Where did the adventure, Walking from Cancun to Belize, take you and your father?
6/1/10 Asked by Chaa Creek staff: Where did the adventure, Walking from Cancun to Belize, take you and your father?
It took us to every small pueblo on the Yucatan Mayan Coast. Puerto Morelos to Playa del Carmen, then Playa del Carmen to Tulum, then Tulum to the private island of Santa Rosa, then Punta Herrero to Majahual, then Majahual to XCalak, as well as Punta Allen, Xcacel, Carrillo Puerto, Rio Indio and Placer. Each year we hiked 120 (200km) miles in 8 days until we reached Belize. Last week is when we finished and walked from Majahaul to XCalak (40 miles/66km), then by boat went to Belize, hiked Ambergris Caye….then went inland to Chaa Creek, that is when you found us. It took 5 weeks and a total of 500 miles (833 km).
At one point we had to build a raft out of primitive materials such as an old pallet washed ashore, a floating log and palm fronds to get across an inlet in MX.
Another time (just this past week) we slept in a fisherman’s shed/shack on a lawn chair with no cushion. During this time, in 36 hours, we only had 1 bottles of water, 1 bottle of soda, 2 handfuls of nuts and a fried fish, while hiking in 110 degrees F with an 18 pound backpack. At this fisherman’s home on the coast, he had a family–3 children, ages 3, 7 and 8 who did not speak any English and my father speaks no Spanish. We taught them how to play hopscotch, tic tac toe, hangman, hide the toy and we read Spanish children’s books together. I gave them all Maine post cards; when we woke up the next morning from their shed, the little girl Leslie, age 7, was waiting for me at their kitchen table in the sand with an empty chair beside her with her post cards in her hands. It was an awesome experience—my National Geographic moment. This adventure also took us to 2 ruins on a private island, Santa Rosa, MX, not visited by most tourists, Chac Mool and Tupac, as well as hiking along the cliffs at Tulum!
We never made any reservations, and only stayed in local hotels, cabanas, beach or whatever we could find. We only ate trail mix, whatever the local people could give us (tortillas or fruit), small local restaurants or fried fish. For water, we had 2-3 bottles of water until the next pueblo, when that ran out we opened wild coconuts to drink,
or asked locals, if there were any along the way, to give us a drink. The last 50 miles I decided to donate to cancer research and the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health. I am the lab manager and safety officer at the Institute and raised over $1300.
My dad is 65 and I am 42. These posts are on my blog, http://foundworldofquintanaroo.blogspot.com/ in story form (except for this year, which I will work on in the next 2 weeks), and pictures and maps. My favorite posts on the website and that seem to be the most popular are titled: The Raft, Thank you to the People on the Mayan Coast, Obstacles, the River Crossing 2010 and Daily Routine. I am also working on a book.
Chaa Creek was a wonderful experience and change from walking on the beach for 500 miles. I enjoyed every minute of the Macal River Camp. It is clean, well organized, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable and personable and the jungle is very enchanting and mysterious. The River Camp caretaker, Docio and his wife are great cooks! My favorite adventures at Chaa Creek were the night jungle hike, the Macal River canoe trip with my Dad, exploring the Xunantunich ruins, the Mopan River crossings on one of the last crank bridges in Central America, and the $3.50 usd local chicken bus ride across Belize to get to Chaa Creek! However, my favorite activity was listening to the sounds of the jungle at night while sleeping in the cabin, especially the cicadas and howler monkeys. My other favorite experiences were seeing the green eyes of the wolf spiders at night, the tarantulas, and the leaf cutter ants. It was my first experience in a real jungle. While canoeing upstream in the canoe on Macal River with my Dad (without a guide), we brought an inner tube with us from the Chaa Creek lodge and I floated back down in the tube in the rapids while my Dad paddled the canoe! And by the way, glad to see your canoes are from Old Town, Maine!! I literally live right beside the Old Town Canoe factory!
I would highly recommend this eco-resort.
© 2010 Wendy Morrill. All rights reserved. You may not modify, reproduce or redistribute any part of this article without the expressed written consent of the author.
Wendy Morrill, Lab Manager
Maine Institute for Human Genetics & Health
246 Sylvan Road
Bangor, ME 04401