Clarksville Cave, New York

This is a cave in upper state New York that I used to visit often. Clarksville is a fun, muddy, cold, wet cave. There are narrower tunnels in Clarksville than the one shown below, but this photo captures the cave best.

Caving used to be my life. Every weekend I would haul ass to either in upper state New York (when I was in Boston the first time many years ago) or to Sierra Nevada (when I lived in California more recently). I was a weekend warrior. I was OK with being cold, wet, dirty, and uncomfortable, in pursuit of an outdoor experience.

I stopped caving because I now prefer to stay dry and warm.

This post is in response to the weekly photo challenge Narrow

Cave Bacon detail

This is a picture of “cave bacon” from Soldier’s Cave in King’s Canyon National Park. There is a light shining through the thin rock. Note the little drop of water at the bottom of the blade! Cave bacon is formed when a thin stream of water dribbles down the edge and slowly leaves deposits over a very long time. In the end you get thin ribbon-like blade formations of minerals. This happens in limestone caves. See caves and mountain photos for more like this.

I spent many years exploring the caves of King’s Canyon and Sequoia National Park, in California.

This post is for the weekly photo challenge: Details

Yucatan Travel Report – Mexican Cenotes

Iguana sunning himself in Tulum

Tulum Iguana

The first thing to do if you are travelling to Cancun is to rent a car, and drive southwest on route 307. The map below covers our destinations: Playa del Carmen, Akumel and Lagoon Yal-ku, and Tulum south of the next juncture. We also visited Cobá and Punta Laguna to the west.

map of Yucatan peninsula

Cenotes and caves of Mexico. Kantun-Chi, Cenote Aktun Chen, Dos Ojos Cenote, and Gran Cenote.

I highly recommend stopping at ALL the cenotes. We swam at Cenote Kantun-Chi, Cenote Aktun Chen, Dos Ojos Cenote, and Gran Cenote. See the travel photos and pictures of cenotes. Cenotes are caverns with freshwater pools in which you can snorkel or dive. Unlike American caves, they are not very well protected. While this is probably not great for the environment or the cenote, it was convenient for our vacation. Tread lightly!

fishy lake in Cenote Aktun Chen

Cenote Aktun Chen

stalagmites and stalactites in Cenote Aktun Chen

Cenote Aktun Chen

Cenote Kantun-Chi

A Mayan statue inside a beautiful Mexican cenote, Cenote Kantun-Chi

If you drive a half hour or so south from Cancun on route 307 you’ll hit Playa del Carmen, which is very nice, full of open-air restaurants and cute little motels and some quantity of culture. South of that is Akumel, which is nicer still, particularly because of the snorkelling in Yalku Lagoon and the lovely beaches. Tulum is maybe 2 hours south of Cancun, on the map it is just south of Club de Golf Puerto Aventuras. Tulum is extremely excellent, mostly because you can rent a little cabaña on the beach and eat awesome Yucatan-flavored seafood while watching the waves come and go. Cobá has some fantastic ruins, and is more full of jungle (we saw monkeys there).

Mariposa the monkey, at Laguna Puntas park near Cobá, Mexico

Mariposa the monkey, at Laguna Puntas park near Cobá, Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula.

At the end of December it was amazing sunscreen & shorts weather. All the beaches we hit were very swimmable.

Akumel and the beach at night

The beach at Akumel in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, at night

I really liked the area south of Cancun, but I recommend against staying in Cancun itself. It’s a big city of enormous, absurdly priced hotels. We stayed at the Holiday Inn there our final night, probably would’ve gone back to Tulum if we’d been less tired and hungry. We had to wear plastic bracelets so that the security would know we were okay to come and go. An hour later I wanted to gnaw my wrist off. My boyfriend had to cut the bracelet off with a key.
The water didn’t look very swimmable. The whole place was crowded and urban. It was a giant, faceless hotel, with no character. Hugely overpriced.

Akumel, Tulum and Cobá all get an enthusiastic thumbs up.