“Zacatecas to (south of) Aguascalientes”
After spending a week in Zacatecas, taking care of business, we were happy to get back on the bikes and ride into the mountains. Our day started on pavement. We left Zacatecas and rode through Guadalupe.
[i think this is the largest tree-like yucca I’ve seen yet. It’s trunk was the size of an old growth oak.]
We stopped for more water and a few supplies in the town of Genaro Codina, a cute little town where we attracted a lot of attention. We pushed our bikes up a steep, rocky road, then rode more pavement until we passed through a gate and onto singletrack that led us to a dirt road and into the mountains.
We found suitable camping in a wash surrounded by trees. The morning brought a mix of dirt roads and pavement until we reached San Jose de Gracia, a tourist town north and a little west of Auguascalientes.
[I’ve been seeing rock walls like these a lot. Some of them stretch for miles across the landscape.]
We stopped at a store for supplies and were met with smiles and offers of free camping. It was still early in the afternoon so we decided to keep riding. At the southern end of town is where the fun started. The first obstacle, a giant dam.
[The “stairs of despair”]
Our gps track went over the walkway on the top of the dam, and down the “stairs of despair” (very steep stairs). But looking down into the canyon we could see a path that led all the way to the bottom, and what looked like a faint trail up the other side.
We decided to chance going down and back up instead of removing our luggage and lowering our bikes one at a time down the steep stairs. When we reached the bottom of the canyon we found a rocky, though doable, trail leading up the other side. It was a push, but easier than descending the stairs of dispair.
Once back up, and on the other side of the dam, we passed through a gate and went cross-country until we picked up a faint singletrack trail, or perhaps it started as an animal path.
We rode for a short ways before deciding to set up camp, between the tree-like prickly pears, in a perfect spot overlooking the reservoir and facing the sunset.
[On the Horizon no.2]
The next day brought some of the best riding we’ve had so far, high on a ridge with canyon views around every corner, surround by grasslands and deserts. The riding was a mix of dirt roads and singletrack.
We met several mountain bikers, squeezed our bikes under gates (and lifted them over other gates), push our bikes through the rockiest sections, and rode amazing trails across the ridges.
[…gathering water, albeit a bit muddy]
At one of the last gates, near the end of the day, we decided to take a detour around the gate and the rock wall. We followed the rock wall until its end, then around the corner, until we found ourselves in very rocky, and a bit steep at times, terrain, surround by prickly bushes and cactus.
[The water in the little puddle, was mostly clear, and tasted delicious.]
It didn’t really go the way we had hoped, and turned out to be more difficult than just lifting our bikes over the gate, but I did find good, mostly clear water. We eventually decided to just haul our bikes over the rock wall (two walls by this point) to get back onto our track. After squeezing our bikes under another locked gate we set up camp and watched the sunset.
We didn’t make much distance on this day, but it was a great day, and we weren’t in any hurry to be anywhere other than here.
The next day brought another locked gate before we gained a good dirt road into the small town of La Tomatina. We bought water and produce and had a picnic in the park. We rode fast pavement on a couple of highways to the south of Auguascalientes where we found a cheap hotel for 250 pesos. There was no good coffee bar nearby, so we settled for hot coffee from the OXXO minimart.
[It was actually pretty decent coffee …but now I’m thinking I need to acquire a lightweight reusable cup with a lid for when I get coffee at a minimart.]
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