I’m a bit late getting some updates out, so I’m going to condense about 3 posts in to one in the hopes that I can get caught up. So let’s start with my trip to Mexico.

If it wasn’t obvious from my last post, I went down to the Mayan Riviera with Erin and the rest of my family to celebrate the marriage of my sister and now brother-in-law. We all stayed at an all inclusive resort on the beach in Playa del Carmen, which sounds like a great idea, but in practice, I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice being able to walk up to a bar and drink as much as I want, or to grab food from any of the numerous restaurants and snack bars at any time. But the food was mediocre at best. Part of the excitement of visiting another country is to sample the local cuisine, and I feel a little cheated out of that experience.

In addition to the wedding, this was a pseudo honeymoon for Erin and I, since we never really got to take one after our wedding. We were celebrating our 4th anniversary while we were down there, and this would be our last vacation with just the two of us. So, a relaxing vacation on the beach didn’t seem so bad. We got in on Wednesday, May 28 and on Saturday, it rained. It continued to rain fairly hard and steadily until we left the following Wednesday. So, in the end, we got two good days at the beach. But I got no reef time in either. It doesn’t help that after the wedding, I wasn’t feeling too good. I think it was something I ate.

My sister’s wedding was at a place farther inland in the middle of the jungle. The rain did help cool things down, but the humidity was still a pain to deal with, especially inside. So, I had to step outside often to get some fresh air. The rain does have a positive effect of bringing out frogs. In fact, I managed to find three species of tree frog, and heard several more. These guys are so cool.

IMG_3973 IMG_3972 IMG_3977

I also managed to get in some birding and herping for lizards. One night, Erin and I walked along the edge of the jungle and beach at night and found an anole, though I don’t know what kind. The most frustrating part of the whole trip was finding all these new and awesome species of animals and not having any resources with which to identify them. This is the last time I travel without at least a bird guide.

A day after we returned, we got notice of a red alert for an aurora. We were still exhausted from travel, and I was going to blow it off, but just before bed, I stepped outside and saw one of the brightest light shows that we’ve had to the naked eye. I grabbed my camera and captured a few images. It was worth losing some sleep over.

Aurora Borealis

Erin got word that there were Mountain Lady’s Slippers in bloom at Idler’s Rest. So, one day, we headed into town with the dogs and went for a short walk through the park. We found the orchids that I have been searching after for the past four years.

Mountain Lady's Slipper

Last Thursday, I celebrated my 32nd birthday. Erin gave me the best present I ever have and will receive for a birthday. But I’ll save that for another post.