A continuing series on my expedition to the depths of the Guatemala jungle to visit El Mirador with Teena Clipston and Mike's Expeditions Guatemala, please see the first installments here:Part One: Trek to El Mirador
Part Two: Learning How to Walk Again
|My journal. That could say "unreal" or "surreal", both are appropriate.|
We arrived in Tintal after a long, hot, HOT HOT HOT day of travel, we'd been on the go for twelve hours, six of those walking. Obviously the first thing we do is climb to the top of a pyramid. I was recovering from my first bout of heat exhaustion but there was no way I was going to miss this chance! Suck it up buttercup, I climbed (very very slowly) to the top, recorded the above video and promptly vomited red Gatorade on to the ancient structure. My sacrifice to the gods of the temple. Our plan to eat a snack and watch the sunset from the top of the pyramid was foiled when a sly fox stole our sandwiches. We forgive you Swiper.
Abel cooked us up a delicious meal in the rustic kitchen, we got set up in our tent and we crashed out hard after a snake and bug check. I heard my first howler monkey at about 3 am, the roar/bark/growl woke me up and I was DELIGHTED. The "chicharras" were so loud it was difficult to go back to sleep, but I managed a couple more hours of rest before we got up with the sun and the smell of the breakfast fire for another day of jungle trekking.
|Stuck a feather in my cap and called it an existential moment|
This was a really good day. A marvelous day, a magnificent wonderful and tremendous day! We had learned our lessons from the first jaunt of jungle walking and we found our groove. We vibed with the jungle and found ITS pace, not rushed, not hurried, just....grooving. I was breathing deep, the untainted oxygen filling my lungs and purifying my soul. I noticed that I was walking differently, chest held high, shoulders back and I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. My steps were more confident and I found myself striding through the jungle feeling like royalty,
Suddenly, there was an entire novel in my head. A whole story laid out for me that I could feel in my skin just bursting to get out! I've never had an experience quite like this, a creative rush of joy. I was walking ahead of the group, threw my arms wide and turned my face to the sky and said out loud "I am a queen!" In that moment I WAS a Mayan virgin stolen from her village to be brought to the snake king of El Mirador for marriage. Or is she to be sacrificed? You'll have to read the book.
|La Muerta - Death|
Trek to the death! Well, we trekked to "La Muerta", the first group of structures of El Mirador! We'd been walking for about five hours, me writing a novel in my head while listening to Alux music and out of the jungle she appears! We were energized and excited, the videos are mostly us saying "HOLY SHIT" over and over again. There are two structures here, we entered one dating from 350 BC that used to be a mausoleum below and a residence above. The other structure was built about 150 years later, during the height of Tikal's civilization. Holy shit.
|Chingona con Sandia|
With renewed vim and vigor, we strutted (seriously strutted like John Travolta Saturday Night Fever in the Jungle) the last 45 minutes to the camp at El Mirador. We made it! High fives all around, watermelon slices for everyone and a well-deserved rest in a hammock. The sense of pride and accomplishment I felt is something I never want to forget. I must remember this moment. In this moment, I am a bad-ass, hardcore, chingona, I can do anything woman. With a big ass feather in my cap.
Next up: El Mirador, La Danta and....a date?