Monday, October 5, 2009

Hike from Ajijic to Las Trojes

Time had come for another hike in the mountains. We had met our neighbor, Manuel, some time ago but didn't know he liked to hike. We started talking and a date was set to hike from La Cristina over the 8000 foot ridge to a little rancho, Las Trojes, on the northside of the mountain range behind Ajijic.
On September 15, 2009, the three of us started out at 7 in the morning. We each had a small pack with food and drink and Manuel sported a machete which proved to come in very handy. When he was a boy, he used to hike this trail with his father and grandfather carrying huge packs with food to last for three months to their cornpatch near Las Trojes. He told us that he hadn't walked this trail in quite a few years and hoped to find it again.
We took the bus for a few miles west to La Cristina. As soon as we got off the bus we walked through some thicket along the highway and, sure enough, there was the trail heading toward the foothills. It was just getting light and it promised to be another beautiful Ajijic day. It had rained the night before but the water tends to soak right in and the trail was only slightly damp. During the rainy season it usually only rains at night, hardly ever do we have a rainy day.

At this time of year, the hills are lush and green.

The trail took us gradually up a long ridge into the Sierra las Vigas with incredible views toward the Lake Chapala.

View across Lake Chapala toward Mt. Garcia

Manuel, our friend, neighor and guide

Ferdy on the trail

Wildflowers were everywhere, especially in the higher altitudes

Wild marigolds grow everywhere

View toward the small settlements west of Ajijic.

Wild Dahlias

A welcome repast on the ridge

Did I say earlier that it never rains during the day in the rainy season? Well, as we were hiking along the foothills, the clouds were a welcome sight because they kept the temperature cool. By the time we got close to 7000 feet, those clouds got thicker and it started to drizzle. The drizzle turned into a steady rain. Fortunately, Ferdy and I had some flimsy rain ponchos that we always keep in our pack. Poor Manuel had nothing except his hat. At least, the foliage was very thick and by pausing for a while under some of the trees we didn't get completely soaked. Finally, when we reached the ridge, we were above the clouds and the sun started to peek out. The going on the trail was fairly rough.  Now we realized why Manuel brought his machete. He had to clear the trail for us as it was quite overgrown with underbrush.

More wild flowers.

After a great picnic of cold chicken, boiled chayotes, chiles, apples, plums and lots of liquids, we started our descend on the north side of the skyline toward the valley of Las Trojes. The vegetation changes on the north side. While the south facing slopes have very dense underbrush, the north face is more open. We walked through an airy oak forest and then came through a large area that had been replanted with pine saplings.Unfortunately, a wild brush fire last year burned most of the newly planted trees.

The Rancho of Las Trojes down in the valley.

Bushes and Wild Flowers blooming everywhere.

Almost there!

On the way to the village.

Riders are a common sight in the villages of Jalisco.

We arrived in Las Trojes around three in the afternoon ready for an ice cold cerveza. Unfortunately, we forgot that in most small towns and villages, everything closes between about two and four in the afternoon for lunch. We waited for about half an hour for the bus that took us to Jocotepec on the west end of Lake Chapala. After our long-awaited cold beer at the Plaza, we boarded another bus to take us back to Ajijic. While enjoying our cerveza, we noticed the clouds over the skyline getting pitch black. We had just left Jocotepec when the sky opened up and it poured so hard that our bus driver could barely see the road.
We were extremely lucky this didn't happen while we were still in the mountains. By the time we arrived back home, we were soaked to the bones!! Another wonderful adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment