Las Nubes…

December 27, 2010

Suckers for spectacular waterways, our first stop along the border is Las Nubes, an area of turquoise colored water pumping through the jungle.  having just experienced a heavier than normal rainy period, the water was certainly flowing, making swimming a more dangerous endeavor.  The area of Las Nubes  offers camping and cabanas and has a restaurant right on the river, though we opted to camp on our own outside of town.  There is a small day fee- $30M, or roughly $3 US, that goes towards maintaining the area.  During swimming season, this would be an ideal spot to barbecue with the family.

 

The landscape really begins to give us the jungles we will be exploring as we head down into Central America. Lots of green and lots of moisture...

Virtually pristine and unspoiled...

... except for areas like these. Much more than a case of bad aim, trash on the ground is as common as tortillas in Mexico...

The bold and beautiful Las Nubes...

...funneling into the jungle, swimmies not included...

With morning hours to spare, we hiked around on some nearby trails, getting lost within the big rooted trees and huge verdant leaves...

In order to reach Las Nubes, there is a 10 kilometer dirt road you must travel. Guide books will refer to it as "out of the way." We would call it "pretty much perfect."

Jungle camping...

...including fresh picked fruit in the morning. As usual, our only visitor was a local out hunting the evening before. He gave us a huge smile and wave, as is the Mexican way, and made sure we had enough to stay warm and dry...

Another day begins...

No good bike trip would be complete without the ever-present dirtstache...

...or an abundant supply of animal crackers. Cheap cycling fuel with a crunch and lots of storytelling possibilities...

Those pockets come in such handy...

Not out of the mountains yet, we enjoyed a few more climbs and windy descents...

 

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We had left San Potosi excitedly with a map that showed the greater layout of the Huasteca Area and some of its hot spots.  This map also included lots of little symbols of a swimming man and I am happy to report we got to spend each day of that next week riding from one fantastic swim spot to another, making it one of my most favorite parts of the trip thus far.  We had a bit of a climb heading away from San Luis Potosi and then one of the hugest descents, quite possibly the longest of my life, into a valley to begin what would become the never-ending splash fest.

We started with Media Luna, which gets its name from the shape it appears as from above.  The waters here are thermal, but verge on the very luke warm side, so really it just felt like sun warmed water.  There’s all sorts of little walkways and interesting trees growing everywhere and some of the most curious looking ducks I have seen in my life.     We happened upon it on a weekend so the place was crrrrrrawling with families, music, barbecues and the likes.  The shade had us napping in our hammocks for the better part of the day, before departing on our way to find a camping down the road.

Our riding through these parts made it clear we had transcended into a uniquely new climate and landscape, different from anything we had seen so far.  It was so…..tropical.  We now rode through lush, lush green mountains with huge palm leaves reaching out of the hillsides towards us.  No complaints there.

We dropped down into Tamosopo and enjoyed the waterfalls just on the other side of town and later in the evening met some other like minded traveling kids and spent the following day exploring some other falls, Puente de Dios, with them off our bikes.  It was another’s day ride before we had our encounter with the third water spectacle, Cascadia de Micos.  The later of these two falls were absolutely rushing, based on the time of year and the amount of water this part of Mexico has had recently.  It also meant it was not the best time for swimming, so these normally touristy places where quite quiet.  Perfect.

 

Rising up out of the smoggy sprawl that was San Luis Potosi...

 

 

We happened by this track THE very day of my brother's birthday, who is not only one of the greatest people to ever live, but also a huge Nascar fan. This one's for him. I love you Kevbro...

 

 

More of those green, hilly things we love to see...

 

 

One of the many water gulleys found snaking through the Media Luna park. Here you could (and I did) float on your back through these picturesque channels, staring up at the perfect day...

 

 

The race was on. No joke. Little man won, but at no small cost. We caught him stretching out his legs a little ways down the road when he didn't think we could see...

 

 

Idealistic Tamosopo Falls and swim spot. The water was refreshingly chilly...

 

 

Meeting Mexican travelers means getting to learn the backdoor entrances to some parks...

 

 

Exploring the mouth of Puente de Dios...

 

 

Moss covered crosses, placed at the sight for children who have lost their lives in the waters there...

 

 

Fields and fields of sugar cane. Obviously the riding this day was just horrible. Horrible. No good news to report...

 

 

A good example of one of the constantly repeated things in our days, getting directions...

 

 

As we rode, we were befriended by Jorge who was on his way home from work. He invited us to come stay at his home...

 

 

Perfect ending to a perfect day...

 

 

Jorge and his wife, Felicitas...

 

 

Cascadia de Micos...

 

 

90% of Mexico is Catholic...

 

Basaseachi Falls

August 5, 2010

After seeing a few photos and hearing about the waterfalls from both locals and folks back in the states (one being my bro Kev), we decided they were definitely not to be missed, though it meant retracing our steps back to San Juanito before getting some new roads to saunter along.  After a long day of frustrating internet-ing (trying to keep this blog updated is not something these canyon lands want me to do easily), we hit the dusty trail and camped a bit of the ways down the road heading back towards San Juanito.

The backtracking did have its bonuses.  One… we got to ride past a particular pothole again that I had misjudged the seriousness of earlier, sending one of my panniers bouncing off my front rack and into the street, leaving a small hole to be patched in the side.  This second time we cruised by a road crew was filling the monster with some gravel, which left me riding away with a smile.  This pothole had been discussed many times over the previous days and after having seam sealed the hole in my pannier and velcro-ed my bags on more tightly, I was ready for a rematch.  Thanks to the road maintenance crew, the showdown was thwarted.  Two…we got to run into Naelly, a spark of a girl who we’d met in Creel but who lives in San Juanito.  It’s always nice to run into people you “know”, especially so far from home.

The ride to Basaseachi was all in all an absolutely beautiful one.  It took us about a day a half, though it could certainly be done in one.  Our slowness in these times is a result of trying to pack up in the rain laden mornings and the continual pit stops during the day to put on or take off our rain gear.  The second day met us with a sunny morning and we spent the first half of our day swooping (with little climbs interjected here and there) down towards the town of Basaseachi and the falls.  It was not long before we hit the end of the road, a col-du-sac of cars, food stalls and blaring music.  We found our way to the campground and decided to spread out along the lower part of the river.  Kurt headed back into town to grab some cold beers and things to roast while I went about setting up the tent…or almost.  Within minutes it was pouring and I decided to instead don the rain gear I’ve grown so fond of recently and take a stroll through the woods.  Then it turned into a swimming, fire roasting, beer drinking evening.

The next morning we hiked to the falls, reaching the top within minutes and peering over the barricaded edge with the other folks who gathered around on the concrete patios they have constructed up there.  With all of the rain that had been falling the water was raging!  It looked very different from the pictures we had seen, and at the rate it was pouring over there was no hope for a swim in one of the pools at the top.   At 812 feet, Basaseachi Falls are the second highest waterfalls in Mexico and also the largest continuously running waterfall in the country as well.  W spent the good part of the day hiking down to the base and then up again to the other side for some more views.  Standing next to the falls at the bottom was greatly worth every hill we climbed to get there.

The next day brought more rain and has us tent bound and tea drinking.  We emerged late the next morning and started our trek back to San Juanito.  We figured rather than retrace our steps again, we’d try to hitch a ride.  We waited our spot in the hitching line for a bit, but then got antsy and ended up riding back to San Juanito and further on to Creel over the next day.  Now we are back in the plus and heading towards this great big hole in the earth we’ve heard so much about…Barranca De Cobre, otherwise known as Copper Canyon.

Hiding out behind the glass while the daily soakage has its way...

Yes, it tasted like rainbows...

Misty riding...

The riding was fantastic! The road was fantastic! The weather stayed fairly fantastic! All around we were pretty psyched to have taken this little side trip...

Along this canyon route we passed many small communities, completely self-sustaining for the most part...

If anyone knows this dude, you know he likes his fires...

With afternoon monsoons a regular, dry wood is not terribly easy to come by. Kurt did find some buried logs however and splitting into them revealed some great cedar to get going...

And finally, some things a' roasting! These steaks cost 10 pesos each, perfect for our budget, and we paired them with some black beans we'd been soaking all day...

At the base of the falls! It was like a monsoon you could turn off by walking away! Notice the rainbow in the lower left. This picture doesn't capture it very well, but it sure was stunning... (Photo: Kurt)

We hiked up to top of the falls and viewed them from as many angles as we could. Not a bad place to eat some lunch...

Kurt ascending one of the climbs we tackled while returning from the falls...

Oh, the hilarity of it all. Have I mentioned how much I love riding in squishy socks and shoes?... (Photo: Kurt)

This morning was a golden opportunity to take some time to dry out everything that has been starting its own science projects in our bags...