Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mountain Drive - Laguna de Sanchez

This was a going home sort of trip for Juan.  After a great fire in the fireplace last night with David and Cam, we decided to take a ride this morning to Laguna de Sanchez.  It is 35 kms from the house to the top of the mountain with spectacular views.   

First off, Juan prepared a great breakfast of huevos rancheros this morning.  Showered up and we headed out for the mountains.   It is a good road that has recently been paved although with new rains there were some minor slides that they have since cleaned up as well as one very small part of about 20 meters where the road was down to one lane.   We made various stops along the way.

 First stop was a lookout along the road.  The pines were just starting to appear.

If you are into mountains and rushing streams, this is the place to be.  There are so many pictures that I can't show them all but you will get a good idea of what the ride is like.   Many people who have stayed with us have wanted to go here but the roads at the time weren't in good condition.

Cam doing some mountain viewing with his binoculars.


Yep, some people still ride and use burros and these guys were free to roam on the road.

 Now a bit about Laguna de Sanchez.   The town sits atop the mountains at 2200 meters with a population of 230 people.   They have electricity now but still cook the old-fashioned way on an open fire in the kitchen.   There is a lagoon there that has been dry for many years.  When we took my oldest brother and SIL over 10 years ago, there wasn't any water in the lagoon and up until a few months ago it was used for planting as the soil is very rich.  But thanks to heavy rains this last year, the lagoon is full again and a real sight to see.  I can't wait to get a picture off to my brother.  Here is Juan, David and Cam in front of the water.  (you'll want to click to enlarge)

I included myself in this picture.   The people in Laguna de Sanchez are farmers mostly and some sell to tourists; things like homemade membrillo wine, empanadas, and mezcal!   There is a bus that goes down in the morning and one that goes up the mountain in the evening for those that go to Santiago for market on Tuesdays. 

We took a small detour to a town called San Sebastian.  This is the first school Juan worked back in the late 70s.   It was a one-room school house with 22 students from first to sixth grade.   We have visited in the past but the last trip was over 14 years ago.   As we arrived, we discovered the school is no longer in use except for community meetings.  However, the people across the road recognized the "maestro".   We began looking for the family of Doña Mari who took care of Profesor Juan Manuel back in those days.  Juan lived in a one-room house next to the school with a fireplace for heat and a mattress made out of Spanish moss.  We found our way to Mari's house only to discover she was still there and her son, Juan's student, was busy building a small chapel with other neighbors.   It was a great reunion of friends, I am almost in tears writing this as I know it meant so much to Juan to go back again.   They were so happy to see him and as always Mari fixed us coffee, beans, tortillas, rice and mole.   We had a great chat over lunch and I think David and Cam enjoyed the opportunity to be with true Mexican mountain folk.   We also went to Chuy's house (his student) and met his wife and kids who also invited us for coffee.   I can't wait to go back.  There is still snow on the mountains.

Here is "el maestro" next to his first school.

We had a great day and the trip back home was full of memories and conversation.   We passed this waterfall on the road.   We are so happy that David and Cam came by but sad that Marina, David's wife wasn't here this time to share the experience as I know she would have loved it.   

1 comment:

  1. A very touching story. Kudos to Maestro Juan for having left such a great imprint on these peoples lives. He deserved the great welcome he received.