We settled on a desert mountain hiking area about a half hour from the house. And who could resist a Goldmine!
Craig led the way.
I really wish they wouldn't put signs like this out there for men to see because it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Hazardous -- steep -- gotta have it!
After climbing up up up, I plopped down on a handy bench to rest contemplating whether I wanted to risk death and go any higher. (Okay, that's an exaggeration.) Another couple came along to distract me from my pain and we struck up a conversation. About that time, Craig noticed this bad boy on a rock off the trail. At first he thought it was an iguana, but we found out later its name is Chuck. Seriously, it's called a chuckwalla! It's the second largest lizard species in North America and a member of the iguanid family, so Craig's first thought was semi-accurate. The gang talked me into inching closer and closer to get a decent shot of the thing. At the time, we had no clue what it was -- but go say hi Beck and take his photo!
The desert blooms put on a show in February and March. I can't believe this ugly prickly thing produced these beautiful purple flowers!
I got my second wind and we decided to forge on to the highest point on the trail for the vistas.
We're on top of the world!!! (Not really.)
The trip down was much quicker than the climb up! I saw this gherkin cactus on the way down. (And no, it's not really a pickle cactus, but that other ugly thing was a chuckwalla!)
We hadn't really planned on taking the high road, but after reading the trail map, the hike was five miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. I think it might have been easier to just climb the temple at Lamanai?
And speaking of Mayan ruins, we must have them on the mind. We saw this on the road home and Craig swears it's an unexcavated Mayan temple. I think he was hallucinating after his desert hike!