On Saturday, November 18, we said our goodbyes (for now) to our host families in San Juan La Laguna and made our way to the department capital of Solola. We all hopped on a small but fast boat to go across El Lago de Atitlan to a town called Panajachel. After eating an amazing lunch of pupusas at an El Salvadorian restaurant in Panajachel, we took a crowded and noisy 20 minute public chicken bus ride to Solola. That day, there was a cultural music festival in the town square, which included traditional mayan artwork, a concert with traditional mayan music and music from other Latin American countries, and an experimental theatre performance. After attending the festival for a few hours, we had dinner at a restaurant in the town square. The weather is starting to get cooler as we are reaching higher altitudes. The next day, we went on a windy and bumpy six hour bus ride to Todos Santos, a town in the Chuchumatanes mountain range in the Huehuetenango department. This is where the trek will begin. Tomorrow, the group (except for me) will do a day hike of about 6 hours to La Torre, which is 3,830 meters above sea level. This is almost the highest non-volcanic point in Central America. Afterwards, the group will stay in Todos Santos for one more night. The next day, we will eat breakfast in Todos Santos, and then hike 5 hours to a tiny town called Siete Pinos, where we will eat dinner and sleep for the night. Fortunately, even though I cannot hike with the rest of group, I can still take transportation and meet with the group at the designated lodging each day. The next day, we will eat breakfast in Siete Pinos, then go on a 6 hour trek to Laguna Magdalena, where we will eat dinner and sleep for the night. This will be our last full day of trekking. We will be passing through a few indigenous mayan communities including the Mam and Ixil communities, where we will learn about their history. The next day, after eating breakfast at Laguna Magdalena, we will hike for a few more hours to meet up with the bus that will take us back to San Juan La Laguna, where we will stay with our homestays for one more night before taking a boat to a lakeside community called San Lucas Toliman for our expedition phase! Don’t worry about me. While everyone is hiking, I will have some special activities to do with Juancho, which will involve interviewing local mayan peoples about their struggles and sharing our findings with the group.