Hey Dragons Families!
I hope you are doing well and I am happy to inform you that your Guatemalan loved ones DID survive a 65km trek through the jungle this past weekend. Let me clarify, it was not at all easy. Your loved one was pushed entirely out of their comfort zone. I cried massive amount of tears of joy upon finishing this 3 day long journey.
It all began Friday morning. We woke up at 5am, jumped on a bus, and drove to the beginning of our trek. Despite the daunting task ahead of us, our spirits were high. By 9am we were walking. We walked, and walked and walked, stopping only to enjoy the beauty and rare nature around us. We walked until we could not physically walk anymore, and then we walked some more. Needless to say we promptly fell asleep at 8:15pm that evening.
Day 2. Feet sore. Tears heightened. That night brought sounds of the jungle and many of us realized we were invading the space of many dangerous animals: snakes, jaguars, tarantulas, and most terrifying of all….ANTS! Trust me on this one. Regardless we trekked on. That morning, after 3 hours of sweating an ungodly amount, we saw a view few are lucky to see. The Mayan temple complex of El Sotz (The Bats) is buried in thousands of years of jungle. I am not exaggerating when I say the view from the top was BREATH TAKING! I was already out of breath from hiking up the steep hill, but this truly took the cake. I am sure your loved one will spare no detail when describing this place.
Shockingly, this was not our final destination. That afternoon brought another 4 hours of grueling trekking. As we marched on, our “trail” became increasingly narrow. We were slowly being suffocated by the jungle, and sometimes our guide’s machete could only clear the path. Arriving at our campsite was better than Christmas morning and our pasta dinner reminded us a little of home.
Day 3. Miserably awoken at 5am for an early start. 20km left. Only 6 hours until we (hopefully) reached the end, Tikal. Within 30 minutes one of our members sprained her ankle. Two other members already need to opt out due to sickness (everyone is well now). We all reached times where we thought we knew we could not continue…and yet, we DID! Partially because we had no choice. But more importantly, I think a small voice in each of us pushed us towards the pride and accomplishment that came with completing the trek. Personally, I only managed to survive channeling my mom’s incredible strength and my dad’s inspiring will power. I can’t wait for my dad to give me a bone crushing hug as he exuberantly expresses how proud he is of me. I equally await my mom’s gentle embrace, as we silently acknowledge how crazy I was for doing this.
That last day was easily the most challenging, as our blisters hurt the most and our faith was the lowest. But we all made it. We have all officially done something that very few people have achieved. Your loved ones are all very strong, positive, and appreciative people, who have only become more amazing through this experience. I am lucky to have met them. And trust me, the reward at the end of the trek, the Tikal temples, were 100% worth all the pain.