Tuesday, April 11, 2017

4-11-2017 Cara and friends summit Outlier

Four of us (Emma, me/Cara, Cheryl and Luckie) set out at 5:30 am to hike the Outlier Trail in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife
Sanctuary. We did this as part of our training for Victoria Peak later this month. Emma wanted to climb Victoria Peak, and
she convinced me. Cheryl had tried once before but got turned back from the summit due to rain, so she wants another shot at
it. Luckie figured if his wife Cheryl could do it, then so could he. Another friend, Blaine, who is training to be a guide for
Victoria Peak, is also going, but he couldn't make this hike. (Thanks to Cheryl for this photo.)

We got to the park and started hiking around 6:30 am. It was a misty morning that started off nice and cool - perfect! Here we
are passing the point of no return. Okay, not really, but past this sign you are either headed to Victoria Peak or Outlier.

Emma and I saw this vine of heart shaped leaves on a tree, and we took that as a good sign
for the day.

Emma and Luckie at the turn-offf for the Outlier Trail. It's mostly flat and easy up to this point, but it gets harder after this.

We were told there are four stream crossings, but only the first really had any water.

Luckie spotted this gorgeous lizard - a common basilisk, we think.
(Thanks to Cheryl for this photo.)

Up we go now...

I realize I didn't get very many trail pictures, but it was tough! It was a pretty consistent steep
uphill climb, sometimes having to pull yourself up holding onto exposed tree roots.

A panorama of the rewarding view from the first viewpoint.

Okay, here is a good example of the steepness of the trail.

The view from the second viewpoint.

Then you look to the left and see how much climbing is still left to get to the peak - eeek!
I was already pretty tired at this point, and the day was starting to warm up.

When we reached the summit at about 11 am we immediately rested and had lunch.

Only after lunch was I able to appreciate the incredible view!

In the distance you can see Victoria Peak, our goal in a couple of weeks.

Me, Cheryl, Emma and Luckie at the summit of Outlier! (Don't know why my selfie was in this weird color mode.)

Headed back down...  There are a couple of spots where the trail is very narrow, with steep drop-offs on one side. You really
need to be paying full attention and watching every step up here.

We reached the Visitors Center again at about 2:30 pm, and we were pleased to find they had cold drinks for sale. Of course, they only had Coke, which I strongly dislike, but it honestly tasted FABULOUS right then, lol! Also, we were told that many people think Outlier is actually harder than Victoria Peak, so that is promising.  :)  In fact, we were told stories of friends who had summited Victoria Peak more than once, and still could not do Outlier!  Let's hope that's true.

So, the trail signboard says the Outlier Trail is 14.7 km (about 9.1 miles) round trip, but apparently that is from the hanging sign in the second photo of this blog post. According to an app on Emma's phone, we actually hiked about 20 km total (about 12.4 miles)!

On the way home we stopped by the Che'il Mayan Chocolate factory to restock our supplies. It is my favorite chocolate in Belize, so it was no surprise how good THAT tasted on the drive home.

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