Saturday, November 17, 2012

Matanchen Bay, Then To The Mountains

Crossing over to mainland Mexico felt like a milestone for us. It was like the past year was just a warm-up for the start of the real adventure. We love Baja, but having spent considerable time there even before the past year, it started to feel a little too comfortable--not a problem anymore.

Our first stop was a surf spot called Las Islitas outside of San Blas.  This place is renowned for it's macroscopic mosquitos and it's microscopic biting bugs (called jejenes).  It was beautiful, free camping, but the bugs and humidity made for misereable sleeping.  We lasted a couple of nights before we found a cute town called Aticama only 7 miles away on the same bay (Matanchen Bay). It offered $4 camping, far less bugs, a surf break, and a community center with blazing fast internet.  Our first successful left point break!

Beautiful camping at Las Islitas but the bugs were too much

When the waves died, the heat, humidity, and bugs drove us to the cool interior mountains. For most of Mexico, if you aren't on the coast, you're in the mountains. Driving up to the highlands, we stopped at a roadside stand and bought avocados for $0.35/lb.  That's about 10 cents an avocado. I'm kicking myself for not buying more, since they are $1.25/lb at the supermarkets. Our first stop was at a pretty crater lake (Laguna Santa Maria del Oro).  We biked and paddledboarded around the lake for a couple of days. The cool night air was fantastic.

A paddleboard playground on Laguna Santa Maria del Oro

We drove near the main agave-growing area where the town of Tequila is located.  We decided not to take a tour of a tequila distillery. Instead we stopped on the side of the road and took some pictures with our tequila bottle and a blue agave plant.

Blue Agave plant near Tequila, Jalisco

We pushed even higher to the Quila mountains (Sierra de Aquila) where we mountain biked, hiked, and slept near 7200 foot elevation.  We happily snuggled underneath our down comforter during the cool nights. With morning temperatures below 50F, we even had to bust out the down booties.

Arbol de Lira -
oddly shaped Douglas Fir in Sierra de Aquila 
I don't think many gringos visit this area.  One day while we were riding our bikes, a group of young, hip Mexicans drove by. One of the girls took a picture of us with her cellphone.  I think they were taking a picture of Scott in his tight, funny-looking bike shorts. Jose, a mumbling 72-year old park employee who talked at Scott for an hour, might have said he's only seen 3 other people biking in the Sierra de Quila.

We're leaving the mountains and heading back to the coast today to catch some waves.  A local told us it should start cooling down over the next couple weeks. It will be interesting to see if we can adjust. If not, we may have to stick to the high road.

Pictures from November

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just cant get over the beautiful beaches you always find, and look at that sunshine!!! Thanks again for all your pictures.