Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Ixtlahuacan Adventure According to Ferdy

Pipe Dream’s October 2009 Newsletter or Jutta’s depressed, Ferdy cheated Death one-mo Time!

Jutta and I are back with a vengeance! When you get old you start getting forgetful. I forgot how to write. After constant pestering from “you know who” I decided it was time for an update from the zany crew of Pipe Dream. In the last newsletter, 6 months ago, yikes, I told you Jutta had made another one of many attempts on my life by taking me on a pilgrimage to Talpa (31 miles, 30 hours walking through rugged mountains) looking for a virgin! I’ll try to keep this update short but as you can probably guess, our journeys are never dull. We never did find that virgin!
Jutta and I finally made it into the big money, liv’n like the idle rich, clipping coupons, light’n cigars with $100.00 bills. Yes, you guessed it? The Eagle has finally shit at my house. Jutta and I are riding the social security gravy train. I didn’t know the government wrote checks that big? We knew there was a recession on and it was time to get on the government dole while there was still some money left.
Contrary to journeys we have taken on the sailboat, we have now discovered the fun of short trips to discover places in Mexico. We also traveled back to California and Arizona for two weddings in May. Jutta’s oldest son Brandon got married in San Diego, and my nephew Matt got married in Tubac, Arizona. What a stroke of luck - both weddings within three weeks.
Jutta and I have enjoyed many one day trips and weekends in Guadalajara. Being Mexico’s second largest city it has lots to offer. There are wonderful concerts, museums, sight seeing, glorious gourmet restaurants, etc. and all about 40 miles from our home.

 For those of you reading this in Yuma that’s less than a 6-pack ride. We have traveled to many small villages in the surrounding mountains and took a 3 day trip to Morelia and places nearby with friends from Ajijic.

As you can see, Jutta won’t let me nap in the afternoon, or sit in the porch swing and watch the grass grow. We don’t have a porch swing or grass anyway! Jutta convinced me to sign up for the local gym and I’ve been abused there on a daily basis. She just recently bought a wonderful book called “Walks and Trails around Ajijic.” That should have been my first indication she was up to something again. The book is broken down into different categories: “Ajijic village walks” - admiring the beautiful homes, murals and scenery that the village has to offer. “Novice hikes” - I’m sure these are for folks in my age category who would rather hike to a cantina with a great happy hour rather than a steep hill covered with trees and brush. “Intermediate hikes” - I am sure these are wonderful cardio workouts for younger people in great condition. And then we go on to the final category. “Advanced hikes”. Most of these descriptions and I can swear to that, were originally written in the blood of past lost hiking expeditions. They just had to transfer the blood to ink to put these hikes in print.
Yes, you guessed it. Jutta started at the wrong end of the book and we were off on the advanced hiking section. We got up from our very comfortable, safe, cozy, warm bed at 6 AM and caught the early bus on the road to Guadalajara to a town called Ixtlahuacan. This is an Indian name meaning “many stupid hikers start here and die”!! Our guide book says the elevation gain is 2500 feet to the top of one of the mountains which peaks at 8000 feet. I don’t know the name of this mountain, but if I named it they would not let me print it in this newsletter.

I had to crawl under a cow fence because the gate was locked.

 It took us three hours through the most beautiful country you have ever seen to reach the peak and antenna at the 8000 foot level. We stayed for a while and marveled at the panorama of Guadalajara to the north and Lake Chapala to the south.

Still in good spirits with my good buddy and neighbor Manuel

 Blossoms at 8000 feet   

Looking north toward Ixtlahuacan, looking south toward Lake Chapala.

 We had a great picnic lunch and lots of water. It wasn’t a religious experience but for some reason I did feel like I was attending Ferdy’s last supper.

After we ate and rested we crossed to the other side of the mountain. We were anxious to hike down to Ajijic and home. The guide book said 2 ½ hours, all down hill, or so Jutta said. I’m going to read that chapter later when she is not around. Well, we couldn’t find the trail down and got thoroughly lost. We walked up and down mountains for another 8 hours. During the rainy season these mountains are densely covered with trees and brush. Unless someone has cut a path with a machete or you can find a cattle trail it’s tough to get through it. We finally arrived at the main road just before it got dark. We left at dark and arrived home at dark. Much to Jutta’s dismay I cheated death once more. I have already put together a survival kit to take next time. A liter of Tequila, 6 limes and a hammock. Who could ask for more and what could be more lifesaving?
That’s all for now. I’ll live to hike another day. All kidding aside, retirement life in Mexico is like living in paradise. Most of Mexico’s problems you hear about are on the border. Stop watching CNN! Please send your dollars to the “Help Jutta kill Ferdy in the Mountains Fund”. A dollar a day keeps Ferdy away!
Adios, from the shores of Lake Chapala
Ferdy and Jutta

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