Today’s Lesson Learned is About Adventure Hiking in Mexico

There are rules every hiker knows and should obey when they set out to wander through a bush, forest or land which they are both unfamiliar with and/or familiar with, these rules are;

  1. Tell someone who is not on the hike where you are going. This includes approximate time getting onto the trail, how long you will be on the trail and when you expect to return
  2. Be aware of the hazards which you may encounter and be prepared to amend or defend yourself against these elements. This includes wildlife, fauna, flora, topology, exposure and weather
  3. Bring some sort of nourishment and beverage for the length of time you will be on the trail. This includes something like granola bars, trail mix, electrolyte chews, whole fruit, cut vegetables, dried fruit, or jerky. And water.
  4. Clothing for the type of environment that you will be hiking through. An example would be Southern Mexico in winter is still extremely warm and as such you should have a wide-brimmed breathable hat, sunglasses, bug spray, long pants, long sleeve shirt and preferably in white loose cotton and/or very breathable to stay cool in the hot sun

I bring this up tonight, because this morning my condo mates all decided to take in an aquafit session splashing around in a swimming pool getting exercise between 10:00 and 11:00am.

Instead of joining them I saw an opportunity to go for an adventure hike to explore part of the peninsula which our condo complex resides on back home this type of hike is often referred to as “bush whacking”.

Shortly after their departure, I gathered my supplies; camera, water, bandana, hat, granola bars, epi-pen, gum, pills, first aid kit, sunscreen, 1.5 litres water, electrolyte tablet, pen, light weight breathable yellow shirt, swimming trunks and rugged Keen hiking sandals.

As I drifted down the sidewalk towards my destination I could tell it was going to be an extremely short day hiking as the sun beating down on me with no clouds in the sky or on the horizon.

At last I made it to the end of the road, and searched for a trail to take me out onto the peninsula. Nothing. Shoot. And thus began my trek through the wooded area. A couple of minutes later I found a rough footpath and followed it to the top of the hill next to Playa Lagunda Hotel.

Stopping at the top for a surreal photo of the two bays (bahias) and their water outlets converging at the end of the peninsula. This was exactly what I was searching for. An off the beaten path adventure hike down to the rocky Pacific coast below.

Sixteen steps later I brushed against a tree which snagged my shirt instead of brushing past. After a quick inspection the tree limbs were covered in tiny thorns. Not a welcoming sight. A few more steps and a very large cactus tree stood before me. Inspecting my surroundings I felt defeat quickly creep into my mind. This is not going to work. You need long pants, long sleeve shirt and a machete. Also it would be best to have a trail to hike along rather than make your own trail due to these crazy thorned trees. Laughing I departed this area and headed back out to the original entry point.

A few minutes later I was back at the Y in the roadway and decided to follow the other roadway rather than hike down the hill.

Fifteen minutes later the roadway ended at a car park viewing area. It was a good view of the ocean and several small islands along the coast. Also several small fishing or snorkeling boats floated near the islands.

Looking about I spotted another viewing point beyond the car park on a short foot path and I wandered over in the hopes of seeing a better view. Nope. As I spun around on my left heel I caught a glimpse of another foot path along the car park wall and decided to give it a go.

Departing downhill along this new path I went a smile on my face that inadvertently located a path in record time. And down it I went.

Random noises in the woods are sometimes spooky when you cannot see what you are up against?

I heard something. A rustling of leaves. Or the branches swaying as a bird lands on it. Or the footsteps of other people. I froze. Crouched down and began scanning left to right. Slowly looking and listening to the sounds of whatever is out there.

In under seventy-five minutes, the noise was coming from 11 o’clock, down the hill and slightly left. I kept my focus primarily on that location. Then I heard it, again. Clearer this time. Voices? It was human voices. And they were much farther down the hill than the original noises I had heard. And I thought this is a good sign. It means this trail is actually being used by others. Okay let’s continue onward.

And so I did just that.

Down, down, down the hill I went. Every time I needed to brace myself going over an outcropping of rocks, I looked at the tree. Were there any thorns or other endangerment? No, then you may proceed with touching it. And continue your descent.

It seemed like an eternity then I noticed a concrete pillar in the ground some fifteen feet away. Back in Canada they use similar markers to denote land coordinates when they were completing National Land Surveys. And I wondered if this were true?

It too, had a stamped set of numbers on a thin circular metal sheet which was affixed to the top of this 3-foot concrete post. And the post had a yellow stenciled #14 painted on its western side. This marker seemed more like a property stake instead of a surveyors marker due to this stencil. I laughed and took a photo of my future land purchase. Then continued on my hike for another eighteen minutes.

Which is when self-preservation took over and my legs stopped hiking so that I could have an internal conversation in the bustling morning heat.

  • What are you trying to accomplish in this heat? ‘I simply wanted to get some exercise’
  • What is our purpose on this trail? ‘To see if I can get down to the salt water’
  • Should you continue hiking when no one knows where you are? ‘No.’

And with that final answer I spun around on my uphill heal and began my ascent. Shortly I found the original trail and continued to climb. Halfway up the hill, I spotted pottery sticking out of the ground and dug it up. Modern. Too new to be of any value. Then a coke bottle, and a Caribe bottle cap.

Hurrying up the final twenty-two yards I went until I was calmly resting in the tiniest amount of shade next to the car park. Unclipping my side bag and withdrawing my water bottle. I slugged back two quick gulps of 300ml. Smiling to myself and the birds of prey flying above me, probably awaiting my imminent death from sun exposure so they could eat my flesh. I grimaced and said out loud to the circling birds, “sorry fellas not today!”

Standing up my knees, calves and thighs ached, my head screamed “GET ME OUT OF THIS FAWKING HEAT!!!”

Thus I began the slow slog shuffling one foot after the other back, back, back the way I had originally come from while the heat pulsated on top of my head. And my ears, neck and eyebrows burst out beads of sweat to try and cool myself down.

Nearing the front gate of our villa, all I could think about was going for a swim in the pool to thoroughly cool down and that there would be no more adventure hikes in Huatulco or anywhere else around here while on this sun drenched holiday!