Sunday, July 7, 2019

El Mirador, Guatemala from Cancun: Expedition Just Got Real

La Danta Pyramid, El Mirador, Guatemala

It all started with a Facebook post. "Huge Adventure Opportunity: El Mirador, Guatemala". It caught my attention immediately as I love a good jungle adventure AND I had just watched "Expedition Unknown: The Lost Tomb of the Snake King" for the millionth time. Host Josh Gates (my imaginary TV boyfriend) charmed and tempted me with the world of El Mirador and Teena's post lit my adventure pilot light and I replied "PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME".  In a more adult and professional manner of course. I sent her my info, explained why I should go with and went to sleep with dreams of pyramids and howler monkeys in my head.

And here we are, 32 weeks later and I've just purchased my first pair of snake gaiters and am getting ready for the adventure of a lifetime. I know everybody says that about their journeys but seriously, this is not a experience you can just book on Expedia. This is 2 days on buses through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala then a 6 day trek into the jungle, walking 2 days to get in to El Mirador and two days walking out, repeat return bus journey. Teena has hooked us up with super guide Miguel Enrique Manzanero Campos who will be leading us on this trek. There are no roads to the archaeological site (preventing looters) so getting there is an adventure in its own right, hiking approximately 60 kms through untouched jungle in summer, it's going to be hot, there are going to be bugs and there are going to be snakes. BRING IT ON.

Excited about snake gaiters!

So, why visit Guatemala? Why go to such extremes to visit El Mirador? How do you get to El Mirador Guatemala? Will I get ticks in my coochie? Is it safe for a single woman to travel in Guatemala? Aren't you too old for this crazy stuff? I'm going to do my best to answer all these questions and more in upcoming posts. The personal reasons why I am doing this may change by the time I finish the trek, my answers are waiting in the jungle. My mission right now is to get in shape, come up with some money, get to the site and capture photos and videos along the way. Any "Eat, Pray, Love" spiritual revelations will be a bonus.

My "Eat, Pray, Love" trip to Veracruz

The ultimate goal and reason for the trip is to meet with Dr. Richard Hansen, an archaeology rock star and the driving force behind the exploration, investigation and conservation of the Mirador Basin. Please check out Teena's post about our El Mirador, Guatemala expedition for an in depth look at what we will be investigating on this journey. It is an absolute honour for Teena to be invited by Dr. Hansen and I am super grateful to be able to tag along and be a part of this adventure. History, nature, culture and adventure, I'm going to kick butt on the "What I did on my summer vacation" homework.

Dr. Richard Hansen and Josh Gates
photo courtesy Josh Gates 

I am so incredibly excited about this trip, I get butterflies thinking about it. The countdown to the first overnight bus to Belize from Cancun is ON. Teena and I are two bad ass women "around 50" and we are ready to rock the adventure and bring home incredible stories, videos and photos of this once in a lifetime El Mirador expedition. We still have some equipment to buy and some payments to make to our guide, if you feel compelled to contribute to our journey and can help in any way (really, $10 USD goes a long way in Guatemala), please make donations to my Paypal or contact me via email with sponsorship opportunities or commissioned work. We are super grateful for donations and opportunities to contribute content to your magazine or website!

Dr. Richard Hansen and Morgan Freeman in Guatemala.
photo courtesy GlobalConservation
Are you tempted? Would you like to come along? We have room for more on the El Mirador trek with Miguel, drop a line to Teena Clipston or myself ASAP and let's see if we can make it work!

Look for my El Mirador Guatemala Trek posts coming soon, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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