Mexico 44, 10th June 2004

I didn't find the caves in the morning. Well I did find one, but for some reason I could not understand there was a problem to visit it. I had a map but didn't find any of the others.

Although it rained during the night - that must be the 10th day in succession it has rained quite hard for a good part of the day - it turned out dry in the morning, although misty, and I drove a beautiful route. This is a view of San Andres, where I saw the waterfall yesterday.

Along the route.

Two waterfalls.

Further along the route.

A little valley

Another waterfall.

A river.

Another river.

Note. Those are not tiny pebbles in a stream. They are huge rocks in a river. See the pile of 50 Kg sacks front right of the picture looking like grains of sand?

It took nearly 30 minutes drive to get to the road the other side of the valley on the next photo.

Another view of the same bit of road, the same bend on the right.

Did I mention clouds?

Here's a village in the distance.

This is part of the road.

This was a wonderful drive. Beautiful, really beautiful. It actually took me 2 days, I stopped for the night along the way. As it happened, I nearly stopped longer than I intended. It came on the rain in the afternoon, quite heavily, so I stopped to wait for it slow down a bit. Fortunately I was ready to go after an hour, then I found I had left the headlights on full beam, the battery was flat. I was pretty sure it would recover in a while, but I got the generator out just in case. I couldn't start it. Fat lot of good it is having a generator as back up if you can't get it to go. I'll have to get it fixed.

Have you noticed the same thing I noticed? The countryside is green, green, GREEN! I didn't know Mexico was green! There are waterfalls everwhere tumbling out of the rocks, streams gurgling, everything is green, I drove slowly and then kept stopping to admire the view. And the views unfortunately are not the sort of views that come out well on photographs, they are too big, vast panoramas, I could (and did) stand and admire for ages, the photos only can give a minute taste of the real thing.

I reached Zacatlan, nice little town, nice people, again I couldn't find the caves so I headed towards the Valley of the raised stones which from my town map appeared to be about a kilometer out of town. After about 10 Km it came on to rain and water poured down every slope.

After about 20 Km I found the sign for the park, turn to the right, then it was 10 Km along unpaved road in the pouring rain to reach about the most imposing entrance gates you ever did see. I'll take a photo tomorrow, hopefully, just now it's raining torrents.

Through the gate I stopped at the information building and 4 policemen came tumbling out, security for the park. In no time we were all in the van, trying to communicate and drinking cokes. Hey, I'm not an obvious security risk! Turns out the senior policeman was at dinner. When he got back, with 3 other policemen, we had I think 7 policemen in the van out of 8 total. Heck, one of them had to stay on duty. They admired my books about Mexico, my family photos, the amenities of the van, we looked at my world atlas to see where I was born, we swapped names and shook hands and tried to communicate some more. I don't think they get a lot to do out here. I eventually almost had to push them out so I could get on with my own dinner. I originally arranged to park overnight about 30 yards down the road but after the boss's visit they decided I should stay just were I was, right outside their office, so they could watch out for me better, for my safety. (No, I honestly don't think they wanted to watch over me to make sure I didn't beat up the ecological park, it really was for my own safety!)

Best regards

David Barker

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