Temples Deep within the Jungle
Trip Start Feb 24, 2012
20Trip End Apr 05, 2012
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It seemed like we walked forever til we finally found a temple. We started on the outskirts of the park and worked our way in so we could build up to the best temple. The outer temples are some of the more recent temples found that are still being uncovered. It shows how the forest has taken over by covering the temples with dirt and roots from trees growing over hundreds of years.
The next temple used to be a courtyard where people lived. Dennis and I went through tunnels and arch ways that would have been the structure of their day to day lives. It kept reminding us of The Jungle Book and where the monkey king sang with all the other monkeys.
As we made our way into the center we came across the main courtyard of Tikal where we were surrounded by enormous temples. Temples were tall in order to be closer to the gods and give them sacrifices. Different kings would build taller Temples to out shine a past king.
Temple 1 is one of the first temples uncovered and is the only temple with a king still buried within. People used to be able to climb to the top, but several people have slipped and died. Temple 2 faces Temple 1 and is slightly taller.
We climbed to the top via a steep staircase along the side of the temple that made Dennis and I cautious of each step we took. From the top we could look over the main courtyard and see other temples peak out of the jungle in the distance.
Dennis and I seemed to always spot the wild life. We saw wild turkey, peacocks, snakes, a dead tiranchala, and then a trail of fire ants that had made a ant high way through the forest by clearing the leaves out of their way. As we made our way to another part of the park we were surprised by a small spider monkey playing just above our heads. It was like he was showing off for us.
Some of the most recent Temples discovered were called The Lost World because it was a city within itself of temples dating back to 900 BC. We were able to climb the front of the temples to the top, but many of the temples were still being uncovered. There was even some men at work uncovering parts of a temple like you see on Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones.
One of the last temples we climbed was Temple 4 which is the tallest of them all at 74 meters high. It took forever to climb and once we got to the top we could see as far as the jungle went and all the temples scattered throughout. We were so high that when we looked down we couldn't see the bottom because the tops of the trees covered the ground below us. I usually don't have a problem with heights, but this seemed to have an effect on me. Dennis was fine though, even to the extent that he pretended to fall only there was a step just below him. I didn't think it was that funny.
As we worked our way back to the front of the park we saw the difference from the morning fog and the afternoon sun. The temples were much more prominent in the sun and we were able to see all the details we had missed in the fog.
Dennis and I were just blown away by Tikal and how a civilization before the knowledge of the wheel or tools were able to build an empire that almost touches the sky. It's inspiring to think that with determination someone can accomplish the impossible.
Til another day,
Nicole and Dennis