The Placerita Canyon Nature Center opened its doors to Nikki Dail on Sunday to talk about her travels through the country of Belize, south and east of Mexico City on the eastern coast of Central America.
Dail, a board member of the Los Angeles County Nature Center Associates and a volunteer docent at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center in Newhall, ventured through the Cayes, explored the ancient Mayan city of Tikal and climbed through Actun Tunichil Muknal cave.
“I wanted to go see the ATM Cave,” she said. “That was the reason I planned the trip to start with, but then to go snorkeling, the Belize Zoo, to go to the Mayan ruins – yeah, it was anticipation, excitement, those kind of feelings. The feelings you have when you go on vacation and you’re looking forward to it.”
The Belize Zoo functions as a wildlife refuge, where Dail and her five travel partners saw jaguars, spider monkeys, frigate birds and more. At Tikal, the group saw the tops of the temples which served as the landscape for the Yavin IV in “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
After the group entered the ATM cave, where they observed artifacts and skeletons from the Mayan civilization, floodwaters kept them inside the cave well past the time they were supposed to leave. No one was injured, though the incident was reported on in the local news.
An avid traveler, Dail said she’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and hike to the base camp of Mount Everest. Ultimately, it’s about living life, she said.
“Everyone should go out and live life,” Dail said. “If you spend your entire life going to work and coming home and taking care of your yard and fixing up your house, there’s a great big world out there and you’re missing out on seeing it.”