The Pilgrims
The Hidden Port

May 7th, 2016

The brown-ness of the last few days fades into 500 different shades of green, and we swap pine forests for lush jungle.

What happened…


Andrew writes: There’s a song here in Mexico, that people get sung on their birthday. It’s called “Las Mananitas”, and it’s very lovely. It’s maybe not so lovely when the town where you are sleeping uses it’s public address system to play Las Mananitas, over and over and over and over again, from 0600hrs to 0800hrs. I think that they played the song for each and every person in the town who was celebrating May 7th as their birthday. A cool idea….in theory only.

We were able to catch the last few riders before they left this morning, and in fact we were passed only by one while climbing out of San Pedro. An older man, he had packed himself and his bicycle into a moto-taxi, and he waved as they drove by. I had hoped that we could ride to Juquila to watch some sort of ceremony all of the riders were having to celebrate their pilgrimage, but it ended up being about 30km down a one-way road in the wrong direction. So I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Besides, we’ve seen so many drivers heading to Juquila the last few days, that finding a hotel would probably be a huge headache.

I had such a noteworthy moment today, one of those moments where the whole world comes into focus and clarity. I had just finished climbing all the climbing we would do, and it felt good. Then I began the descent, and it was as though I was in a different world. The brown-ness of the last few days, and the pine trees, gave way suddenly to lush jungle, with clouds or fog (since we were up so high) rushing through the tree tops. At one point, we rode through a patch of fog, and when we came out on the other side, I looked out over the valley to my right and was blown away by the beauty of it all. I just stopped and took it all in.

We really had to be on our A-game on the descent. Firstly, the road was in really poor condition, with potholes everywhere. There seemed to be less pilgrimage traffic on this side of the mountain, but we still made sure to pull off whenever we heard a tractor trailer coming behind or even ahead of us as the road was narrow and curvaceous. And then all of a sudden, after many months in Mexico, dogs became something to be wary of. There are two types of dogs here in Mexico, ones that are afraid of their own shadow, and the others (mostly rural) that are protectors. On three separate occasions today, these rural dogs just started acting crazy and/or stupid. Heedless of other traffic on the road, the dogs would come screaming out of whatever pisshole they were protecting with hackles raised and barking madly. The look in the eyes of some of these canines really had me worried. Amanda came to my rescue at one point with a well-aimed rock. Up until this point we’d never had to resort to throwing rocks at the dogs, but it seemed to be the most effective. It’s not even about hitting the dog, but rather just the threat that they could be hit that seems to make all the difference.

At the bottom of the descent we entered a jade-green valley and started to follow a river. I kept hoping to spot a riverside campsite, but in the end we settled for a vacant lot up on the hillside that overlooked the river instead. A couple of “city” dogs came to check us out and were pretty canny at getting into our garbage just so they could lick the whatever off our whatever we had in their, they definitely looked as though they hadn’t eaten in awhile so we just let them do their thing. They weren’t bothering us…and I admit it felt good to have the dogs be afraid of us after all of the fear their brothers had put into us on the road today.


Amanda writes: Today included some very pretty scenery. As Andrew said the descent after the climb was lovely, even with the potholes. The dogs were a piss off and while I was throwing one rock I ended up falling off my bike while still clipped in. Sure I’ll have a bruise and need to re-tape my handlebars but it was more annoying than anything. I mean we were already having to keep our focus on the pot-holed road and then add to it the dogs jumping out of the bushes, it made for some tiring riding.

The end of the day however was incredible! I have never in my life seen fire flies until tonight. Wow! They are so cool. We set up the tent without the fly so basically slept under the stars and the fire flies. They were dancing around and playing with each other and occasionally would come flying toward the tent and then slow down and just skim the top. I had a hard time falling asleep because they were so cool.

Today’s Photographs

The Pilgrims
The Hidden Port