Monday, February 25, 2008

One Hell Of A Hike

For years Walter, one of the popular visitors to Playa del Sol, led various in-city and nature hikes. Several years ago he unexpectedly passed away and each year since a group here holds a memorial hike in his honor following one of the more arduous trails that he liked to follow. This is the first time that I have joined in since Walter's passing and I am strongly recommending that maybe we could honor Walter's memory with one of his in-city hikes instead.

We grouped up fairly early to catch a bus to Boca Tomatlan, a small town at the mouth of the Tomatlan river and as far south as you can travel by vehicle. The road from Boca Tomtalan heads up the montain from there and, as of yet, no road actually crosses the river.

The Gathering Of The Brave

Of course there were also the not-so-brave, or at least the not-so-foolhardy, who came down to send us on our way and then head out to breakfast.

The Breakfast Club, Especially Frank, Tom, and Bill

Why Especially Frank? Well at dinner the previous night (pictures to follow one day soon) he was especially vociferous in his proclamations about how he would go on the hike and be there for me if I needed a helping hand. So this one is for you:

Especially Frank

After arriving by bus (5.5 pesos for an adventurous ride on a bus with squealing brakes) we headed down a dusty road towards a footbridge across the river.

Heading Down That Dusty Trail

And Then Over The Bridge

Boca Tomatlan is a sleepy little fishing village even today, but there are a bunch of little family owned restaurants with tables on the beach where you can get decent food and drink at very reasonable prices. If you ever get to Puerto Vallarta it is well worth the bus ride to visit. It is a little bit past Mismaloya which, to my thinking, has become much too comercialized.

A View From The Bridge

Our hike is not for the faint hearted or out of shape. It is supposed to be four miles, but that, I am sure, does not take into consideration the ups and downs of the trail.

The Trail

At times we had to share the trail with some four-footed friends.

Hey, Hey, Coming Through

Oh yes, let us not forget the swinging bridges along the way. Real Indiana Jones stuff, if you ask me.

A Bridge Too Far

We did see a bit of wildlife along the way.

Perched Cormorants, Not Pelicans

I thought these were pelicans but Chris DeFabis an alert reader of my blog from Indiana (the reader is from Indiana, not the blog) informed me that I was wrong.

An Iquana Decked Out For Halloween

And there was some lovely scenery to behold on those rare moments when you dared to take your eyes off the trail.

Ah, The Glory Of It All

Although there is no road here they have recently put in plumbing and electricity so you are seeing more and more homes going up. They are all on the water as that is the only way you can get building materials and the ever important beer. In fact, unless you are demented like our group, it is the only way you can get there yourself.

A Relatively Recent Home

It certainly would be a shame if this side of the river got as built up as the Puerto Vallarta side. I hope the day never comes. But, you can't stop progress. The plumbing and electicity was just put in a few years ago so who knows what will happen next.

One hopeful note is that they are really developing in the neighboring state of Nayarit to the north. And I mean big-time. A new international airport is going in along with casino gambling. I think Harrah's is already in for a piece of the action. There is already a PGA Tournament quality golf course and Four Seasons resort out at Punta Mita which is at the northern tip of Banderas Bay.

Of course this blog mustn't lose it's focus which is on drink and food so here is a teaser picture of our celebration at the end of the trail at Quimixto.

Bar Man and Marcie Celebrating

Check back tomorrow for more on our festivities at Quimxto and some shots of our boat ride back to Boca Tomtalan.

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