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A River Runs Through It

July 24, 2013
Trouble the Whale poses with Adrienne when the bus was stuck.

Trouble the Whale poses with Adrienne when the bus was stuck.

Our first full day began early at 5:45am.  No one was late!  Our walk, led by Nathan Forbes, our Belizean guide and naturalist, included many birds and plants.  We discovered that the Duplooys started a botanical garden that we also toured.  After an amazingly colorful breakfast, including pink kiwi, deep orange papaya, cantaloupe, eggs, bacon, Creole fryjack, and a tasty bread, everyone was ready for a day of adventure.

On our way to Domingo Ruiz, we encountered a bumpy road, typical of Belizean roads.  After several twists, turns, and slides, the bus got stuck after making a hard right turn heading towards the cave.  After disembarking, through the endeavors of everyone gathering rocks, sticks to dig, or pushing the bus, we succeeded in freeing it and were on our way!!!

Walking from the bus into the forest, Nathan, discovered several Baird’s tapir tracks that we cast in plaster.  We also found a pair of walking sticks.

The group gathers in the back of the cave before sitting with all of their flashlights off in order to experience total darkness.

The group gathers in the back of the cave before sitting with all of their flashlights off in order to experience total darkness.

As we walked through the Belizean forest, going deeper into the dense bush, we came upon the cave entrance.  Needless to say, it didn’t disappoint.  The group walked deep into the cave.  The takeaway we would like to share is when the group sat in complete silence and darkness.  After a brief time, we sang “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

When we left the cave, thunder greeted us as we reached the mouth. Sure enough we walked back to the bus in a total downpour.

When we left the cave, thunder greeted us as we reached the mouth. Sure enough we walked back to the bus in a total downpour.

Upon leaving the cave, we encountered a typical Belizean jungle downpour.  We arrived back at the bus drenched but happy! We loaded back on the bus and headed for another adventure (lunch) at Rio Frio Cave.  We had a slight delay as we had to push the bus again!!!  The extreme driving skills of B. A. Bruce succeeded in getting us on our way.

At the cave, we were astounded by the sheer grandeur of the opening.  It was a tremendous room with a river running through it!

The excitement continued as we headed to Rio On Falls and Pools.

We took our traditional "group in the Rio On Waterfall" shot and enjoyed a few minutes in the cool mountain stream water.

We took our traditional “group in the Rio On Waterfall” shot and enjoyed a few minutes in the cool mountain stream water.

After changing into our swimming gear, we enjoyed the cool refreshing water.  Many of us enjoyed the waterfall shower and trek down the rock slide!!!

After an enjoyable time, we headed back to the lodge for a wrap-up discussion and enjoyable dinner.  The day culminated with a night hike and discoveries that included 2 Blunt-Headed Vine Snakes, and  a scorpion (that glowed green under a black light), a katydid, and another species of walking stick.  Jason led us in a discovery activity including a bright light and a sheet that attracted dozens of insects, including the sphinx moth, scarab beetles, cicadas, and spittle bugs.

Our first full day in Belize was full of joy and surprises!!!

We can only imagine what the next seven days will bring!

On a side note, we wanted to report that Tuesday night we were visited by two curious kinkajous.

 

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Russ Evans permalink
    July 25, 2013 3:32 am

    James ,I cant stop singing row row your boat,the tattoos are awesome.

    ________________________________

  2. Cindy Wise permalink
    July 25, 2013 8:47 am

    Adrienne! I’m so glad you are able to participate in this Institute – I know you are having a blast and learning so much – playing in a waterfall, night hikes, snakes and scorpions! I’ll be interested in learning about the bright light/sheet activity!

  3. Kaytee Smith permalink
    July 25, 2013 12:36 pm

    It looks like you are having quite the adventure, and it’s only a couple days in. Keep “Bracing Yourself” for such a fun trek!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 25, 2013 11:29 pm

      Thanks – We did have to “Brace ourselves” during the drive back from the cave – and now that phrase has become part of our group lingo!

  4. Jeskewich permalink
    July 25, 2013 4:57 pm

    What a good looking crew, immersed in a fantastic setting! Those of us not in attendance are living vicariously through your expedition:)

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 25, 2013 11:28 pm

      Thanks! We are having a fabulous time and learning more than we ever imagined!

  5. Felicia Byrum permalink
    July 25, 2013 8:25 pm

    Adrienne, looks like you’re having a fantastic trip! Can’t wait to hear more about it! Enjoy!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 25, 2013 11:27 pm

      Adrienne is enjoying the trip and had a great day on the Macal River!

  6. Nona Baker permalink
    July 26, 2013 9:58 am

    I can’t wait for Mr. Everett to share all his adventures with both staff and students! I want him to teach us the “Wasp Dance”

  7. Cheri Pederson permalink
    July 27, 2013 11:33 am

    Ok. I figured out how to navigate the site. LOVE the pictures… especially the group at Rio on Waterfall. It looks beautiful and sounds like y’all are having an awesome time. Not sure about the scorpion though. Did you get pictures of the kinkajous?

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 29, 2013 5:22 pm

      We have pictures of the kinkajous, but had to take them without flash in order not to hurt their eyes. We will see if we have one good enough to post

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