About an hour into our three hour hot, humid, jungle hike in St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, Sam was telling me a story about how when he was a kid he dreamed about exploring the jungle. Who doesn’t want to be Indiana Jones when they are young? Movies like Swiss Family Robinson make the jungle seem so adventurous and exciting. Monkeys in the trees, waterfalls, tropical flowers, it was a happy place.
In reality spending time in the jungle when it is over 100 degrees out is not very fun. Not very fun at all. As soon as you get into the dense part of the jungle, there is not much light and it gets really hot because there is almost zero breeze and the humidity is punishing.
And then there are the jungle critters. I saw a giant orange and black tarantula the size on my fist, and the day before we saw a four foot Fer-de-lance (one of the most dangerous poisonous snakes in Central America) dead in the road next to where we were camping. Sam and I would take turns “breaking the trail” as we called it, which meant the person in front went through all the spider webs.
And then there are the bugs. When we would stop to take a drink we would literally get swarmed with mosquitos and a small black biting fly, so we had to hike at a very fast pace to keep the bugs away. The ground in the jungle is rather slippery with decaying leaves and there are roots everywhere, so you have to be very careful hiking. I was getting super overheated and was turning bright pink. As we were climbing up one very steep hill I called out to Sam who was ahead of me,
“Are you having fun?”
He loudly replied “I think I hate the jungle!”
I laughed relieved, that pretty much sums it up.
Unfortunately, we discovered this in the middle of a long jungle hike to St. Herman’s cave and a mirador in the national park, and we had to finish it. The cave was impressive but about 400 yards into the pitch black interior we both got freaked out. We decided in Belize that we do not like caves or hiking in the jungle. This trip teaches us new things every day.
While we were camping at the park, we made friends with Marvin, the night ranger who was the only one with us that night in the park. Marvin said he had a chicken he could BBQ and I said I would make some side dishes (he went crazy for my habenero Spanish rice) and we had an awesome time talking about Belize, drinking, and eating Marvin’s amazing BBQ chicken. There were these huge fireflies flying around that were so big they looked like headlamps. When they stopped flying, their eyes would glow a neon green.
Oh, and as I was in the ranger cabin warming up the rice, Marvin calls out “Don’t worry about the giant black snake above the stove in the roof, it is not poisonous!” I have a phobia of snakes, and I could not even look up I was so scared. My knees were starting to buckle. I literally pulled the rice off the stove and ran downstairs trying not to scream like a little girl. I really hate snakes.
And on a final side note to my newfound dislike of the jungle, Marvin showed us video he took of removing Bot fly larva from his neck and arm. Google it. If there was one more reason to not like the jungle that sealed the deal for me.
Even though it might sound awful, we had a great time during our “jungle” portion of Belize. On our hikes we spent a lot of time laughing and realizing that not every adventure is as sexy as we thought it would be, but that does not make it any less of an adventure. And we made a great new friend!