Paddling into the darkness of time.
Sun broke through the towering cliffs that fed vine filtered light to the running water 40 odd metres below.
Vegetation gripped tight, seemingly impossibly, to steep river sides that made perfect anchors for our guiding ropes that stretched out to the Rio la Venta.
Checking my harness and helmet after tightening the straps on my backpack it was time to descend between the towering mix of jagged karst sections with calcified rock growth and time crafted erosion. Moss thrived in the moist jungle air, meaning each vertical footstep would need to be carefully considered.
Rope raced through my guiding hand as the right hand danced an ass whipping motion. It would have been slightly erotic if it wasn't for the sweat soaked clothes still worn from the day before and a severe lack of funky bass slapping music in the El Ocote jungle.
Rhythmically, the waterfall that ran parallel to our plumb line to the next ledge of safety below helped concentration levels but unfortunately the short repel was over before it started. Instantly releasing the rope and adjusting my harness and figure 8 buckle to secure myself to the next rope, I continued to fuel my new found love for rappel towards the next platform below. This time the rope traced the calcified section of thick bulging stalactites formed over thousands and thousands of years.
Some decisions are tough and when given the option to jump the 14 metres to the river below or do one final rappel I was truly stuck. After much consideration, the jump would won out and took the leap of faith the the warm water of Rio la Venta.
Bags bobbed up and down in the river until we strapped them to our tractor tyres and paddled them down rapid after rapid with cliffs and dense jungle providing countless things to look at on our way towards the UNESCO heratige site of Arco del Tiempo.
Darkness swallowed the river as it entered the tightening cliffs and engulfing jungle vegetation draping from it's jagged roof. Once inside, there were times of complete darkness and the river guided us through to the main section of it's vast cavern.
Mexican natural features never do anything half assed, so I am not sure I was so overwhelmed by the ceiling height of Arco del Tiempo (Arch of Time). At a guess, I would say between 250 and 300 m high, it is time we let photos do the talking because we are not going to be able to do this place justice with words. Check it out!