Mayflower Bocawina National Park
We decided that today was a hiking and climbing day. The Mayflower Bocawina NP is just a few miles north of Hopkins on the Southern Parkway.
The drive in is through citrus groves and fallow land studded with coconut palms and banana trees, among others. We stopped to pick a couple of oranges which were a nice addition to our drinks later.
At the visitors’ center we paid our fees (children were half-price if under 12, and free if under 6) and received a little information about the hike up the hill to the big falls and another short (easy) hike to a smaller halls. Our first hike took us past some Mayan temple ruins and then we started a steep climb made easier by steps and ropes. After about 1.5 miles we came to the falls. While the climb continued, we decided it was more than the little ones and old ones wanted to do, so we stopped here to swim in the pools at the base of the falls. Andrew and Steven did continue on to the top to see the upper pool. As we bathed, other tourists came along with guides who were taking them to the top to rapple down the falls. This was a great trip, except that we found we all received a number of bites from what we believe to be sand flies or sand fleas.
After hiking down we had a nice lunch in a covered picnic area and headed further into the park to the second falls. We parked in an open area near a restaurant and eco-resort (expensive) and started off to the lower falls. Unfortunately, we soon realized we were supposed to drive in to a different open area and hike from there. GME was really pressing to get to the falls, so Emily and I hurried to keep up with him. Eventually, Steven and the others (except David and Andrew) turned back to get their cars, and we all met at the falls. David and I chose to walk all the way back to our car, and we all met back at the rental.
An afternoon soak in the salt water made the bites feel better. Dinner was some fabulous Jack fish we purchased from our next door neighbor (a commercial fisherman who had just returned from 3 days out) and roasted vegetables. The fish was amazing! Andrew seasoned some with cilantro and garlic and the rest with pepper and garlic. Both were among the best I have eaten.
The kids were all exhausted and little Clay gave us an interesting end to the evening. He went into his parents bedroom to change, locking the door for privacy, but climbed sleepily into their bed, without unlocking the door. We could not awaken him. Steven suggested, rightly, we wait a while, then make a lot of noise. All the kids yelling, music blaring, and an iPhone alarm did the trick so the rest of us could head off to bed.