Tuesday, February 28, 2012

El Zotz

One of our first adventures in Guatemala, still on the road with the white Mitsubishi listening to the name Dino, was a trip to the ruinas of El Zotz. What we intended to do was driving to El Zotz and from there up North-East towards the village and ruins of Uaxactun and than down to famous Tikal. See how that went... 

The north road of Lago de Peten Itza was a relatively easy drive, just some water puddles reminded us of the last couple of days that, despite "dry season" have been kind of wet.

Photo by Toni

The turn off north towards Camelita was easy to find.

A little later we turned off east on the road to El Zotz, at first it did not look too bad...

...than we had come to a very muddy area, where we stopped and decided to look on foot which of the many ways that cars before us have tried might suit us best.

Checking out the different pools, and we have decided on...

...a route. Since the Toyota is heavier than the Mitsubishi we have decided to let Dino go first, not that I would mess up the entire track with the approx. 3 tons of the Cruiser, making it impassable for the Mitsubishi, but...

...despite the lighter weight, Dino go stuck.

We got out all the gear, 4 sand boards, lets call them mud-boards instead, and my Habegger come-along winch.

We got stuck. Really good, that is.

Mud digging.

Felix at the wheel, the Diesel engine reeving up... 

Photo by Toni
...I am at the winch at the same time sweating it...

...slowly, slowly, spinning wheels and smoking engine the Mitsubishi is back on the boards...

Photo by Toni
...checking the situation and getting tension on the rope again...

...and soon after out of the mud.

Real happy. Real early!

Guatemalean wheel design.

The mud hole without the car in it...

...the wheel without the mud in it.

At this point we decided to go and explore the next couple of hundred meters on foot. Especially since some Guatemalen folks that came by on horse and on foot, said it was impossible to pass the road by car right now, due to the heavy rain of the last couple of days. 

Photo by Toni
In fact, we did not walk too far until we decided to rather turn around. That byitself was for sure a good decision, however it also meant getting Dino back on the other side. Yeah, again through the bitch of a mud hole. 

This time we took more time and preapred the way back better. We build somewhat of a bridge, supporting the boards with wood and stones, adjusting its width exactly to the Mitsubishi's axle. We also put the Land Cruiser in position to pull, while the Mitsubishi would drive with its own power. 

We did that in two steps and the first one was working well. We got two of the four boards out and started building the bridge further, back on our seats, Felix in the Mitsubishi, me in the blue truck pulling...

...and off it went, back into the mud. The ground was just too soft.

Digging again. 

In the rear it did not look too bad...

...compared to the front.

There were moments when it was not all that much fun anymore.

With united powers of the two Japanese trucks we got it out once more.

Final digging was...

...to get the gear out again.

On the way back it started raining heavily again...

...which we did not mind, since it got all the clay alike mud out of our cars wheel arches.

We headed back to the "Gringo Perdido" campground on the north shore of the lake. We cooked some food, and put all our gear out under a palapa roof to dry and fell into our beds.


  1. sounds like a year's hard work. you deserve a holiday and some R&R!