows would appear and would play with their drug filled minds just before being pushed off the 60 foot ledge only to venture off into the after-world with a big fat smile on their face!"
"These pictures I'm taking do not show how dark it really was in the cave. When the lamps were shut off you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Through another chamber we were led then into one of the most coveted chambers… Off in the distance up in the highest reaches of the cave you could see little statuettes of what was believed by the Mayans as monkey gods. That was amazingly beautiful, what a chamber to be witnessed. Back down the 60 foot cliff, we went on another tube ride deeper into the cave to see another Mayan pearl!"
"In another area deeper in the cave we could see what seemed to be shelves as flat as a table. These caves were formed milions of years previous by the higher ocean levels receding in and out against the limestone that would eventually give way to a series of tunnels that were left that became an aquaduct for the springs that flowed off the Mayan Mountains which in turned formed a river from the inside flowing out. Were actually going against the current, the river flowed out of the cave."
"Back on our tubes the current took us for a nice ride, we shut off our head lamps and it was hard to tell if we were moving, you couldn't see a thing… We then floated out of the cave and the rest was burned into the basement of time as history shined on us that day and we all felt good about what we had learned in the inter-world. Abel drove us in mini school bus, it was classic! Everyone was so happy and the vibe was great. What a fun filled day, little did we know it wasn't nearly over. Back at the ranch, we saw a King Snake in some tropical leaves and Abel caught it so I could share it with you. These snakes look very much like the deadly Coral Snake, I always suggest to use guides in Central America, snakes are found throughout the region."
Ian Anderson's Caves Branch can be quite exciting for any adventurer! Please be sure to check if Caves Branch is right for you. You can also visit Jack Trout's blog to see more fabulous pictures and funny descriptions and other personal thoughts and jokes about some of the things that he saw on his tour. It was definitely an adventure worth talking about. Thank you for such a wonderful story, Jack – Hope to see you again soon!