What Jakob and I have really come to realize is that the people we meet in Mexico are a huge contributor to why we love this country. So far, both the locals and travelers have been warm, friendly, welcoming, friendly, interesting, friendly and genuinely kind. With that said, we also understand that we’ve been in areas that are dependent on tourists, and the culture reflects that and it won’t be the case everywhere. When we were in La Paz during the hurricane, we met a family from Mexico City that was staying at the hotel where we sought shelter. We stayed in touch and when we passed by Mexico City, they offered to take us to the family’s hacienda. It was more impressive than I could have imagined, and out of respect for their privacy we didn’t take (m)any photos but it was absolutely stunning. The history behind the building goes back to as early as the 16th century and the work her father continues to put into it, at over 80 years old, is impressive. We spent the day with the wife, exploring the property and had the most amazing meal we’ve had in Mexico. She was one of the kindest and warmest people we’ve met along our trip, incredibly genuine and kind.
After leaving Teotihuacan and the Mexico City area, we began a hiking tour of the Mexican Volcanoes and high peaks, including La Malinche, Iztaccihuatl and Orizaba. Details of those are to follow in separate blog posts.
The 3 of us probably liked Izta best, although each experience varied greatly. Unfortunately, the night we arrived to the trailhead at 4,000m, I got viciously sick. At 4am our alarm went off to get up for the hike; as I sat up to turn the alarm off, I realized something else was coming up – and quick. I made it to the door just in time for everything to start coming up, with Leika curiously standing between my legs as I continued to vomit. She actually started whining at one point which was pretty sweet since I was in a bit of pain. Needless to say, we didn’t hike that day. Jakob took great care of me (once again), forcing me to try to eat some crackers, soup and get some sleep. The following day I was very happy when we actually did the hike, with no incidents on the trail – except when we got a little lost for 30 minutes or so. I should probably leave the trail-finding to Jakob next time.
La Malinche was different for us from all the others due to the weather. It was cloudy and foggy, limiting visibility to no more than 100m ahead and blocking the view once we reached the summit ridge. One of the best parts of this hike was certainly when we were making dinner at about 6pm in the van and all of a sudden there’s a knock on the window! It was Heather and Dan from JFDIOverland! It was such a great surprise and we ended up chatting for several hours until it was time for bed. We really couldn’t be more thankful for meeting these two and look forward to hiking with them down the road.
Last but not least, Orizaba. For Jakob’s birthday back in September, I offered to hire a guide up Pico de Orizaba – the highest peak in Mexico and 3rd tallest in North America at over 5,600m (about 18,500 feet). We went with Orizaba Mountain Guides, and were very happy with them and especially our guide, Alfredo. The hike started at 2AM and by 6:30AM we were on the peak – very windy and cold, but beautiful! So beautiful. Neither of us have ever been at this elevation before so we were curious to see how we had acclimatized in the previous week of hiking. Thankfully, it seems that both of us had few issues except for some gasping for what little air there is up at the peak. I never realized it until this trip, but it seems that I have pretty poor circulation in my hands and feet – not fun when you’re trying to put crampons on or when all you have are thin running gloves in below freezing temps. Guess I’ll have to do a little shopping, unfortunately.
After hiking all 6 volcanoes that we had planned to attempt, we headed out to Oaxaca. We only spent a few days in Oaxaca as we are on a tight schedule to get to the Yucatan to meet my parents that are visiting in early November. In hindsight, we would have loved to have met my parents in Oaxaca. While we look forward to exploring some of the Yucatan and giving them a much needed vacation, they would have loved Oaxaca. There’s always next time!