Day 2: THAT is Mahogany!

Today we walked 6.11 miles (according to my Fitbit). I have been told that we will walk more.

We went to a location on the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve called Rio on Pool, which means “river on pools.” I took many pictures of the pools and waterfalls (see pictures above). While doing some research on the trees of Belize prior to this course, I was pretty surprised to discover that a Tropical region had pine trees, let alone entire pine forest mountains. Unfortunately, a lot of the mountain’s pine trees had been destroyed by an infestation of the southern pine bark beetle, as well as frequent fires.

Fire damage in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest 🙁

After Rio on Pool, we drove to an ancient Mayan ruin site called Caracol (which means conch shell in Spanish). We learned a lot about Mayan history, and saw some of the king’s and elite’s housing structures. We then climbed an enormous pyramid, and we could see Guatemala from the top of the pyramid. It was amazing when we were able to talk to people who were still on the ground- they could hear us and we could hear them, even though we were pretty high up.

Taken from about 1/2 way up the pyramid
Me (and Elena)
The Chicle tree (Manilkara zapota), used to make chewing gum. The slashes on the trunk are evidence that chicle has been extracted.
A freshavocado! A avocado tree (Persea americana)

We then drove to Las Cuevas Research Station, which we will be staying at for a few days. It was built in 1994 by the British Army and is used exclusively for research and not open to the public. It is an amazing opportunity to be able to stay here and learn all about the Chiquibul forest and all (read: some) of its inhabitants.

While driving out of Rio on Pool, we saw a logger’s trunk full of mahogany. Yay!

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