Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Long Beach Jungle Hike - December 15, 2007

On December 15th, three of us set off to Long Beach to walk either the beaches or the jungle. I have done all of the beaches at Long Beach before, but it was a long time ago. There were 13 beaches the last time I did it. As we looked at the water, there was a consensus to hike in the jungle. I really did want to do the beaches, maybe another time.

So I drove back to where the petroglyphs cave is located. There is a ridge line located next to the cave that has a lot of interesting rocks and limestone forest. So after cutting a walking stick for Judy, we were off into the jungle.
We saw several depressions, where it looked like the top of caves had collapsed in. Finally we came to a depression with what looked like the remains of a cave formation on one side. In the picture below you can see Judy walking over the collapsed ceiling of the cave toward the cave formation.

The cave formation open up to a large cave. In the picture below, you can see Judy walking into the entrance of the cave. The entrance formed a shelf above the cave, with a very large room below the shelf.

In the picture below is Ariuka taking a picture of the room below the shelf we are standing on. the room below must have been 20 or more feet below us and looked way to difficult to get down to without a rope.

Below is a picture of me looking down into the cave. In the bottom of the cave was a lot of wood and some bottles. Most likely there have been there since World War II. It also looked like the cave went down to another level. There really was no way to tell how deep this cave goes without climbing down into it. Maybe another day.

Here, in the picture below, are Ariuka and me taking a picture of paipai (Guamia mariannae) berries. Paipai is only found in the Mariana Islands. Most likely its scientific name was derived from being found in the Mariana Islands - Guamia, Guam - mariannae, Marianas. This a understory tree found in limestone forest. It is slow growing tree that has very hard wood.

Here is a picture of the paipai berries.

As we walked in the jungle, we would cross from limestone forest to secondary forest consisting of tangantangan (Leucaena leucocephala) trees. As we entered the secondary forest we were on the look out for boonie bees, since they are more common here. These bees are the most dangerous thing you will meet in the forest. I have just read that they were most likely introduced to the Mariana Islands during the Japanese period. They seem to be a common paper wasp (Polistes olivaceus click this link will open a pdf file) from Asia.

As we walked in the secondary forest, we found a few of the nests on vines growing through the trees, as in the picture below. As the dry season progress, the bees start to move more into the limestone forest area and build nests.

In the picture below, if you look carefully, you can see rocks that stick up out of the ground into the jungle. It is fairly common on Tinian to see rocks sticking up out of the ground. This is caused by differential erosion. One piece of limestone may resist erosion a little bit more than the surround limestone. This harder limestone protects the rock below it, and the surrounding limestone is worn away, thus forming a pinnacle. Pinnacles, sinkholes, and caverns are common in Karst landscapes (which is found in large areas of eroded limestone like on Tinian).

As we walked through the jungle, I decided it was to time to find a way out. Looking at my GPS, I noticed that there was a road to the east of us (I had plotted the road from an earlier hike to Masalok). So we were off to find the road. Finally, we came out of the jungle into a clearing by the road. Below are Judy and Ariuka leaving the jungle finally!

Below is a picture of the road, with Ariuka taking a picture of Judy taking a picture of her, that leads back to Long Beach and my truck.

As we walked back to the truck, Judy was a little disappointed that we didn't see any artifacts or historical sites. Ariuka suggested that I show Judy the petroglyphs in the cave next to the truck. We had visited this cave on the hike to Masalok last week. In the picture below you can see my flashlight pointing at some stick figures made by the ancient Chamorros more then 400 years ago.

As we sat in the cave, looking at the petroglyphs, the battery compartment of Ariuka's camera open, dropping the batteries into the loose rocks. The great battery hunt was on! In the below you can see Ariuka and me looking for the batteries.

Judy was taking pictures of the us as we looked for the batteries. She happened to notice a flash of light near my foot. If you look carefully, two rock below my foot, you will see one of the batteries from Ariuka's camera.
Only two of the four rechargeable batteries were found in our hunt. After the hunt, we left the cave and head back to the truck to go home.

As for the boonie bee count, it was only one, me of course. After all of the stings I have had, I am still not used to it. If you want to hear some loud and strong words, just be around me when I get stung.

The next hike will be to the Mount Lasu area. We will hike to a beautiful saddle in the ridge, just south of the Shinto shine on Mount Lasu. From there, we will go through a tunnel that goes through the ridge and explore the cliff line. When I was up there two weeks ago, I found a lot of Japanese defensive shelters from World War II. We will be meeting on Saturday, December 22, at 8 AM at Grace Christian School.

As always, everyone is welcome to join in on these hikes.

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