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getting my feet muddy again

I head towards Calakmul, not primarily to see the ruins, but to enter the jungle again. Calakmul is 60 kilometres off the main highway, deep in the wilderness. I am slowed to a snail’s pace on the ride in by my recent purchase of a field guide to Mexican birds. I am halted every few metres by the appearance of new feathered friends – trogons, manikins, creepers – in all shapes, sizes and colours.

When I finally arrive I wander about the ruins and then set up camp to one side of the car park.

I am so blase about Mayan ruins by now that the only photo I took while wandering around Calakmul was of this lichen spot.

My plan is to ride back to the highway via a dirt road through the jungle and I have been quizzing people about this possibility.  The trouble with gathering information in Mexico is that people make up quite improbable stories. Some people tell me the track – which is clearly marked on my map – doesn’t exist, others tell me it hasn’t been cleared for twenty-one years and everyone agrees that idea is absurd. However, eventually, I find it and set off.

Setting off into the jungle.

I pass some mysterious but distinctly non-Mayan ruins deep in the jungle.

They road turns out to have been quite recently cleared but the going is pretty rough. ‘Cleared’ is a relative term: the track has, in fact, been roughly slashed by hand and vines and sticks find tentacle like ways to wrap themselves around the bike to immobilise it. It is after about 40 kilometres – a distance that it takes me most of a day to complete –  when I hit mud, that I am defeated. I struggle on for a while but I have no clear idea of how far it is to the next settlement and I am unsure if my food and water supply will hold out. Also traces of various encampments are apparent at intervals alongside the track along with jumbled footprints left in the mud which seem to indicate relatively large groups of people have recently passed this way on foot. The proximity to the Guatemalan border makes  me think of illegal immigrants and I would prefer not to encounter them in such an isolated place. So, reluctantly, I turn back and return the way I came.

It looks relatively innocuous but...

... that mud is sticky as hell.

... and I am soon thoroughly coated with it, not to mention covered in bites and scratches.

{ 2 } Comments

  1. zanny | December 1, 2010 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    The lichen spot is perfect!

  2. Charles | February 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly the trek I wanted to do a few years ago and am still interested in doing. I made it as far as Calakmul but ran out of time. The reserve there is full of wildlife! Seems like that road you were following may lead to the ruins of Mirador?

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