Don Oscar navigates the boat across Lago de Petén Itza as the group of archaeologists begin their two-day trek towards El Mirador.
All the gear for more than a dozen travelers is packed into burlap sacks and tied to mules.
The mules are loaded with as much as 80 pounds of gear and supplies and covered with tarps to protect from the elements.
Don Oscar leads the way to the start of La Ruta Turistica (Tourist route) to El Mirador.
The trail wound its way approximately 50 miles, spaced over two days. The first day was approximately 5.5 hours of walking the second day about 8 hours.
Workers sift through lot 108.L at El Mirador site. Every recognized pottery shard, tool fragment and other identifiable evidence of former human existence at a site is bagged and tagged for cataloguing.
Dr. Richard Hansen, director of the Mirador Basin Project at Structure 34.
Structure 34, seen here, was the first site that Hansen worked on in 1978.
Trek to Mirador
Work to clear the top of La Danta, the tallest structure at El Mirador, continues. Hansen's desire is to have the majority of this structure cleared of vegetation and dirt.
The Petén forest looking south from the top of La Danta.
At El Mirador Basin camp workers can choose from English (see here) and Spanish classes, as many workers are native Q'eqchi speakers. Q'eqchi is an indigenous Mayan language spoken throughout Petén.
Listening to lessons in English.
Open areas of grass mark the places south of Carmelita where the rainforest has been cut down to make grazing pastures for farmers.
A horse runs behind a motorcycle carrying two men in the dirt road out of Carmelita towards Flores.
The two-day trek to El Mirador and the three-day stay was our introduction as a group to Petén, Guatemala.