Sunday, January 20, 2008

Switchback

I have returned from hiking in the mountains, and man am I exhausted/sore. We headed out from the Mercado de Abastos early Saturday morning, arrived at Llano Grande in the Sierra Norte mountains around 11am, ate some lunch, and proceeded to hike for about 4 hours. After dinner, we headed to our brick cabins (with beds and running water!), and roasted marshmallows in the fireplace and chatted before sleeping quite poorly because, well, it's rather cold in the mountains. We departed at about 8:45 the next morning after eating breakfast and hiked to Benito Juarez (everything here is named that) for about three hours (6.6 Km or so). We then ate lunch and caught a bus back to Oaxaca.

I don't think I truly appreciated the fact that Oaxaca is situated in the Valley of Oaxaca until this trip; on the bus ride I gazed around us at all the surrounding mountains and was faced with undeniability of it. The majority of our hike, especially the part on Sunday, was either extremely uphill or downhill. At the pinnacle of our altitude, we were almost 10,000 feet up (by the way, Oaxaca is 5,000 fee above sea level already). My ankle is killing me from all the rocks I tripped over, and I'm going to have a hard time standing tomorrow. But it was worth it; the views and the flora were incredible.

Look, evidence! Click for larger pictures:


I don't know if you can appreciate from these pictures just how high up we were, but I hope that you can.




My favorite part of the trip must have been these plants:

It looks like something out of Dr. Seuss for sure, but it's even cool in actuality: it is the flower of the spikey maguey plant you can see at the bottom of the photo (one variety of which is used to make mezcal). These giants magueys grow for about 25 years before flowering once and then dying within the year. So, these tall, ridiculously-shaped and -colored stalks are actually the sign that the plant is near death. It's delightfully romantic.

2 comments:

Claire G said...

I made the rightmost picture my desktop background. It almost made me cry to see it. I think of views like this when I am feeling sick of the rampant consumerism of Middle America.

ayn said...

I'm flattered.

One of my friends made fun of me for comparing the scenery to a painting, but what else was I supposed to say?