Wheelchairs Don’t Work in the Jungle


I was warned ahead of time that this trip to Central America was not for people in wheel chairs. After much wheedling I managed to convince Overseas Adventure Travel to allow me to go. I was also given notice that if I could not keep up I would have to return to the United States at my own expense.

Mike & Fred

This was not a big concern for me inasmuch as I had my buddy Mike Roszak along to assist me in navigating the four countries.

The daily routine of getting braces and shoes on everyday was a simple task and towards the end of the trip we could accomplish this in a matter of minutes. The real challenge was navigating the ancient Mayan Ruins in Copan Honduras. At times we had to leave the wheel chair and walker at the bottom of a route while Mike and Jaimie lifted me up over rocks and tree roots. Back tracking for the wheel chair and walker we were able to travel a short distance until the front wheel would hit a rock and almost pitch me forward out of the chair.

While this was a daunting task I was pleased that we made it through the day and I now had renewed confidence that whatever was in store for me I could handle it. Next event was a half day horseback ride into a local Mayan village. Riding a horse was the easy part, getting on and off was another matter. We spent time in the village visiting with the local children and handing out ALS bracelets.

Mayan Children

Luckily I had an understanding guide, Hector Franco, who upon observation deemed that I would able to participate in all the tours. Next tour, an extreme 8 zip line ride down a mountain side. That was the easy part, climbing to the top (over a mile of mossy rocks and jungle) was something I could not possibly make on my own. After a feeble attempt with the walker it was decided that a piggy back ride would be the most efficient mode of transportation.

Zip Line Adventure

Zip Line Adventure

Zip Line Adventure

Of all my extreme adventures this had to be the most difficult and I definitely overdid it.

I woke up the next morning thinking I could not possibly make another step, anywhere.

I told Franco that I would be satisfied to stay around the hotel while they visited the Mayan ruins in Tikal, Guatemala. Franco would not hear of this and convinced me that this was a tour not to be missed.

Copan Myan Ruins

Tikal Ruins

Temple 1 Tikal, Guatemala

Thanks to Franco and his knowledge of the obstacles I would have to overcome he did a fantastic job of arranging for help in getting me around without slowing down the group. A special thanks to all my travel companions who gracefully accepted me in spite of my physical limitations.

Once again I have learned that you will never know what you can accomplish unless you take that first step.

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