Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chanukah 5th Night – Angahuan , Volcano, Horses

Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I set out for Uruapan with a vague plan for the day. We decided to start with a trip to Angahuan to see the volcano, Paricutin. We had the usual navigational misstep but ultimately arrived at Angahuan without too much trouble.

Angahuan Arrival
We are approached by a Local Man who offers to take us to Paricutin on horseback. He presents a 5 hour option all the way to volcano or a 2 hour option that takes you just to Church partially buried in lava. We elect the 2 hour version but indicate we need to eat first. Local Man says “Follow me”, mounts his horse and takes off.

Angahuan is a Purepecha Indian village.
- Rustic - very
- Lots of dirt roads not terribly well maintained
- Short, plain square adobe buildings
- Men riding horses all over
- Women in traditional peasant type dress

We pass the village square and church and drive for about 10 minutes in a confused state. Are we going to eat? Where are we?

We finally arrive at a lodging area with cabins, playground, horses and lots of local people. We ask about food. Local Man says indicates we can eat at top. Okay, no food yet. We are handed off to Abel who we guess is our guide. He sets us up on 4 horses. Abel leads my horse while two little local boys lead horses for Oldest Son and Youngest Son. Husband gets to handle his horse alone. I feel slightly discriminated against but having someone else lead for once is kinda nice.
We are very excited especially Youngest Son who is wearing his cowboy hat purchased on Janitzio Island. The ride through the mountain and forest is so peaceful.

Paricutin and Church
You may have heard the story of Paricutin. In 1943, a farmer was plowing his field when the ground began to shake and a new volcano sprouted ultimately creating a volcano 1,700 feet above the corn field. It erupted for 9 years destroying two villages and leaving behind acres and acres of black lava rock. In the middle of all this black lava rock is a Church, built in 16i8, only partially destroyed - looks like a miracle to me.

We arrive at the Church with the Paricutin volcano looming in the background. There is a small shanty area where food and goods are available. Abel starts to lead us toward Church. We ask about food again. Abel says when we get back. Husband and I laugh because yesterday at Janitzio Island we had food at every turn and today we cannot seem to get a morsel.
Husband made a significant packing error for our camping and hiking vacation: he only brought flip flops. So Husband hiked through all the lava rock in flip flops. Not recommended.

Lunch Finally
We hike back to shanty area and sit down to eat. An old woman is making green tortillas and her old man is tending several simmering pots of mole, beans, rice, pork and beef. The wait for food is so worth it. All was savory. Oldest Son is chilled so we get him a great Mexican pull over. He looks very cute.

This Adventure Ends
The strenuous hike through the lava rocks and Church ruins was just incredible. Natural disaster, history and religion all in a setting of great mountainous, volcanic beauty – our family loved it.
We road our horses back through the lava rock and woods and were sad that the outing had ended.

Our guide was Abel. He did not speak English but he communicated with kindness and consideration. He focused us on points of interests, told us about the history, took several family photos (for once I am in a photo!) and conducted himself with humor. The two little boys were ages 9 and 10 and they were working on this lovely Monday ...

Oldest Son
Oldest Son starts deteriorating after lunch. Mistakenly, we left the medicine at hotel. We went in search of a Farmacia in Angahuan. With locals speaking a different dialect and buildings not labeled, finding anything was challenging. We did end up seeing Local Man (from start of outing) who pointed us in right direction. Medicine was found.

Yellow Roads
Our route back included a Yellow Road to Santa Clara del Cobre, known for copper metalwork. A Yellow Road is yellow on the map and is not usually as well kept nor clearly marked – think of yellow as “Warning - think before you make this road choice.” Husband got quite stressed as we ventured through rural villages and cobblestone Yellow Roads.

We did finally arrive at Santa Clara del Cobre late in day. I quickly purchased a candelabra for Shabbat. Oh yeah, Husband got a pair of $20 sneakers too.

The Day Ends
We head back to Patzcuaro. Husband gets provisions at Soriana grocery store. Oldest Son has gotten worse. Husband and I spend allot of time pouring over maps and books to figure out the next route – the best we can in Mexico – the land of adventure.


Steve Cotton said...

You are on one of the routes I want to take when I finally get down to Mexico. Once again, thank you for the details.

Steve Cotton said...

By the way, I loved the cowboy hat. It almost took me back to being that age. Horseback rides with a hat are memories never to be forgotten.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

S - It is quite a trip - let me tell you - not for the faint of heart! You wiil do great.

Youngest Son looks so cute is his little cowboy hat and he has the personality to match!

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