Heading up…

December 1, 2010

So this climb.  It starts in Tuxtla and heads up into the Chiapan highlands, destination San Cristobal de las Casas.  Tuxtla sits at a mere 530 meters, while San Cristobal is a much more oxygen gulping 2,160.  And when it was all said and done, it was within a beautiful pine forest that we found some cool air camping and looked at each other to exclaim, “Damn!  That was a great day of riding!”  We took the old route, rather than the newly blasted out autopista and every twist and turn seemed more rewarding than the last.  It was a well graded continuous climb for about 45 kilometers.  Along the way we traveled through many Tzotzil and Tzeltal villages, getting our first true glimpses of the ladies with their black fuzzy skirts and exquisitely hand embroidered shirts, dripping with color.  San Cristobal awaited us but 15 kilometers from our camp spot (where we had an amazing feast of pancakes with apricot jam!) and we rolled through the remainder of the climb in the early morning hours, arriving in the city’s center with a whole day ahead of us to explore.

 

Pleasant grade on a beautiful day...

...gave way to the valley below we had left behind...

The fresh air was welcomed whole heartedly after the weeks of coastal heat and humidity...

A mix of traditional Mayan designs with some modern twists, these fabrics more than caught my eye. I had to go inspect...

...and was rendered speechless with the minute details and the thought of time put into each piece...

As with most mountain ranges this high, the greenery found along the way...

...is the result of some heavy moisture hanging in the air way up there...

Along the way we were surprised to pass the town of Navenchauc, with many of its buildings and structures sitting in great amounts of water. We did a bit of uncovering and found out, very depressingly, that the runoffs for the town's high altitude lagoon are, and have been for 2 years, clogged with plastic bottles and waste from all the greenhouse pesticides they have been using. Flowers are a high commodity in the area, specifically marigolds, and the switch from growing maize in fields to these greenhouse endeavors has inadvertently caused the back up. With such high rainy seasons and lack of drainage, this is the unfortunate result. The option to pump the water out is also on hold as all the water pumps in the state are being used in other cities and towns. More than 100 homes are out of commission...

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