|Bright eyed and bushy tailed, intrepid explorers all!|
After a not-so-great night's sleep in a new place, we were nevertheless up early and ready to go out and see some sights! I had an itinerary for the whole trip, which began with today's search for a pirate cave!
Today, we would venture out into the Guaniquilla nature preserve, managed by our Amigos at Para La Naturaleza! While I would have preferred, and searched to find in advance with no luck, a guided tour of the reserve, we set out on our own with emailed permission from the property management group, to enter at our own risk.
I searched for many days to find definitive information about the trail, hoping for a map. But with only some vague instructions, and our Google map image, we parked the car and entered the property. The stretch from the very small parking area to the Ruins of Hacienda la Romana was very wide and well-travelled. A nice shade dappled walk took us gradually up, with lots of stunning views of the Mona Channel to our right.
We easily reached the ruins, and I began to think that all of my searching and worry had been for nothing. So far, the trail was super easy with no choices to be made other than the obvious. Maybe my theory that the less information you can find about a thing, the less information you will NEED about the thing! I haven't been able to find much about the ruins here, other than that it was once a place where sugar cane was grown. The trail leading to the Dog's Teeth, and the elusive Cueva de Pirata Cofresi led off to the left of the ruins.
Let me say here, that not only would it be advisable to go with a guide for the safety factor, the wealth of information imparted by a caring guide is invaluable. We will do this again when Para La Naturaleza is resumes offering tours (post Covid). I was able to find this very nice review of one of their tours. Please read through it to find little tidbits that I will not repeat here. Also, I/we entered the cave without appropriate safety gear. This area is prone to strong earthquakes, which continue almost daily. Rocks could have fallen on my head at the least, and a cave-in could have occurred at worst. I do not advise you do this without proper gear and a guide. We were lucky, you may not be!!
|Laguna Quaniquilla and the Dog's Teeth|
|We soon learned that wherever there was a choice, there was a map!|
|You are HERE!|
|Karst formations called Dog's Teeth|
|Looking down into the jagged ridges of the Dog's Teeth|
|Continuing on, the trail became more muddy and a bit more of a challenge.|
|There are two openings. One on the far left, and one just right of center.|
|No way down there!|
|Further on into the ground, you can see a glimmer of light from the other opening... and lots of darkness!|
|This is looking further into the chamber I'm in, which is pretty much stacked boulders.|
|This is back over my right shoulder where there's another opening.|
|This is looking up where you can see sky through the crevice.|
|Looking back the way I had come. My Swabbies would not come down!|
|I got in, and I got OUT! And lived to tell about it!|
|See that sign? It wasn't the only one...|
|Bruce takes the lead!|
|Photos/video clips with us both in them are taken by Sue! Thanks Sue!|
|This is the place we did NOT go!|
|Hmmm one extra choice we did not take!|
|The Dog's Teeth look like a sleeping dragon stretched across the lagoon.|
With all of our objectives for the day now having been met, we took a quick vote on how to proceed. Should we backtrack the way we had come, or should we press on and hike all the way around the lagoon. I have to admit that I'm surprised at the unanimous vote for taking the long way home!
We trekked along through the changing landscape, leaving the rocky hills behind, and entering the salt flats where we wound our way on sandy ground with mangroves and sea grapes shading our path.
|Beautiful blue Caribbean waters cooled the breeze that made our path an easy one|
|A canopy of sea grapes|
|We found LOTS of termite mounds!!|
|Ever want to see a termite mound up close?|
|This unusual tree is discussed in the article linked above.|
I have searched and can not find the name of this tree. We found it growing all along the beachy part of the walk today, and it has thin layers of bark sloughing off. The article linked above mentions it and states that some people used to survive on boiling the bark to make a "chicken soup". I would love to know more if anyone can find it... please send me a link!
The rest of our walk was relatively uneventful, but we still found plenty of things that interested us. If only for the small private little stretches of beautiful beach, this route was a score!
|Caribbean on our left...|
|Guaniquilla Lagoon on our right side!|
|And lots of wild-growing cotton!|
|On the road back to the car, the sun has come up, lighting up the Caribbean!|
Elis's Mini Market has a pizza kitchen tucked way back in amongst the everything-else she offers.
|OMG that pizza was delicious!|