None of my children know how to ride a bike. Our neighborhood backs to a farm filled with wooded trails, streams and waterfalls. We’ve only explored the trails once. When we went to Great Falls Park last summer for a family hike we enjoyed a solid hour of whining and complaining.
Based on my children’s ages and their obvious love of adventure and exploration I had managed expectations of our excursions.
St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park features 575 acres of forest rich with wildlife, two cave systems and the Blue Hole, a sapphire-colored pool formed by the collapse of an underground limestone cave. The main attractions in the park, the St. Herman’s Cave and the Blue Hole, are connected by an underground stream. Julio, our guide, meets us at the park entrance and fits each of us with a helmet, headlamp and inner tube. As we walk the 200 yards through the forest to the cave entrance, Julio points out the national tree, termite nests and the path left by cutter ants. When we arrive at the cave entrance my children fall silent. Backlit by the depth and dark of the cave Julio begins telling us that the Maya believed that the Rain God, Chaak, lived in caves and therefore performed rituals and sacrifices within the caves. Maya also believed that many caves were entrances to the underworld, or Xibalba. Today many native Belizeans do not venture into the caves.
Oliver clutches my hand a little tighter and whispers, “Mommy, I want to go back.”