Sunday, January 30, 2011

January 29th... The day I almost died

Yesterday I went on my first real adventure here in Belize. And an adventure it was! The morning started at 5am leaving from San Ignacio and traveling through the Mountain Pine Ridge which is a huge area covered in pine trees. Our final destination was a cave system that is one of the largest in Central America.

Next we arrived at the forestry department base in the Chiquibul Forest. There we met up with the forestry department officers a.k.a. our entourage and switched vehicles. They had to accompany us because the cave is close to the border of Guatemala and has a lot of illegal logging etc.Also, the cave system and the area is closed to the public! This is not exactly an easily accessible tourist spot

At this point it was around 8am. We loaded up into two vehicles and set off down a "road." Then we got to another "road" which really wasn't a road at all. I rode in the back of the land rover and fought off trees and spiders most of the trip but it was really fun. In front of us was a guard on an ATV who had a chainsaw. Everyone had machetes : )   We had to cut fallen trees as we went.

Then we got to the trail which was about a mile all uphill it felt like. We attempted to take a short cut and ended up on the side of the cave so we had to basically hang by trees to get to the entrance. Once inside the cave we walked another hour climbing and slipping. This cave was pretty huge and it was once a Mayan sacrifice spot. We saw some bones and apparently they've found lots of mayan pottery, a prehistoric bear, and deer here.
Fresh Jaguar Prints

Our trip back was just as exciting as we were trying to beat the dark and along the way one of the vehicles ran a log over puncturing the radiator and the other got a flat tire. We did eventually make it home however around 11pm. 

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