Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Mountain Pine Ridge Tour
On Sunday, Tom and I decided to act like tourists and go see some of the Mountain Pine Ridge sights. We really wanted to see 1000 Foot Falls because people frequently ask us if it’s worth the drive, and until Sunday, we had to admit that we didn’t know because we’d never been there. We can now say that it is worth the drive, as long as the weather is nice and the driving conditions are good. It’s about 45 minutes from here on narrow dirt roads, which are very muddy in the rain, and very dusty when it’s dry. It’s been very dry, so we arrived at the Falls with Tinkerbell, Tom, and me all coated with red dust. Unfortunately, you can’t get too close to the Falls so we couldn’t rinse off, but the view of the Falls is spectacular, and the viewing site is at the top of a mountain, so the view from all sides is pretty impressive.
The falls are actually closer to 1600 feet than 1000 feet, and are supposedly the highest waterfalls in Central America. We had to laugh when we got there because Pedro, the caretaker, came out to meet us, and, assuming we were tourists, asked us where we lived. His son-in-law was sitting on the porch carving a piece of slate, and before we could even answer the question, he looked up and said “Chac Mool,” which was the name of our property before we bought it. Neither Tom nor I recognized the son-in-law, but after talking for a bit we discovered that he lives in San Antonio, so he recognized either us or our truck. Everyone thinks that Tom looks like Chuck Norris, and I’m taller and blonder than most women around here, so when people see Chuck Norris and the tall blonde, they know we’re the gringos who bought Chac Mool. And Tinkerbell is pretty unforgettable too!
When we left 1000 Foot Falls, we decided to stop at the Hidden Valley Resort, where Rosa and Ofelia from next door work. The managers had invited us to stop and see the facility, and Rosa and Ofelia have both asked us to come see where they worked, so since we were driving right by, we stopped. Elmer, the desk manager, gave us a tour through part of their very beautiful property, and then turned us over to Ofelia, who showed us the rooms. Elmer stopped us on the way out to talk horses, since he is training for an endurance ride. He sometimes gives Rosa and Ofelia rides to or from work, so he’s seen our horses in the pasture, and told us that we should start training. We’ll add that to our list of things to do! Actually, the endurance rides are one of the few horse sports that are competitive here, and since we have a couple of Arab cross mares and lots of trails for training, we may actually think about it. I mentioned Esmerelda to Elmer, and he said she would probably do, but told us that he really likes Glinda.
When we left Hidden Valley, we realized we were almost to the turnoff for Big Rock, so we decided to go take a dip and wash off the red dust. Despite the fact that it was almost four o’clock on a Sunday afternoon, we met a few people we know walking up the path from the falls, and they all asked if we’d ridden the horses to the Falls. We told them we’d driven, and that they’d see the very dirty Tinkerbell in the parking area. When we got down to the Falls, it was only us and an American gentleman from New Jersey and his guide. We hung out, swam, sat on the rocks, and talked to them for an hour or so, long enough to wash off the dust and cool down. By the time we got out of the water the sun was sinking behind the mountains, but it felt so good to lounge on the warm rocks that I remarked that I must have been a lizard in a previous life – which explains why we’re here in Belize, since cold blooded lizards do not like the north!