ORIGINAL CANOPY TOUR
BELIZE CENTRAL AMERICA
The Belize Lost World Canopy Tour
Your first impression is that you hit a dead end. The buggy backs up to a sheer
rock face that towers over you. As you “debuggy” on to the dock you
notice the opening of the “frozen (crystal) waterfall cave” As you
pass through the cave you catch a glimpse of what you’re in for as you
witness the end of the tour above you. Excited voices and adrenaline induced
giggles emanate from the catwalks above you.
The beauty of the hidden valley takes your breath away when it hits
you from the darkness. The post card like scene grows as you approach
the end of the rock cathedral.
We estimate that this circular valley was a sink hole that has
been relatively unchanged for 1.2 million years. You aren’t, however
the first visitors to this spot as you will see evidence of pre Columbian
habitation in the form of pottery which rests where we found it.
We’re too low to start the tour so we do a quick lap of the valley
and exit through another cave where Mayan inhabitants had what we would
call a storage locker. Some of the artifacts we found inside have been
placed at the opening so you can see them without assuming any risk.
Locks and alarms weren’t invented 800 years ago so the next best
thing was to make it dangerous to access the hiding places. Luckily we
have modern climbing equipment.
The big eye trail begins at the other side of “Cave Too”.
This will take you around the outside of the hidden valley wall past
several other small caves and up about 120 feet to … “The
Big Eye” which is a stone arch entrance to a plateau that gives
you access to a trail that takes you to the top of the hidden valley
wall. Get it? J you will!
A small hike up over “the eye” takes you to the first platform
where you might see 5 separate valleys created by this rock formation,
that is, you can see them through the dense vegetation. Even though you
are shrouded in trees you still know you are high. This will be confirmed
as you are attached to the patented dual rail safety traverse and fly
away from the platforms you breach the canopy layer you see exactly how
high and where you are.
If you remember to do so, you will see three of the four valleys to
the sides and ahead of you. Your airspeed can reach as high as 60 miles
an hour as you approach the first landing and as you get there you will
probably realize that tunnel vision has prevented you from looking around
and actually seeing the valleys but that’s ok because you have
your next chance coming up.
At this point you are 130 feet directly above “Cave Too”,
but you’ll never see it for the layers of forest canopy below you.
Your second throw will be across the valley you just flew down. This
is the longest one on the tour and is 429 feet away. This takes you to
a ridge that is virtually inaccessible to inexperienced climbers. We
got you here by using the patented access system invented by Darren Hreniuk
who, with his team, designed and built the system you are now experiencing
which is the industry standard for safety.
“Ridge too high” named when while in the design phase when
Darren wanted to land on the top of it, and subsequently determined...
The “Ridge Trail” starts here and takes to Cliff
Access Deck”. The trail is short as you don’t need
to walk very far on a trail like this to see everything. The density
of the forest cover there is such that every species of plant can be
encountered here in a short distance.
“Cliff Access Deck” is where you go to “White Wall” which
is a calcium based crystal wall about 300 feet high. Standing on this
walkway, for some, is more intimidating that the flying part. Here you
can’t see either the top or the bottom of the wall… you’re
just out there… the altimeter says you’re 15 stories high
but technically you have a ledge 5 stories below you.
You are now above the main canopy of the valley floor and you can see
a number of interesting rock formations that just don’t look natural.
They look like a movie set and this is what inspired the name of the
“Raiders” is the largest and most complex series of platforms
and connecting walkways under the sun and is named in honor of the person
who designed the set of opening sequence of the movie nicknamed thus.
Both are classic and any attempt to describe either in words wouldn’t
do justice. It’s on of those “you gotta see it” things.
From here you arrive at a tree that is on the edge of a high wall ledge
a suspended trail from here takes you along the face of the cliff where
roots from the top grow out of the walls and past you looking for the
ground. Here you are under an overhang which you will appreciate if some
weather blows in as you are in a RAINFOREST, remember.
At the end of this catwalk is your first rappel. From this height you
can’t really see the aforementioned rock formations so we will
lower you from here so you can pay attention to the beauty as it appears.
You arrive at the “Valley Cross” deck which is still higher
than you thought you were at the last platform above you.(Make sense?)
From here you will cross the “hidden valley” and arrive through “Hi
Ho” chimney that connects you to the cave you first came in on.
From here you maneuver across a sheer drop to another catwalk where you
will rappel to a lower platform under which you passed on your way in.
(Look who’s giggling now!)
The last leg of the journey in the suspended walkway around the crystal
waterfall a photo opportunity if ever there was one). You then pass over
a series of intricate overhangs and cave openings below and your journey
ends as you descend the staircase to the dock.
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