While out in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, we decided to visit several spots: Big Rock Falls, Rio-On Pools, and Rio Frio Cave. With the cave being the furthest away, we decided to hit it first and stop off at the other two sites on the way back.
Trusting in Google Maps, we started following the route it gave us. The first part required simply staying on the main road.
Then Google Maps told us to turn right onto a path that was supposed to lead us straight to the cave. And perhaps it would have…if the path didn’t just disappear. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First, the ruts started getting noticeably larger, turning the drive into a true 4×4 experience.That should have been our first clue. But there was a distinct trail visible, so we opted to follow it.
Two roads diverged in the woods…and we took the one less traveled by…
At some point, the ruts disappeared only to be replaced with overgrown bushes. That should have been our second clue. While we had our doubts, we persevered, insisting that Google Maps knew where it was taking us.
After being lured onto this rutted, overgrown trail for about a mile, the trail simply ended with straight bushes in front of us. No apologies or explanations. I even got out to look for the possible beginnings of a foot trail but there wasn’t one to be found. For my troubles, I received some wonderful cuts from the razor sharp whatever-it-is-that-grows-there. Well, that was our third and final clue. After meekly following Google Maps, we meekly turned around and started off again.
Fortunately, there was just enough room to avoid the Austin Powers 50-point turn situation, and we 4x4ed our way back. This was Alex’s first time truly off-roading it, and after surviving the deep ruts without any mishaps, I noticed that he took on the milder ruts and potholes of the main road with much more zest. Talk about a confidence-building exercise.
We did manage to find the right path in the end, thanks to a couple local guides. So, while Google Maps is usually our go-to, learn from our mistake, and don’t follow it if you’re trying to find the Rio Frio Cave. Follow the directions in my Rio Frio Cave post instead. You’re welcome. 🙂