There was no 5:00am alarm this morning to wake me in time for the first bird walk of the day. No travel partner next door to jostle because her clock had failed. None of the noisy, rhythmic clucking of the Chachalakas. When I peered out my bedroom window, the branches of the trees were bare. No towering cohune palms sweeping the skies.
It felt odd pulling on a fleece robe instead of peeling off a sweaty sheet. When I walked up the driveway to get the newspaper, only the “peter, peter” call of a Titmouse greeted me instead of the roar of Howler monkeys or the “boop-boop” of the Blue-Crowned Mot-mots.
But for one week, I was fortunate to travel with 12 other people from my NJ world to walk the earth in Belize and learn about the birds, the people and the animals who live out their lives in that Central American country. I hiked straight up a Mayan mountain to marvel at the Scarlet Macaws, was treated to an unexpected lesson about tarantulas when one was found on the door frame of Betsy’s lodge, dined on rice and beans and the chicken taken from our host’s free range flock; savored papaya, just-picked bananas, pineapple, watermelon. I walked the jungle trails, climbed across rope bridges and struggled with the discomfort of almost 80 mosquito bites (yes, I used insect repellant and yes, I am taking an antimalarial).
We saw and/or heard 244 bird species in just one week’s time.
And yes; I would do it again. Here’s why: