06 April, 2015

Run Through the Jungle

Back in my pre-retirement life, I was gym rat.  I loved to go to the gym and was there at least 5 days a week.  I found that a good, sweaty workout was a great stress reliever.  Fortunately the very job that generated this stress also provided access to a wonderful gym on site.  I miss that gym - much more more than I miss my career!

Here in Englishtown, there is no gym, so I am learning to make do with what is available.  With our neighbors at SteppingStones (a former fishing resort) and Barebones Tours, we have developed some paths and trails through the jungle that connect our properties.
Our cabana is at the bottom of the photo where the red line starts.  My mini warm-up, the red line, consists of walking down our stairs and then ~200 ft to the start of the orange line.  I start my run at the orange line, take the left turn to Black Creek and back and then the run up and down the stem of the Y 2 or 3 times to get 3 miles in before coming back the way I came for my cool-down.  That is Great Monkey Caye at the righthand edge of this Google Earth image.  BareBones Tours is at the north end of the orange line.  This whole stretch is the Englishtown of the title of this blog and is labeled as such on the official government land plats.
Click the link to listen to CCR while I take you on my 
The beginning of the orange line.  That is my little bird-watching seat at the bottom right.  This trail goes through swamp, so the path had to be built up from sand and seagrass brought in one wheelbarrow load at time over a period of 5 or so years.  Washed up logs and wood scraps from building projects help to stabilize the path.
In the rainy season, there is standing water on both sides of the path.  Even during the dry season, the ground is squishy. 
You can just make out the footbridge just before the path bends to the right.  A series of 4 bridges lets the water drain from the right toward Black Creek to the left.  This swamp is a haven for agoutis, gibnuts, raccoons, all kinds of birds, snakes, lizards, crabs, insects. Huge ferns, 3 mangrove species, and other water tolerant plants are a nearly impenetrable (to humans!) barrier on either side of the trail.
The branch of the Y that goes to Black Creek has been in place longer than the other branch.  It goes through palmetto and reed beds.
Here it looks like a path through a dry woodland, and while it is a little higher and dryer than other parts, it is still wet on either side.
The branches of the Y converge at SteppingStones Resort and the stem of the Y basically follows the shore up to BareBones Tours.  This section is on dry ground, all it took was clearing a path and light maintenance to keep it cleared.
Sea to the right and jungle to the left.
Sea view with lilies, palms, and sea grapes.
Some times I have company on my walks and runs.  This is Kalli from SteppingStones.
A great path with a sea breeze to help dry the sweat.
Jungle to the west.
There may have been a dwelling in this little clearing at some time in the past.
The lot to the left has been cleared recently.  The owners live in the US and may build a vacation cabana here.  Or may not; plans in Belize tend to stay fluid.
This is a great old tree.
BareBones is on the other side of the palm.  Our friend Craig Pearlman, owner of BareBones, lives there.
View across the water toward the east just.  That is Great Monkey Caye at the left.
View to the south back toward our place.  This is low tide; you can see some green seagrass exposed in the shallow water.  The little island is Little Monkey Caye.
More views through the seaside jungle.
Headed back south, the sea is to the left and jungle to the right.
It takes a little fancy footwork to run the path, ducking for leaning trees (that dark line on the leaning tree is a termite tunnel), stepping over tree roots, avoiding crab and armadillo holes.
This leaning palm and the tree in the previous photo were very likely blown over in Hurricane Iris in 2001.
Dennis accompanied me on this walk to help clear away some of the vines and branches in the path. This area is the site of former Bob's Paradise, a resort that was blown away in Hurricane Iris.  Major hurricanes are quite rare here in southern Belize.  Iris was the unusual one with a zigzag course that delivered her to this protected pocket in full strength without loosing any force by passing over Honduras or Nicaragua on the way.
Back on the branch of the Y between SteppingStones and our place with a good view of one of the footbridges.
This area was a tangled mess of downed trees and vines.  We cleared away only what it took to make the path.
Finally, there is my birdwatching seat again on the left; the end of the trail is just ahead.
There is always something noteworthy to see along the trail.  Appropriately enough, on Easter Sunday I saw 2 bunny "rabbits" on the trail.  "Rabbit" is the local name for agouti.  They did look a lot like bunny rabbits, albeit bunny rabbits with very short ears, as they bounded into the swamp.  Just like me, they "... run through the jungle.  Whoa, don't look back to see."


  1. Hi Wilma. A great track to accompany my view of your regular workout through your jungle. I can't remember when I last ran but my boots take me walking most days over a totally different terrain.

    Love the new headed.

    1. Hi Frank - glad you liked the music and the new header. It had been so long since I changed the header, I had forgotten how to do it! I walk that route almost every day in addition to running it about 3 times a week. I think we need to make some new paths so I don't get too tired of the same route. But it is amazing how it differs throughout the day and the year - always some new and interesting to get my attention. Cheers.

  2. That was really nice to see your local area. Looks like every run is a mini adventure.

    1. John - if I were as technologically astute as you, I would mount a camera on my head and do a short video! No sound though, because all you would hear would my labored breathing ...

  3. My local walk is nothing like as exotic as yours Wilma. Plenty of Rabbits, but not the Agouti type!
    Thanks for the guided walk!

    1. Well, your local walk would be exotic to me, Phil! Glad you liked it.

  4. Wilma,

    From here in the UK it seems impossible that you could ever tire of that route, what heaven. Reminds me of my holidays in Tobago.

    1. I doubt I could ever truly tire of it, Derek, but sometimes a change puts things back into perspective. By the end of May I will have to change over to evening runs because mornings, although coolish (mid to high 70s) will be at 100% humidity. At my age (ahem!), I overheat under those conditions. Cheers!

  5. Wilma, I think this 'gym" will do just fine!

  6. Wilma,
    Even here in the south of the UK, a weeks of temps. in the high 70's is classed as a heatwave and after two weeks they are warning old people to stay indoors in the cool.

    1. I actually love the heat, just can't run in it. During the heat of the day my favorite spot is the shady veranda with a glass of iced tea in my hand. :-)

  7. Now THAT looks like paradise. We also loved my workouts five days a week. I joined a gym here, but my travels screwed up my use of it. So, now I try to do my own brand of workouts. If you'd lived closer we could become workout buddies!

    1. It is paradise, Mitchell, although of a different flavor than yours in Spain. Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting. As soon as we aren't a construction site, I will start my other workout routine again on the screened in veranda. We can be virtual workout buddies. ;-)


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