Juquila 2007

Expeditionpedizione “Juquila 2007”, Mexico JuquilaThe 2007 Juquila expedition took place from 16th to 28th November 2007.
The main goal of this series of explorations was to assess the exploration potential of Cerro Verde and the Mauizapan plateau, and to complete the first total descent of the Canyon, from Tepelmeme to the banana plantation. Motivated by the authorisation obtained last year, we headed for the Rodeo, a rancho along the motorway, some kilometres before Tepelmeme. Here we obtained the official authorisation for the three teams (Cerro Verde, Mauizapan and the Canyon) and we hired some guides to take us at least as far as the Rancho Ica de Ruaria.
The Canyon team was left a few kilometres south of Tepelmeme, near Cerro Ciquiuite, without any precise information. They received rather vague directions on how to reach the waters of Rio Matanzas and from there on how to hike down to the beginning of the Juquila Canyon.
As a matter of fact, Rio Matanzas turned out to be a very difficult canyon, with long lakes, drops, and a couple of impressive bottlenecks (not larger than 2 metres with walls over 100 metres high and 3-400 m long). It took three and a half days to descend the first part of the Canyon. We noticed many caves on the canyon walls and took numerous pictures; however, due to a lack of time, it was impossible to reach them. In the most important bottleneck the team came across two snakes (one of them was undoubtedly a coral snake) blocking the two only ways onJuquila. We reached the confluence of Rio Grande de San Miguel and then to the beginning of Juquila. This is an amazing place where rocks are polished by floods and three very narrow canyons join together forming a perfect Y in the sky. From here, in one day we swam over one km of lakes, one of which was about three hundred metres long.
From this point it took one more day (the 6th) for the Canyon team to reach the area of Puente Colossal. During this day they explored many caves.
Several other caves were explored in the known part of the Canyon and, in particular, the large cave that had been noticed in the previous descent. Unfortunately this cave, like many others, ends up in a collapse after around fifty metres and presents a considerable fossil concretion with a wall of spar crystals, five to six metres high, indicating that in the past when the climate was rather different from today, this was certainly a karst.
While the Canyon team was descending, the other two teams discovered various pits. The most important discoveries seemed to be all around the area of Mauizapan.
Many caves were discovered and explored. Up until the last day we had good chances of finding the right cavity. Unfortunately, the most important cave which is formed by large shafts and contains lots of bats, closes at a depth of 70-80 metres. We explored another very interesting cavity, reaching an active meander at 35 m which carries on in depth, but bottlenecks prevented us from coming backJuquila.
Generally, many pits end up at mud and debris obstructions at around ten to twenty metres or, in some cases, at impracticable spots. At times, there are strong draughts and sometimes we experienced serious problems due to the lack of oxygen. Such difficulties prove that, particularly in the highest areas, the karst is too ancient or too recent to allow deep descents. As regards the majority of the blowing holes, these are located at lower altitudes, on the vertical of natural springs.
The return, as usual, was long and painful. Threatened by storms, some of us had to refuse the goat that Don Bernito cooked for everybody. In the end, though, we all met at the Rodeo, satisfied with the experience we had.
There are still many things to understand, several canyon entrances to reach. From there various phreatic tubes can be found and perhaps it will be impossible to access the system from the bottom. This area turned out to be more imposing and complex than we expected, the Canyon was 25 km long instead of 15. We still need to go down the Rio Grande de San Miguel, which is sure to provide us with some amazing adventures. As regards the fauna, various species can be found in this area. Not only did we come across two snakes, we also had a close encounter with a puma and with several other animals (small bears, scorpions, scolopendra, etc.). Torna al progetto

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