In the Jungle, the mighty Jungle...

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North America » Mexico » Chiapas » Lacandon Jungle
February 20th 2011
Published: June 29th 2011
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Mini meeting before the hike
The lion sleeps toniiiiiight!... Ok, there's no lions around, but there are jaguars... dun dun duuuun! Didn't meet any today, much to my disappointment... the head tour guide today told us that one group he took through the jungle saw a few and high-tailed it. I would have taken 100 pictures, after fumbling with my camera for a bit out of excitement. One other thing, this is our last day in the jungle so no chance of me ever seeing one. -sigh-

Anywho, today my group was the one who went hiking while the other group had their 'free day'. The hike wasn't as bad as I was thinking it might be, the path well shaded and not a whole lot of uphill climbing. We had two guides, one in front and one at the tail end of the group (the head guy is the uncle of the guy behind us). As we were going along, the guide would stop at various key spots to point out various flora that were important for the indigenous people, such as the tree that was previously mentioned to be helpful for curing the runs, and one of the types of flowers

Off we go!
used for natural dyes.

The one tree that stood out to me (besides the matapalo tree, which strangles its host tree as it grows) is the one that is called the ceiba tree. The ceiba tree is quite tall, with what seems like a flawless trunk (white bark, quite straight, almost like a cement pole). It's held in high regard by the Mayans, as it is believed that it reaches into the heavens (not sure if I remember correctly, but it's also believed that 'God' lives in the tree tops) and its roots connect into the underworld. It is said that when a ceiba tree fell, that a star fell because that particular tree was no longer holding up it's part of the sky. So, if you see one falling, you can say that the sky is falling!

After what seemed to me to be forever, we finally arrived at the swimming spot where a few of us decided to park ourselves, while the rest continued through the challenging stretch of the path. It was fun having to change without a proper change room, some of us holding up towels for the others to change behind.

I wanted to jump right in but we had to be hand guided by the remaining guide to the safer pools to swim in. . . . FISHIIIIES! I know, for most people, fish are every day things that aren't the most exciting to have around... but you have to admit, they can be quite attractive to look at. These particular fish, the ones that were in highest number, had a nice rainbow sheen to it. I wanted desperately to take pictures but my camera isn't waterproof and I couldn't afford to buy a waterproof cover (though if I did have that kind of money, I might as well have just bought myself a waterproof camera). They nibble, occasionally taking a nice big bite out of you which hurts for such a small fish.

There was at least one other kind of fish that I saw a few of, much bigger than the rest, which was greyish with black stripes. I tried stalking them but they hid in places where I couldn't stare at them. By the way, the water here is pretty clear which is nice 😊 and nicely lit.

Shortly after diving into the water, I was encouraged to join the others for their mud bath. I didn't care too much for that activity, since I find my skin soft enough, but I participated anyways. It was hard waiting for the mud to dry up before washing it off, because I just wanted to go diving and stalking the fish. Once the mud dried up (at least enough for me), I just dove right back into the water. The pools were kind of small but at least there wasn't a strong current pushing me around. At one point, I dove down and started heading up to the surface for a breath of air when... -BUMP!- Ow... Bumped my head off of a big branch that was right above my head in the water).

Eventually I stopped stalking fish because I was starting to get rather cold and I wasn't warming up to the water like I thought I would, after spending quite some time in it. So, I joined some of the others in sitting on the edge of the pools, before heading back to shore and wrapping myself in something warm..

The rest of the group returned

Not sure if you can tell but there's flowers in this pic and they're one of the types that they use to make natural dyes with :)
some time later, and went in to have their mud bath and fun in the water. At one point, the guide that returned went climbing up into a tree and perched himself on a tree branch. Some of my classmates thought he was crazy and were worried some misfortune will befall him. While the pools were deep enough to swim in, they weren't exactly big let alone deep enough to dive from up high... or so we thought. I wasn't worried as it didn't seem like his uncle was worried, and he didn't seem worried, so why should I be worried? I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be the first time he went diving into these pools from the top of a tree.

After a moment of nervous waiting, he dropped out of the tree into the pool. Some of my classmates didn't even want to watch, in case he made a painful, if not fatal, mistake. I didn't record it in video, though I almost wish I did. All I had was a picture of him still perched in the tree, and I can't even find him; even in person I could hardly see him amongst the mess
Cornfield in the LacandonCornfield in the LacandonCornfield in the Lacandon

An all natural corn field in the middle of nowhere :D bit hard to tell... I have to point it out sometimes ;o
of branches. At the very least, I should have taken advantage of my camera setting that lets me take a series of pictures in rapid succession. That... would have been awesome.

Wait for it... wait for iiit... Score!

He dove out of the tree and went smoothly into the pool below without a big splash. Such courage! Such talent!

I went back into the pools a short time later until we had to leave, which was a big mistake I must say. Not only did I have to hike all the way back out of the jungle with everyone else, but we had to continue hiking all the way to where we were having lunch which was quite a distance. I had such a hard time keeping up with just about everyone else (only a couple stragglers like me) because I swam myself to death. Along the way we saw a small lizard camouflaged with its perch, but I didn't take a picture of it which maybe I should have, considering how few wildlife I've seen.

Trying to keep up with the main group along the path was fun, considering how many roots

Ceiba tree base
were sticking out of the ground and such. After who-knows-how-many trips I had along the way, I eventually had my great fall. Awkward, but at least nobody saw the fall in process.

Rest of the day was uneventful, and once again, no dinner. How am I supposed to work my appetite back up again if I can't get my three meals?


Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


The Great Ceiba TreeThe Great Ceiba Tree
The Great Ceiba Tree

The top of the ceiba tree where you can kind of see a platform up there..

Our swimming location :)

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