Tag Archives: Rio On

Day 10: Flow (5/25/2016)

Our morning was spent at Rio-On, a cluster of pools, creeks, and waterfalls within the Coastal Pine forests. The water trickled, funneled, or whirlpooled – navigating around, over, or under well-established rocks. Rio-On was beautiful, like an interactive postcard.

The water at Rio-On

My class and I left Rio-On for Las Cuevas Research Station. En route, our van’s passenger side window rolled all the way down and would no longer roll up. To avoid insects flying in, our driver secured the window closed by jamming a stick in between the window and where it attaches to the car. The window stayed close, and we were off.

Later, I was disheartened to hear that the cave we were going to explore later this week was closed for archeological research. Exploring that cave, which is only open to educational groups and researchers, was one of the major attractants that compelled me to sign up for this trip.

Obstacles and changes of plan are inevitable. Even with a an issue with the van and some bad news, my class and I made it to Las Cuevas and were soon hiking the Maya Trail, which meanders through high-rising trees and unrecognizably overgrown Mayan religious sites. Was this experienced diminished by unexpected incidents and news earlier today?

Absolutely not.

The Chiquibul Forest was breathtaking, like a fantasy land; it didn’t even seem real. My ears were entertained my bird chirping and singing, and eyes by the endless emerald-green only found in a lush tropical forest.

We encountered numerous give and take palms (Chrysophila argentea), easily recognizable by the sharp obsidian-colored spikes adorning their trunks, commonly interspersed between taller trees. There was also a kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra), which had a thick trunk and stretched vertically through and beyond the rainforest canopy. Some palm leaves were four feet in diameter… simply unreal.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice but to flow onward. Like the Rio-On, life can trickle, funnel, or whirlpool, and it is our attitudes that determine whether we navigate around, over, or under any obstacles we face.

I do not know what tomorrow holds, but even with my seemingly rigid expectations, I will readjust and immerse myself in the experiences before me. I have to go with the flow; it’s my only option.


Officially transitioned from reef to rainforest

DAY 10 – We finally made it to Las Cuevas Research Station! It’s nice and calm here, not too hot today (it’s been raining in the area).

This morning we left Crystal Palace around 8:40 am and drove to a swimming area, the Rio On pools. It was a beautiful site, which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. We explored multiple pools, connected by waterfalls, slipping and scooching on rocks covered in algae. The water was so refreshing, and we dried quickly in the sun. We were supposed to only spend 30 minutes at the swimming pools, but we ended up enjoying ourselves for an hour.

While we were standing around drying off and postponing our departure, Isaac shared his Sour Sop fruit, which he bought at the outdoor market in San Ignacio yesterday. It was a hit. I thought it tasted like mango Hi-Chew candy.

We resumed our drive which took us through multiple distinct regions, which contained unique flora. The Caribbean pine was populous until we entered the Lowland area, which is where Las Cuevas is located, and the vegetation changed.

We entertained ourselves with cards in the van until we eventually emerged into a large clearing in the rainforest: Las Cuevas. We wasted no time and went on a short hike on the nearby Maya Trail.

We made it to Las Cuevas! Damien is excited!
The view of Las Cuevas from our rooms

We saw a huge Ceiba tree with a couple vultures perched up high and teardrop shaped nests hanging from the branches. We saw a huge leaf cutter ant colony, which Scott fearlessly kicked to agitate some soldier ants. We saw the Xaté palm, which is a popular palm in the floral market (in the US, UK, Australia, Japan, and more) and is often illegally extracted by Guatemalans to be sold. We saw the Sapodilla, or Chicle, tree which was recognizable by giant slashes where knives had cut the trunk to collect the sap.

We ran into a large mound of earth, which we learned was the remains of a Mayan temple. There were two large temples across what was formerly a plaza. Nearby, there were the remains of a ball court. I love how much we get to see and explore related to the Maya civilization.

Climbing up the overgrown Mayan temple

I didn’t see any bees today, unfortunately. Tomorrow, while we hike through the rainforest, I hope to see some bees. I especially want to see an orchid bee (Euglossini tribe).

I’m waking up tomorrow morning for 5 am bird-watching, so the sooner I sleep the better! Goodnight!