So I've been helping to facilitate a group of 4th year pharmacy students for the past 2 weeks from Texas Tech (and really enjoying it) and this Sunday, we took an especially special Sabbath day to relax and play.
My fellow YAV, Laura, had told me how cool it was when she went, but I tried not to get too excited, lest it not live up to the hype. Well, I got to go to Semuc-Champey with the TX Tech group, and seriously, world-- it's on my Top 10 Coolest Moments of Juli's Life list.
So we start by taking a very death-defying 30ish min pickup ride (as in, standing in the bed of the truck) from the hotel to the miiiiddle of nowhere. Surprise! We've arrived! So we pay and go on a "short hike" (which was pretty much completely straight up... Thank goodness for the Chacos, bc some people were wearing flipflops..) to the lookout place where you can see all of Semuc Champei ("Hidden Waters Under Rocks")-- the huge rushing river that goes underground for 900m and then pops out on the other end... where the river goes underground, there are maybe 15-20 turquoise limestone pools of different sizes, depths, and sizes. DANG, our God is great.
We soak in the view and catch our breath for a bit, then start the descent (keep in mind it is very much rainy season-- aka everything was VERY muddy and slippery) and after at least an hour total of hiking, we reached the water. Our guide took us to see where te gushing water goes underground (many people have died there; oh great thanks) and then we played in the 1st pool for a while... Which we thought was cool until...
We went down to the other pools and got to swim, dive, cliff jump, waterslide, and just play around in this amazing natural waterpark. The water was SO clear and beautiful, and it was miraculously sunny-- just SO beautiful!! After about an hour, we got to the very end of the pools where we could see te river shoot out again! We thought that was awesome, until...
Then, our guide took us into a little mini-cave, where we literally had to point our faces upwards in the like 3inches of air between rock ceiling and water-level... Once we (terrifiededly) got to the end of that, we swam underwater to the light to get out of the cave. I mean, SERIOUSLY?!?! So awesome!!
Then we made our way back to the first pool to meet up with the non-swimmers in the group and have a much-less-strenuous hike back to the entrance for our picnic lunch.
Man, God is amazing!!!
ps: photos definitely coming soon.