Belize Day 2

We somehow managed to fill up a whole day with eating and drinking.  Our efforts to find a quick, cheap breakfast were thwarted by the fact that not a lot of places are open for breakfast on Sunday, so we ended up at a fancy hotel eating fancy brunch, where I think they were secretly disappointed that we wanted to drink coffee instead of sangria or mimosas by the pitcher.  Afterward, we came back to the hotel to read and relax for a few hours and then went out in search of food again.  We had lunch at a Salvadorean restaurant and then got caught in a storm on our way back to the hotel.  It poured rain for the rest of the day and into the night, though it was dry, but very windy when we went out again for a late dinner.  It’s supposed to be windy again tomorrow, which likely means no diving.  

  

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Belize Day 1

It doesn’t actually take that long to get to Belize, but it did involve a lot of steps.  Bus to airport, flight to Denver, flight to Houston, 8h layover in Houston, flight to Belize City, taxi to water taxi ($25 USD), water taxi to Ambergris ($70 USD round trip) where we are staying.  Knowing we had a long overnight layover in Houston, I packed my small carry-on full of lightweight camping amenities – inflatable sleep pad, blanket, eye mask.  It still wasn’t the greatest sleep, but I did get a solid four hours before the security guard started reconfiguring the chairs and a few young, *ahem* enthusiastic women started screaming to each other about their coffee.  

This was originally supposed to be a dive trip and so A and I had done pretty much zero research on Belize.  We were going to pack our fins, snorkels, masks and bathing suits and then rent the rest of the gear down here and then spend our whole time diving and relaxing on the beach.  We didn’t really bother to think about much else.  Then, about two days before we flew out, A checked the weather and saw that it would be windy and rainy – potentially not ideal for diving.  Suddenly we had to rethink our plans and include things like clothes to our packing list (this is the last I will say about it, I promise, but I did an amazing job packing.  I’m particularly proud of the hanging water filtration system I bought since we hadn’t really thought about water quality in Belize, as dive boats typically provide you with bottled water for the day.  Now we can get water out of the tap and fill up our own water bottles, save some money and decrease plastic waste!). 

Ambergris is a caye off of mainland Belize.  We chose it because of its proximity to a large reef and marine reserve that is supposed to be awesome for diving.  It’s definitely set up for tourism.  The entire beach front is hotels and restaurants.  Our hotel is a set of bungalows on the beach (price ranges between USD $60-$200 something per night depending on the bungalow).  All the bungalows have wifi and fridges and bathrooms and then things get fancier from there.  As soon as you get off the beach, there are markets and stores and local restaurants.  We splurged and ate at a beach front restaurant called Caliente, which advertised their margaritas (thinking of you Munchkat), but I think we will be eating “inland” for the rest of the trip (I put that in quotes because it’s a pretty skinny island). 

The official language of Belize is English and everyone readily accepts US or Belize dollars, which makes getting around exceedingly easy.  We were also told that Spanish and Spanglish were readily spoken by most, but I’ve also heard many locals speaking Kriol.  

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Travel Updates From the Last Year

Space NeedleSeptember 2-8, 2014:  Seattle, WA & Victoria, BC.  I’ve taken a lot of little trips over the last year and I haven’t posted about any of them.  Most of them were quick four-day getaways, so I don’t have a lot of (or any) pictures, but my trip to Seattle and Victoria last year really deserved day-by-day blog posts!  Oh well.  Seattle was beautiful and sunny.  I ate great food, saw some dear friends and took the ferry up to Victoria for a few days.  We hit up museums and gardens and ate fresh seafood and drank craft beers.  It was a lovely trip and the perfect end to the summer before I started my new job.

 

MoabJanuary 9-12, 2015: Moab, Utah.  A had a two-week work thing up in Moab, so I drove up to see him over the weekend.  Moab seems like an outdoor enthusiast’s mecca – plenty of climbing, hiking, camping, river sports, you name it, they’re doing it.  The town was a little dead during the winter months, but we made the most of it.  We hit up Arches National Park and then crossed over into Colorado to do some snowboarding.

 

Trapeze SFFebruary 25-28, 2015: San Francisco, CA.  I made my annual pilgrimage to San Francisco to visit friends and family in February.  The weather was behaving itself and I think it was sunny the whole time A and I were there.  We did a lot of the stuff I always love doing – walking around, eating at my favorite places, drinking fancy cocktails and the like, but we spent a good chunk of time taking classes at the San Francisco Circus Center.  We did some traditional acrobatics, tight wire and (eep!) flying trapeze!  We stayed in an AirBnB near the park and within walking distance to the Circus Center, which was a pleasant change from my usual stomping grounds in and around Hayes Valley.  It amazes me how much San Francisco still captures my heart…I’m glad I got out before the City crushed me =P.

March 13-15, 2015: Austin, TX.  This was my first trip to Texas!  I wish we had longer to spend time in Austin, because everyone speaks so highly of the city, but A and I were there for a dance lift workshop hosted by the Austin AcroYoga community.  We learned a lot of new and interesting skills and refined some old ones and had a great time connecting with other acroyogis and seeing what they were up to.  We also got a chance to do some more flying trapeze and learn some new tricks!

June 29-July 2, 2015:  Portland, OR.  Linds decided to celebrate her 31st birthday in Portland, and I thought it would be a great way to see her, visit all my other PDX friends – especially Max and Ally, who were about to have a baby.  Portland has grown a lot and I was surprised to feel a little out of place in a big city.  Naturally, I found an acro jam to drop in on and tried aerial yoga for the first time.  I didn’t think I would care, but I ended up wanting to go check out campus and see how it had changed.  It felt so good to reconnect with my friends, whose relationships continue to become more and more dear to me as time goes on.

San DiegoJuly 24-27, 2015:  San Diego.  A and I hit the road again for some more acrobatic training, this time for the Acro Love festival in San Diego.  It continues to amaze me how much just a little bit of coaching can benefit us in our learning and skill development.  We worked out some kinks and added some things we don’t normally do to our repertoire (whips! pops!).  It was also nice to see a lot of our Tucson friends, since we’d recently moved to Montana for my job.  As a special bonus, I got to stay with my good friend from grad school who is living and working in San Diego and it was wonderful to spend time with her and pick up right where we left off.

 

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Spring Break – Day 6

Meteor Crater

Cost: $18/person, AAA discount available.

Today we took a small detour to Winslow, AZ to see Meteor Crater, on the recommendation of one of E’s neighbors.  File this under the same category as Taliesin West, and, while not quite as well done as Taliesin, it is a pretty impressive hole in the ground.  Plus, it’s hard not to enjoy a science museum.  After we’d checked out the museum and toured the grounds, we hopped back in the car and headed back to Phoenix so that I could drop E off at the airport the next morning.

Meteor Crater

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Spring Break – Day 5

527 miles of backpacking together

527 miles of backpacking together

We woke with the light and packed up camp.  The way out was much the same as the same as the way in, although the last 1.5 miles up to the top of the canyon are excruciating even at 11am.  It’s steep, it’s hot and you’re already tired from walking the 8.5mi before that.  After the Camino, E and I have a couple of “safety phrases” that we use when hiking together in order to let the other person know that we are no longer having fun and need to take a break.  The first phrase is “Trail of Tears,” and if things are really bad, “Bataan Death March.”  Neither one of invoked the safety phrases, but if the look on my face was anything close to the look on E’s, I know that both of us were pretty close.  Nota bene: Bring plenty of water.  Take breaks in the shade when possible.  And try not to hate the teenage boys literally running up and down the trail carrying their party’s belongings too much.

We made it to the car, gulped down what was left of our water, had a nice long stretch and then drove to Flagstaff to stay in the Little America Hotel, which turned out to be the perfect return to civilization.  We had dinner at Pizzicletta, got a six-pack of Southwestern beer, and ordered dessert back at the hotel.

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Spring Break – Day 4

Mooney FallsHavasupai Canyon

Distance: 3.5mi to Beaver Falls
Gear: LL Bean Microlight Tent, Big Agnes inflatable sleeping pads

We woke up refreshed and had a breakfast of oatmeal, peanut butter and dried fruit.  Then we set out for Beaver Falls, carrying just one bag with plenty of water and lunch.

Havasupai Canyon is magical.  We would never have guessed that someplace like it could exist in the middle of the desert.  As we exited the campgrounds, we came upon Mooney Falls.  At first we couldn’t figure out how to get down to the base of the falls, but then we discovered a tunnel carved into the cliff that allowed us to make our way down.  Once out of the tunnel, we climbed down a sequence of wooden ladders to get all the way to the bottom.  We admired the view for a while and then continued along the trail.  We lost the trail every now and then, but usually picked it up pretty easily again.  Only once did we completely lose it and had to do some questionable rock-climbing to find it again.  There were river crossings necessitating the removal of shoes, and, for me, pants (after the second crossing, I decided to hike without pants.  Only really awkward when we ran into some Boy Scouts, but otherwise not uncomfortable), a leisurely walk through a field of grapes, planks to tip-toe across and always, always something beautiful to look at.

We went for a swim at Beaver Falls and found a perch for lunch.  Then we made our way back to camp where we rinsed off in Havasupai Falls, made dinner (curry chicken), took another short walk through camp and then went to sleep.

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Spring Break – Day 3

Havasupai Trail

Distance: 8mi to town of Supai; 2mi to campgrounds
Cost: $35/person entrance fee; $17/person/night camping fee; $5/person environmental fee; 10% tax

Today we drove to Hualapai Hilltop, which is the trailhead for Havasupai.  We parked our car on the side of the road, wove our way through the groups of backpackers and pack mules, took a deep breath and began our descent into the canyon.  The initial slope is pretty steep and made of slick rock, but after the first 1.5 mi, you hit the canyon floor and are mostly walking on loose gravel, sand and rocks.  The only shade comes from the shadows cast by large rocks and a fair amount of time is spent dodging trains of pack-mules carrying supplies.

The first eight miles were pretty standard desert beauty – something you’d expect from looking at pictures of the Grand Canyon (which is technically where this is located).  Around the eight mile mark, we reached the town of Supai where we bought our permits.  Supai and the surrounding area is home to many of the Havasupai Tribe – there is a school, meeting hall, grocery store, etc. in addition to the camping permit office.  Once we passed through Supai, we began to see more greenery, more rivers, until we came to this:

Havasupai Falls

Havasupai Falls

Not knowing how large the campsite was and not wanting to stray too far from that natural beauty, we picked out a patch of dirt relatively close to the campgrounds entrance.  I set up the tent (be impressed) and E set up the rest of camp before we went to go for a swim in the falls.  We returned to camp to take a nap and then woke to the sounds of a million Boy Scouts eating dinner.  Nota bene:  The campsites near the campgrounds entrance tend to be popular for large groups of kids – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, school groups, you name it.  Families and normal people tend to walk a bit farther in and camp by the river or Mooney Falls.  There are composting bathrooms scattered throughout the campgrounds, but best to bring your own toilet paper.  E whipped us up some free-form spam onigiri (all the ingredients for spam oni in bowls) and then we took a walk through the rest of the campgrounds and returned to sleep.

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