Friday, January 30, 2015

Return to Ritidian

So, Judy invited us to the Ritidian wildlife refuge along with her visitors from Britain. I brought along some friends, as well! It improves the atmosphere of waking my children before 9 am.
Even after getting lost and driving half an hour OUT of our way, we still made it there before Judy, so the kids went to absorb facts from the posters outside while we waited.
Turns out, you can only go to a certain point unaccompanied. Good thing Judy had arranged for a guide.
This is like a fake movie set. Except you're not in an air conditioned studio.
THAT is a root. Plant roots!
Had to bend down to go under this palm.
That's E, a budding photographer.
She's pointing to holes in the rock where ancient people used to grind corn. Or something.
This is Jared, our guide. Judy had to get him started on sharing the historical info, but once he got going he did great. He was impressed that the children actually asked questions.
This is the entrance of the first cave we went into. After we were all inside, I was on the edge of the crowd deepest inside. As Jared started his talking, I heard some noises from the end of the cave. Jared was the only one with a flash light. I wondered to myself if it was bats. Then an animal the size of a medium dog came running past me, through the legs of everyone else, and out the cave. We were all freaking out. I thought I was going to get killed. Or at least mauled.
Peter, from England, was right at the entrance of the cave so he got the best look at the creatures. (There was apparently two.) They were wild boars, which are not particularly friendly. We were lucky no one got attacked. Jared said that was the first time he'd ever seen any inside a cave. All over the island, you can see where they dig up the earth to bed down. I had seen these types of spots, but hadn't known until this day that boars made them. Can you see the spider to the left of Jared's hat? He had no idea it was there.
This is a crazy root.
Can you see the spider?
This is a latte stone, but not believed to be authentically ancient, because of its location and how rough it is.
My aunt is so cool! She was able to tell us a lot about the history of this island. She did write a book, after all.
This is a root. It is very taut.
That's the top of it.
That's the bottom of it.
They've reached the next cave.
The kids found a spider web with a million tiny baby spiders. This is a really neat spot right here.
Jared is showing the cave paintings.
Here is one.
Strike a pose.
Roots and vines.
Headed back through the tropical jungle. See the limestone cliffs?
Tess said,"Ancient Chamorro spigot."
I think she's right!
Exploring fish breeds of the tropics.
Judy was right, it was spectacularly refreshing to come into this air conditioned building AFTER the hike. One of the displays plays the recorded sounds of birds in the jungles before they were wiped out by the brown tree snakes. Cocos island, off the south end of Guam still has good populations of birds. The fruit bat also has been nearly wiped out by the brown snake. They eat the babies after the parents leave them. Jared plans to get a masters in the fruit bat. I didn't even know you could get a masters on one species of animal.
Morgan was reading the Chamorro words. It was so cute. He actually did surprisingly well at pronouncing them. Must be because of my accent! Ha!
Crazy kids. Lots of talking. Lots of sound effects. Lots of loud music.
Recuperating at the Hague's with icekeki (icepops) and soba (ramen). 

Another great day! I just love observing children as we explore new places. I revel in their wonder at new discoveries. I feel elation when they come up with questions and then use their observations and knowledge of the life they have so far mastered to come up with answers or hypotheses. Childhood is so magical! Or, at least, it can be...

ThANks foR vISitINg!


  1. Very impressive, I almost thought you were hiking the orote point area of big navy. who is the young lady rubbing shoulders with Porter. They have matching smiles :-)

    1. She is one of the twins in the Hague family. Wish you were here!