Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camping in Pine Ridge

Derric, Shirley, and I were on the road by six thirty heading toward San Ignacio to pick up Amberito and Pedro before heading to the Chiquibul. We made our way through a maze in the jungle and saw many things along the way. Derric pointed out the areas of the pine forest which had been devastated by the bark beetle, which is exactly what New Mexico is dealing with right now, and areas that were destroyed by fire.
We arrived at the FCD ranger station and spent some time making lunch and getting to see the rangers. The kids we brought along were enthralled with the four wheeler, even Shirley’s one year old daughter wanted to play on it. We enjoyed a feast of bar-b-q chicken, cowboy beans, and homemade flour tortillas, which I assisted in making.

After lunch we were on our way traveling up to the highest reaches of the pine ridge. We stopped to see the lake and stretch our legs then back in the truck for some more off roading adventure. The roads are not used very often so it gets to be a pretty bouncy ride. We finally arrived at our campsite on top of the bald hills. There is a wooden deck with bathroom facilities that, according to Shirley, are reminiscent of the “Hills Have Eyes”. I didn’t think it looked sketchy, it just had rustic charm. After unloading all of our gear, we hopped back in the truck and headed for the mountain stream to take a swim.

The water was chilly but extremely refreshing and the mountain air brought a welcome chill. Derric showed us where the large pool was, unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of it. It was so deep that you couldn’t see the bottom. After some hassling, we convinced Derric to jump off the small cliff along side of it into its center. We enjoyed the water and then headed back towards the truck. While following the creek back to the bridge where we had parked, I was blabbing about how I had managed to keep my pants dry. As soon as I said that I slipped on an algae covered rock and fell to my knees! After some cursing under my breath, we all burst into laughter at my clumsiness. What can I say, once a klutz always a klutz.

We made it back to camp and pitched our tents. We enjoyed our fajitas under trillions of stars. We saw several shooting stars and one fast moving satellite. We then hunkered down in our tents as the temperature dropped. It was the first night since I have been in Belize that I actually woke up shivering. The wind howled all around the mountains and rattled our tents so much that we had to tie them down. In the morning Derric and Pedro prepared buckets of food. Breakfast links, beans, tortillas, salad and more. We teased that this weekend was to prepare us for an eating contest.

After we had packed everything we headed to 1000 Foot Falls. It was a spectacular sight to see the water plummeting from a cliff into the vast green canyon below. We then headed home each tired with our own stories and adventures to share. The Chiquibul is an amazing place and so varied in its topography and climate. I think it is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

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