Study Abroad

The End of the Trail

May 26, 2014

We finished the Lasell College Birdwatching Trail today! Needless to say, turning the dense jungle into a walkable path is no easy task. Of course, we couldn’t do all of the extra filling in of the holes and adding stairs in the two days that we were here. Nicacio and his team will have to finish that, but it officially looks like a real trail! We took a stroll back down the trail to look at what we had accomplished and it made us feel amazing to know that we had created something that people would soon be using on a regular basis. Cockscomb Basin was very thankful for our help and we thanked them for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

mountainsAfter lunch, we took off on a rigorous, uphill hike over Tiger Fern Hill to a beautiful 75 foot waterfall with a 25 foot deep natural pool. The 1.5 mile hike each way itself was quite the struggle and felt like the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon for some of our less active bodies, with a few added obstacles. However, it was very rewarding to know that we had worked so hard for such a refreshing treat. The view at the top of the mountain was breathtaking, which included a view of Victoria Peak, the second highest peak in Belize.

waterfallOnce at the waterfall, we all jumped right in, basking in the cool water which was the most refreshing moment of our time here thus far. We stayed long enough to get cooled off and enjoy the view, then headed up the other side of the mountain to make our way back before sundown.

We are lucky enough to be here at the same time as a duo of researchers from Spain studying large cats in the area. Noa, who is working on finishing her Ph.D., talked to us for a while about what she is doing in her research and what she has discovered. To our surprise, the research team found multiple jaguars in the area which they determined by studying the scat and scratches in the ground. Noa’s Ph.D. is a project within a larger research study by Paco, her supervisor. They use samples of scat as well as photos which are captured through motion-censored cameras to determine the sex and species of cats, including pumas, jaguars and ocelots. The scratches can be a way for the cats to mark their territory. Unfortunately, the day after we are set to leave, Noa and Paco will be capturing a few jaguars in hopes of giving them GPS collars to track their movements. We wish them the best of luck!

As we finish our delicious dinner, we are all hanging out in the dining room talking about our nearing journey to Tobacco Caye!