Wednesday, July 25th was our first full day in Mayflower Bocawina National Park, and we spent most of it hiking.  In the morning, we hiked the Bird Trail, which was an easy, mostly flat trail, but longer than we expected.  Most of the birds were actually out in the open area where some un-excavated Maya ruin mounds were located, not along the jungly, dense trail, but it was a fun walk anyway.  As usual, we had the trail entirely to ourselves.  (Stay tuned for a separate post with bird photos coming later; we'll just show the hiking photos here to keep this post from getting too long.)
Besides birds, we saw some cool flora and fauna along the way, like these interesting mushrooms, and a couple of huge owl butterflies, who seemed to be posing just for us, as Barry was able to snap a lot of shots of them.
Some parts of the trail were semi-blocked where trees had fallen, so we had to do a bit of trail blazing.
After lunch we attacked the Antelope Falls Trail, which we'd not been able to make it to the top of on our last attempt due to not enough time and severe fatigue.  This time around, we had no time limit and were feeling fresher, and it didn't seem nearly so difficult.  However, it is still some of the toughest hiking we've ever done; more like rock climbing in parts.  There were many, many stairs, and many places where using a rope was required to climb up steep and sometimes slippery rocks.  You can see the Antelope Trail on the map at the top of this post.  Note that it says "steep in places".  Uh, yes.  Here are some of those places:
We knew there was a pool at the top of the climb where we could cool off, so we were excited when we saw this sign:





Only 75 meters more to go, and we were rewarded with this beautiful sight....
I wasted no time in changing into my swimsuit and taking the plunge.  The water was cool and refreshing -- just perfect!
Barry didn't think he was going to go in, but I talked him into it; some things are just too good to miss.
Of course, getting back down the steep trail was a challenge as well.  It's easier to turn around and back down while holding the rope.
Half-way down (or up) the trail is the best view of the falls.  Unfortunately, the sun was in a bad place for a photo.
So yes, this time we did manage to summit Antelope Falls, although we later heard from Miss Marci, the cook at Mama Noot's, that we could actually have climbed a bit higher, above the pool area, and gotten a panoramic view of the entire area, even out to the Caribbean Sea.  Oh well, perhaps we'll just have to visit again one day -- third time's a charm?!

Stay tuned...tomorrow we'll have more photos from around the grounds at Mama Noot's Eco Resort as well as more photos of the great food Miss Marci served us during our stay!