This was our first Christmas away from all our families. It was tough, but not as bad as we envisioned since we had plenty of friends around. We had a large gathering at Albert & Anita’s house on Christmas day and spent the day eating, playing games & visiting.
We spent the weekend at Mountain Pine Ridge. I had heard that it had been raining heavily for the past couple of days, so I was excited to see the muddy roads leading up to our friends cabin, where we were going to stay.
We left the paved road heading for the reserve. To my dismay, the roads were dry. Almost dusty. I wanted to test my Land Rover potential climbing to 3000 feet with the ruts and mud, and torrential rain we met the last time we visited the mountains. However the skies were blue, and the roads pretty well maintained. Still lots of obstacles and pot holes to avoid, made for some excitement. And we were able to find some mud holes along the way. Enough to splash mud and spray the windshield.
Part way up, we stopped at Hidden Valley Inn for a tour of the resort. A quaint “little” resort sitting on 7200 acres, featuring countless waterfalls, one at 150 feet tall. The hiking trails spanned over 90 miles throughout the property, all with natural beauty. The main house was actually a personal residence in the 70s. It had a wood burning fireplace, for the cool mountain nights, a restaurant, gift store, and unique bar area, feeling more like an elegant parlor in an old Plantation home. The pool was inviting, surrounded by landscaping, a hot tub, and natural screened in observatory. We were invited to view one of the 12 suites on the property. It was ornately decorated, a bathroom with claw foot tub, private outdoor waterfall shower, and a screened in common area with hammocks, between the two large bedrooms. Maybe we will be back.
We pulled into the cabin, 50 acres of mountains and valleys. The view was picturesque. The pine trees for which the reserve is named,scattered across the ridges inviting us for some trail riding.
We set up our tents, each picking the location that we wanted for views.
A campfire felt really good in the chilly air of the mountains. We sat and visited until well after dark before settling in for some good sleep in the cool breezes.
The next day we got up and made a Belizean breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans, cooked on the fire, and one of my favorites, fryjack. Fry Jacks are essentially puffed bread. Light and soft, I could eat a dozen! Some people stuff them with cream cheese or other ingredients, but they ate great by themselves or dipped in the beans.
We decided to go site seeing, and ended up at Rio On Pools. This is a natural wonder nestled right in the mountains, amongst the river, scattered with waterfalls and rapids. The sun was perfect for getting a tan/burn, and the water was “crisp”. Angela and I waded in up over our knees, enjoying the cool sensations. Adam, Ashley, and the kids waded in before full on swimming. At one point Cayen asked to “slide ” down the rapids. Adam joined him splashing and pushing themselves for greater speeds. Laughter was the word of the day. All enjoyed the few hours we spent relaxing. The sun was perfect as the temps got up into the upper 80s.
On the way back, Adam rode with me so we could hit some of the two track trails. We had fun traversing the ruts, mud holes, rocks and wildlife. We checked out trail after we trail, riding them until they ended, mostly off the side of a cliff.
Scott & Adam took off with the two girls to teach them how to off road! They loved it!!
Back at camp, we got another fire started and began cooking dinner. Ashley had brought some strawberry pie filling, cream cheese, and bread. We made pies over the fire, along with marshmallows. Again the night ended with great conversation, getting a glimpse inside Ashley’s head was an experience!
Another perfect nights sleep, being serenaded by the cool breezes and occasional rain shower.
Breakfast was eggs Ala Mexicana. A mix of scrambled eggs, green peppers and garlic. Nothing beats a good meal whole camping!
We packed up the rover and we’re about to head out, when our friend returned from Spanish Lookout with a western dairies pizza. It wasn’t quite lunch time, but it’s always a good time for pizza!