Hiking Up The Cliff

It had been raining for 3 days. And it had been cold. And I dont like rain. And especially not cold. Thats why I went to Mexico and not Canada (well, that and the fact that Mexico is about 1500 miles closer). Fortunately the hostel had a nice community kitchen to hang out in, while I kept a watchful eye on the mountain waiting for a clear day. I was hoping to get a nice shot of the valley from the top of the mountain. This mountain:

elpotrero.jpg

So I duly waited. Finally one day it showed some signs of letting up at around 3pm, so I decided to give it a go. I packed my backpack with more brain food and went up the mountain. My guide told me it took him 2 hours up and 1.5 hours down last time he went, so I figured I could match that. In retrospect maybe it wasnt the best idea, but thats beside the point :)

In any case, I hiked around the backside of the mountain to where the trail started. The name El potrero chico means The little corral in Spanish. If you look it up on Google earth you can see from space that it does look a great deal like a corral; it is a bowl formed by a ring of mountains with only one entrance. Across the valley there is El potrero grande which of course, is the big corral. Looking at it from space the reasoning is rather obvious.

Anyway. The inside of the corral is privately owned so after paying 10 pesos (about 91 cents) I went inside. Hiked across a dry creek bed, up a road, around a bend, through a fence, to grandmothers house we err, that is, it was a hike. Whats there to say about it? Until I got higher it wasnt particularly exciting to write about. But as I got up in elevation and the incline got so that I could see out above the treetops and gradually the trees thinned and turned into Cactus, I got some nice pictures of the inside of the valley, which I think are computer-desktop quality (theyre on mine, anyway!), and you can see and download the full-sized images in this thumbnail gallery:

http://www.travelwithnatnee.com/galleries/potrerochico/index.html

This is by far the most compelling shot of my trip, and to me it alone justified the hike. Notice the rainbow in the middle. The shadow in the exact center is me. The sun was behind me and shone into the clouds rolling up and evaporating out of the valley, and produced this amazing shot. The other, larger shadow on the right is a Joshua tree next to me. You can find a full-sized link in the gallery page above.

Anyway, I managed to make it up and down the mountain in 3.5 hours, right at par. On the way out, I took a second shot just as twilight was settling which I felt was a fitting end to my journey:

And treated myself to a well-deserved Piña Colada, and rested on my laurels. Unfortunately, due to a minor lapse in judgment on top of the mountain (the water sitting in that pocket of the rock looked clean!) and overexerting myself to the point beyond exhaustion where you feel kind of high to make par on the mountain, I wound up spending the next two days in bed. And lets just say, the Piña Colada took a U-turn about halfway down at 2 AM. We ended up cutting our trip shorter than we had planned and headed home. Even so, it was a great time and I intend to return sooner or later :)

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Posted on January 4th, 2008 by Natnee and filed under Mexico |

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