Cumaca Cave Hike with Courtenay Rooks
A real adventure for active folks as it has devilbirds, a very deep cave and lots more.
As the drives are long its an early start with a meet at Superpharm Maraval at 6:30am. Depart and drive east past Valencia where we turn left into the northern range.
Located in the eastern area of the Northern Range, Cumaca is a small, sparse village, located an hour from the Eastern Main Road on a very rough road. The rugged beauty of the rainforested hills and valleys around you smoothen out all bumps along the way. The trail begins at what seems to be an abandoned road and has become only suitable for traffic of the two, four, six or eight-footed kind. If done at a reasonable pace the trail will take about two hours to reach the cave, however, with birding, nature viewing and other interesting stuff happening around you, it may take a bit longer to reach the cave. The last stretch of trail is usually very muddy so be ready.
The cave itself is made by a river that flows its length and the water gouged several small and massive caverns reaching deep into the mountainside. We put on head lamps and grab flash lights, wade into the river entering the first cavern where the loud clicks, screams and squawks of about four hundred “Devilbirds” or Oilbirds greet you. Spend some time here viewing these marvels of nature. Exploring further into the cave we will see massive chambers with stalactites, stalagmites, bats flying around you, and blind fish swimming about. One passage between caverns is very low and you have scrunch down with half your body in the river; a magnificent adventure.
The return is the way you came, and of course there is still lots to see on the return.
This is a moderate hike that will take about 2 hours each way and we will spend up to two hours in the cave, so we will be gone for about 7 hours with a lunch stop. Bring enough food and drink for not less than that duration.
The road to Cumaca is not in good condition, so SUVs, Pick-Ups, Station Wagons, and 4X4s are recommended, sports cars are a no go.
Parts of this trail are usually over grown, so light long pants are recommended. This will be helpful in the cave also.
Rubber kitchen gloves are recommended to be worn in the caves to keep bird and bat poop off hands.
Each person must have a working flash light or head lamp with fresh batteries in it.
Bring hand sanitizers for use after the cave so lunch can be handled safely.
Hiking boots or trail shoes are recommended as the trail can get quite muddy and slippery. Slippers are not appropriate. Sneakers with good grip will work. I hike with keens or merryls or similar water shoes to use in the cave so hiking shoes remain dry.
The river gets to about 2 and a half feet deep.
If it rains everything will get wet so bring phones / cameras in dry bags and/or triple zip loc bags
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