Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fall Field Trip 2016

We took some time off from homeschool last week to do a field/road trip with the boys.  We coordinated it with the celebration of our tenth year of missionary service and returned to some of our favorite places.  In addition to introducing the boys to some interesting places we also enjoyed getting to share stories with them about our early days on the mission field.  We said many times "remember that place...", "remember that time we...", "I'll never forget that day we...".  Each time we said one of those phrases we would fill in the blanks with a memory of the past and tell the boys all about it.  It was a trip down memory lane for us and we loved it.  It was especially nice to revisit Kekchi country.  We talk of it often with the boys and wanted them to see it now that they are a little older.  It did my heart good to go back and see how some things had changed and some things were just as they were when we left it.  We will always treasure those early days of ministry.  Some of our favorite years were those first three years working around Coban with the Parkers, McGriffs, and Miss Fran.  I just think God gave us the best mentors possible.  They are precious folks who will always be dear to our hearts.  We also value the sweet relationships we made in Sayaxche.  Getting to return from time to time and see the people there just makes us happy.   I could go on and on but you would probably rather see some pictures, so here are some photos of our trip.

The morning we left.  Do you think the boys were excited?

Our first stop was in Rio Dulce.  I took the following video as we drove over the big bridge there.  It is a beautiful view from on top of that bridge!  The sound on the video is terrible from the wind but it will give you an idea of the beauty of the river.

crossing the bridge in Rio Dulce

After lunch at Bruno's and a quick stop by a little hotel to drop off our bags we made our way to tour the castle.   David and I have seen it several times but have never taken the time to tour it.  It is something that I have been wanting the boys to do for a while.  I knew they would love running around and exploring it and they sure did!

the entrance to the castle at Rio Dulce/Lake Izabal

me and the boys exploring

They LOVED the cannons!!!

this was one of their favorite memories from the whole trip

our family at the castle in Rio Dulce

a view of Lake Izabal from the castle

After our tour the boys went for a swim in the lake.  This was another favorite memory of theirs.

we ended the day with a boat ride

we had a beautiful sunset view

my boys in Rio Dulce

a view of the castle from the boat

Isn't this a beautiful sight!  What a great way to end the day.

The next morning we were up early and began making our way towards Flores.  We enjoyed a drive around Poptun along the way.  We arrived in Flores in time for lunch, dropped off our bags, and made the drive out to Tikal to see the Mayan ruins.  David and I have been several times and we wanted the boys to see it. 

As soon as we arrived they opened their map and began planning our route.

There is a huge Ceiba tree right after you enter the park.  The Ceiba is Guatemala's national tree.  We had just learned about it during our Independence Day study.  I was glad for them to see one in person.  I was also glad they didn't try to climb it, ha.

at Tikal National Park

Mayan ruins

We did a lot of hiking both on the ground, and up and down stairs.  We got a good workout!


our family touring the Mayan ruins at Tikal

me and my boys
Life is just sweeter with them in it!

The view from the top of Temple IV 

A video taken from the top of Temple IV.  There was a big group up there with us but you can hear some howler monkeys towards the end.

our family on Temple IV

One of our favorite things about the park is the animals you see.  We saw several spider monkeys and got close to several while climbing the stairs to the temples. Our favorite animal sighting are the howler monkeys.  Those things are unreal!  We could hear them all over the park. It is a little scary but really cool at the same time. 

That sound you hear is a howler monkey.

At one point as we were walking we noticed some just above our heads.  It was fun to see them and they were loud!
enjoying the howler monkeys

before leaving we climbed to the top of this temple and had a late snack break

our family at Tikal

We had planned to stay two nights in Flores but changed our minds instead and continued on our journey early the next morning.  We left Flores traveling to Sayaxche.  We spent a few hours that morning making visits there. 

a view of Sayaxche, Guatemala from the ferry that you ride to cross the Passion River

a comparison collage of me and Cruz on the Sayaxche ferry over the years

Instead of going straight to Coban we ended up taking a detour and drove the backroads to Lanquin instead.   This passed us near Las Casas and through Raxruha and Campur.  It was a rough, rocky road but a fun trip down memory lane.

crossing the bridge in Raxruha

David and the boys in Raxruha

We arrived late afternoon and stopped for the night.  Here are the boys playing in a little waterfall at the place where we stayed.

a much needed late afternoon coffee break for us while the boys played

The next morning we were up early, dressed, and ready for a fun day of swimming at Semuc Champey.  David and I have been there numerous times but it was the boys first time to go. 

looking over the map of the park

The first thing we did was hike to see the waterfall.

our family at Semuc Champey

Semuc Champey

a video of the water coming down the mountain at Semuc Champey

the water there is so beautiful! 

We didn't hike to the lookout because it was a little extreme for the boys so instead I found this photo online to show you what the natural pools there look like from above.  It is a beautiful place to see and explore!

We ate a picnic lunch before getting back on the road to head home.  What an amazing few days we experienced.  We squeezed in as much as we could in a short amount of time. It ended up being one of our best road trips ever.  The boys learned a lot, we reminisced a lot, and it was one of our sweetest family times.  We laughed, played, and just enjoyed being together.  Some wonderful memories were made, many of which we will probably be talking about for years to come.

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