March 6, 2007

Road trip: Along the Cangrejal River road

Horse and cart, Cangrejal river road, HondurasHorse and cart along the Cangrejal river

These are just a few of the photos that I took along the Cangrejal River road on our trip to Yaruca. The photo of the horse and cart above is not an unusual sight in Honduras, even in town in La Ceiba. These people are gathering wood for cooking in a wood burning stove.

La Ceiba area mapI found this excellent map of Rio Cangrejal on the Jungle River Rafting site*. Click the map to enlarge it and you can see the Rio Cangrejal running southeast from the right of the La Ceiba dot. El Naranjo is listed, too. Yaruca is further south near the big blue '<' towards the bottom.

Cangrejal River, HondurasThere are lots of scenic views along the way. The road twisted and turned and crossed the Rio Cangrejal several times. El Jefe says that the rivers used to be much higher.

By the way, the Spanish word cangrejo means crab, so I guess Rio Cangrejal means "river of the crabs." I've never seen any crabs, but I guess it's possible. The Cangrejal is the major river in this part of Honduras.

Nombre de Dios mountains, HondurasWater is a huge problem in Honduras and the government talks a lot but doesn't seem to do anything about the continuing deforestation, the contamination of the rivers by large corporations and big agricultural companies, and poor agricultural practices of the small farmers.

Nombre de Dios mountains in HondurasMany of the mountains have been cleared for lumber or by burning. Forest fires often start accidentally during the dry season but often the fires are set on purpose in order to plant crops. Many Honduran farmers believe in the scorched earth policy, using fires to clear land, kill insects, or eradicate weeds.

Rio Cangrejal roadWe stopped on the road to take a picture of this idyllic scene. The guard dogs came running, barking their warnings. When I finished I said, "Adios!" and strangely enough, they immediately turned around and went back down below! We all started laughing about that.

Pig in the road, HondurasThis is just one of the many pigs that we saw in and alongside the road.

Rocks in the Rio Cangrejal, HondurasThese rocks were so incredibly smooth and worn looking from thousands of years of the river washing over them.

To give you some perspective as to the size of these rocks, the photo below shows some people swimming in the river, at the tip of the rock formation at right.

Cangrejal River, Honduras
Honduran bridgeThis is the bridge we were standing on to take the pictures of the rock formations. It's one of the sturdier looking ones that we passed on the trip, even though you drive over wooden boards.

Honduran boys collecting woodThese little boys were collecting wood for their mother for cooking. Note the machete. Boys learn to use a machete at a very young age here in Honduras. Out of necessity, many children often start helping the family by gathering wood or carrying water at 4 or 5 years old.

Honduran mountainsWherever you are in Honduras (as far as I know), you are always within view of the mountains. The mountains in these pictures are part of the Nombre de Dios mountain range. The highest peak (not in these photos) is Pico Bonito, which is 2,435 meters above sea level (7,989 ft.).

typical houses, HondurasThis is one of my favorite pictures. The palm frond-roofed house is perched between the edge of curve in the road which is basically a left turn and a steep cliff − living dangerously! Properties like this are often built by invasionistas (invaders). The poorest people often "claim" a piece of land by building a house and sometimes fencing it in. Often the tiny houses on the very edge of the road or on the river banks are invasionistas. It can be hard to remove an invasionista, so almost every plot of land in Honduras sports a fence of some sort or another.

Cangrejal River rocks* I'll give Jungle River Rafting a free advertisement here in exchange for use of their map. I'm glad to do it because I've taken trips with that company, a rafting trip and a couple of other sightseeing adventures, and I can say that they are excellent.

If Johnny is still working there, ask for him as a guide. He gave us an unforgettable trip to Cuero y Salado Wildlife Refuge where we saw monkeys, crocodiles, bats, and many other things we never would have seen if he hadn't pointed them out.

More road trip to follow....

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