Friday, August 23, 2019

Trek to El Mirador Part Two: Learning to Walk




I am back from “La Caminata”, my trek to the depths of the Guatemalan jungle to explore the ancient Maya ruins of El Mirador. We walked more than 100 kms in the heat of summer, climbed endless pyramids and somewhere along the way, I discovered my own strengths and the power I hold over my own happiness. The jungle is my Emerald City of the Wizard of Oz, the trek to El Mirador was my search for courage, knowledge and love. This was not my goal, not the expected result, but a wonderful side effect of an adventurous and difficult journey.

*In case you missed it: Trek to El Mirador part one

Trek to El Mirador Part Two: Learning How to Walk Again

When I last left you, I was riding in a beat-up pick-up being driven by Gabriel, smiling and singing “Vuela Vuela” to myself like a crazy person. A content crazy person. We’re on our way to the last village before the jungle walk starts, Carmelita. Teena is in the back of the truck with our guides Miguel and Abel, Abel is carrying a birthday cake for a little girl in the village, quite a feat on these bumpy roads! Abel is the quiet hero in a few of our jungle tales.

Carmelita kitchen
Two neck-wrenching dirt road hours later, we arrive in Carmelita, thank Gabriel and give ourselves a good stretch as we head to breakfast. We pass colourful weather-beaten huts and skinny dogs and we are drawn by the delicious smell of the burning lena and FOOD. We’ve been traveling for about 5 hours by now and we are starving! Breakfast was delicious, all the food on this trip was amazing! Fresh air, wood fires and an appetite turn even scrambled eggs into a divine creation.

After successfully navigating the obstacle course of chickens and dogs to use the outhouse, we washed up with rain water and went to find our horses. First a little stop to feed puppies. Teena asks me to take her picture with cute pup, cute pup bites Teena’s finger and draws blood. Bad puppy! We get Teena cleaned up and bandaged and it is time to rock, rabies or not.

Bad puppy!
We’ve been up since 4 am, our van broke down so we’re running late and we don’t hit the trail until about 10:30 am, really behind schedule. We are excited though and happily trot along like the heat is nothing. Midday sun and inexperienced jungle walkers full of adrenaline. You want heat stroke? Cuz that’s how you get heat stroke. I started to feel a little tired and I pushed. And I drank water and pushed more. I didn’t want to say anything as I didn’t want to slow us down! Finally after a big hill I said “Yo, I need a rest” and Miguel said we would stop at the next good shady spot. I pushed on for a few more minutes then I just couldn’t, I said “This is a good spot” and fell/sat down. (On our return trip Abel officially named the hill “Colina Mata Kelly”, so that is cool. I think.)

My ears were ringing, my heart racing and my vision was fading in and out. Dumb girl! I was mortified, totally embarrassed and trying not to puke to make it worse. Miguel and Abel got me some Gatorade and cookies and Abel even used a fallen palm leaf to fan me like a princess. My heart-rate returned to normal and we talked about learning to walk the pace of the jungle. To slow down, to listen to our bodies and la selva. We don’t have to get there fast, we just have to get there.

Vibing with the jungle ommmmm

I mounted the horse so we could keep moving, closed my eyes and just inhaled and exhaled slowly. I started to listen to the jungle sounds, feel the movements of the horse and the pull of the trail and just relaxed. I heard a flute in the distance behind me and thought there must be hikers nearby. I heard it again but closer and off to the left, strange. My eyes are open and scanning the thick jungle but all I see is green. The next time I hear it like a whisper in my right ear and I ask the group if anyone else hears music. Nope. Just me. Must be hallucinating. Heat stroke you know. Miguel tells me there is an alux dedicated to making music and for the rest of the trip I hear his melodies. And it makes me smile still to think of it.

The next time Teena needed a break (before melting down, smart girl), I got off the horse to walk with a new feeling. Listening and vibing with the jungle, I changed the way I walked, not forcing my pace on the place, relaxing my muscles and taking smaller, slower steps, letting the trail tell me where to step w,ith confidence, without hurry or fear. Fear, anxiety and excitement all feel the same in the gut, I decided to let excitement take over and from that moment the walk was a million times easier. No stress about keeping up or fear of falling down, just excited to keep moving forward.
Hearing alux music

We arrived at our camp much later that afternoon. It was the hardest day, really hard. Physically, mentally, emotionally tough. We were exhausted, we had pushed through some killer heat and tough hills and trails but we had made it. I thought I would want to just crash out for the next few hours but the jungle gave us a boost and the camp gave us a breather so we set off to explore and climb a pyramid! The jungle energy is a magical thing!

End part two.

El Tintal in our next episode

Coming up, El Tintal: Jungle Camp on the El Mirador Trek Guatemala.









1 comment:

GKK said...

Enjoying and looking forward to next episode

D is for Dengue, Depression and Dread

I'm currently sitting in my Cancun apartment, staving off the Covid 19 panic and using all my Jungle Kelly powers to maintain my cal...