From the reports we read, we expected the eight mile off-road drive through orange orchards and jungle and across at least six creeks to be a challenge, so Tom made sure we were prepared with a come-along, tow chains and straps, bridge boards, and shovels. As it turned out, we didn't need any of those things, and only put the truck into 4WD twice, and one of those times was because we stopped in the middle of a very steep hill to look at a bird and our little Isuzu needed 4WD-Low just for the power to get started up the steep hill. The track was mostly well-maintained orchard roads, and the stream crossings were all very shallow and well paved with stationary river rocks. However - and this is a big "however" if you are intending to make the trek - we did it at the end of the dry season on a sunny day, and the roads were very dry and the creek was very low. In the rainy season when the water is high the creek crossings could be a little nerve wracking, and we noticed some spots on the track that looked like they could very easily become impassable mud bogs. Some of the hills out of the creek crossings were also pretty steep, and looked like they could become very slick if wet, which would make climbing them almost impossible without 4WD and good tires. And, there were a few spots where deep ruts ran down the track, which we were able to straddle, but which would be very easy to slide into if the track was muddy. The eight miles took us about a half hour, although we stopped slightly short of the ranger station because of a mud bog and ditch that didn't seem worth attempting since the ranger station and trail head were only a five-minute walk. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised with the good condition of the track.
We were less pleasantly surprised with the walking access to the Falls, and that became our adventure for the day. We had read and heard that from the ranger station it was about a half hour walk on a trail. Even the men at the little store by the turnoff on the Hummingbird Highway said it was just a half hour walk from the ranger station. We found the trail head and started walking, and within about 200 yards the trail ended at the creek. We back tracked and looked for the trail, and still couldn't find it, and decided we would just follow the creek to the base of the Falls. The creek, at least this time of the year, is mostly very shallow, and very beautiful as it flows over small waterfalls created by all the big rocks in the creek bed. Hiking up the creek bed should not have been a big deal...if we hadn't been toting a 30 pound blind dog!
We had decided in advance that this would be a good outing for the dogs. Kismet and Jalis love to hike, and we have been walking Reddy on the road with them for four miles every day, and she trots along and does great. So, we didn't think walking her on a trail to the waterfall would be any big deal, and it wasn't, until we got to the creek. There, the poor thing had no idea how to climb over the rocks, and she was very scared of falling in the water. We started out letting her walk and very slowly guiding her, but soon realized that it would have probably taken us days to make our way up the mile or so of creek at her pace. Tom and I started taking turns carrying her, but it was exhausting, and very difficult to climb and walk on slippery rocks with 30 pounds of dog wriggling in your arms. We tried emptying one of our packs and making a dog carrier for Tom to carry on his back, but every time he bent over to climb on something, she tried to climb out of the pack. In the end, we just took our time and let her walk where we could, carried her where we had to, and took a lot of rests. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the base of the falls, but we made it and it was well worth the effort.
We made it out as easily as we drove in, and stopped at the little store to let them know we had returned safely. A young man who sometimes guides people to the Falls was in the store, and he said that there is a trail, but it is hard to find, and most people end up doing what we did and going up the creek. If we do the trip again, we won't take Reddy, and we may hire a guide to show us how to get to the trail.
We drove home along the beautiful Hummingbird Highway and got a wonderful view of the day's gorgeous sunset. We pulled into Belmopan around 6:30pm, and Tatiana treated us to a delicious dinner and Belikins at Corkers. We were all pooped, but it was a fantastic day out finding another one of Belize's natural wonders.