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Published: September 17th 2011
After our forth and final day of clinics we took a slightly different way back to Coban from the community. Along this route is the community of Rey Marcos. In 1998 after Hurricane Mitch swept through the region, a discovery was made in Rey Marcos. When we arrived we were given a pair of rubber boots and a hard hat with a headlamp. We walked up a few switchbacks along a small river of waterfalls cascading down the hill. Then the path seemed to just stop at the edge of one of the waterfalls. What we soon learned is that this was just the beginning of our adventure. Our guide took out a key, walked into the water, and unlocked the small door of medal bars that was set into the stone.
One by one we followed after him. Hunched down to avoid the stone above we entered in to the caves of Rey Marcos. Water was rushing past our legs as we waded up the flow of the river and through the tight corners of the cave. We climbed up the damp rock, squeezing between the walls, just trying to follow the feet of the person in front of
you. We made it out of the first small passageway and entered into a larger section of the cave with stalactites hanging overhead. We started to hear the roar of a rushing river and soon it was all but deafening. Standing alongside the river the guide motioned for us to grab a rope that was bolted into the rock on the edge of the river. We grabbed a hold and waded along the bank of the river with the water filling our boots and now reaching up past our knees.
We clung onto the rope and followed it along the twists and turns of the river until we arrived at a group of rocks where the rope that was guiding us left the wall and went directly across the rushing river. One by one we made the crossing. Our guide went first making it look like a very easy skip across the river with the water never going above his knees. I was next. All I could think was, what did Bear Grills say in that Man vs. Wild episode about crossing a rushing river? Plant your foot. That is all I could think of. Just go for it
and make sure that you plant your foot so that the current doesn’t get you. So I went for it. I stepped off the rocks and planted my foot, directly into three feet of water that came up to my hips. There were obviously some stepping-stones within the river that my foot didn’t find. Another three steps wading through the waist deep water and I had made it to the other side.
After a quick climb up some more rocks away from the river and we entered the area of the caves known as the cathedral. The walls opened up into a large space with rock formations all around. There in the cathedral we gathered in a circle and all tuned off all of our headlamps. We stood in complete darkness. You could feel the power of the river echoing off of the walls and just imagine how this cave had been formed so many years ago.
All around there were stalactites, stalagmites, and rock formations of all sorts of shapes and sizes. After marveling over the various formations we started back out of the cave. I am happy to say that my return across the river was
less eventful. I decided to search out the stepping-stones hidden along the bottom of the river before planting my foot. We slithered back out the small passageway scrapping a few knees along the way. Overall it was an amazing adventure and the perfect end to a wonderful week.
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