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Hiking adventures and close encounters with bats in Lake Chapala Mexico Week Four - 2/15-2/21/21

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

We had another super amazing week here at Lake Chapala Mexico. We have been at Roca Azul Rv Park and Resort for a month now! I can hardly believe it. We have made so many new friends in the short time we’ve been here but it seems like we will always have these friends. Much of our days are spent here on the resort as it is truly beautiful. We see new birds nearly every day...even if we aren’t fast enough to catch them in a photograph. There must be thousands of orioles….many different types. Orioles are one of my favorite birds as they migrate. When I lived in Sonoma County, I’d set out my oriole feeders near the end of March, waiting for their return. They only would stay till the end of August. They are such a colorful treat. We have 3 hummingbird feeders up in our campsite. We get swarms of hummingbirds competing over the feeders. We have identified 3 types but there may be more. We just aren’t as good with hummingbirds as some others. We also have discovered something interesting at night with our feeders too.

I spend Mondays working on my stories. It can be time-consuming and I’ll take breaks to walk around. Sometimes it’s hard to sit still when there is so much Life going on around me! Sometimes the story doesn't get finished until later in the week too. We haven’t had a bad day here yet.. weather-wise. Everyone I talk to, be it a tourist, fellow camper, or a local, says this is the most perfect place on earth for the weather. I am beginning to believe what they are saying. It’s a bit cool in the morning and evenings but warms ups to 80 degrees (26 Celsius) during the day. I hear it’s winter here right now. This is my best winter so far! We planned two hikes this week. One on Tuesday to try a new place with Max and Deb. The Friday hike was going to be to the Cross in Jocotepec to try the steep side up again. That was supposed to be just Larry and me. We are a great hiking team. Both very motivated to get to the top in record-breaking time. We do less stopping when we hike alone. I do enjoy hiking with others as it gives me more time to enjoy the scenery and take pictures...hopefully of birds. Ha Ha Ha

We started out early Tuesday morning for the drive to Ajijic to hike to Tres Cruces. Larry and I found this hike last week when we walked up the hill from Dona’s Donuts. We told Max about it and he was interested in doing it. Deb is up for least once! We took two cars as Max had errands to do afterward. We didn’t know much about this area except what I found on all trails.

We had lots of water this time and more food. It’s not fun when we run out of water before we get done. Let's just say there were lots of trails that sprouted off from the main trail. We did some backtracking too. Sometimes I was able to bring up my all trails map and other times I had no service. We got to El Pandito in about 2 hours. It was a nice flat area to rest and had great views of Ajijic and Lake Chapala. Another good link to explore lake Chapala. Three out of four of us, felt like it was time to return down the hill. We were satisfied with our efforts even though we didn’t get to the 3 crosses. We were willing to try another day. I just wanted to check out the next part of the trail up the hill to get an idea. Well, Max says, “I think we should try.” I took a group vote and we decided to try the steep trail to the crosses. It split into 2 trails shortly after we began. We followed the yellow and white trail markings and went left instead of right which had no marks. We hiked down quite a bit which seems weird as we were trying to get to the top of the hill. When my all trails app started working again, I discovered that we were on the wrong trail. This one would eventually get us there but in twice the time…..I ask if we should turn around. Max says no, to keep ongoing. We continued to hike for another hour as this trail gradually started uphill and got very narrow. In some places, it was only one foot wide…..parallel. When we got to the place where the rope was required… you wouldn’t fall off the side of the hill, 3 out of 4 folks stopped! Larry scampered up the hill aways. We called out and Larry said, you guys don’t want to come up this way. He said it only got worse! At this point, we all called the hike to the crosses done and headed back down. We still had a super great time but I didn’t feel like dying on this day! The trail! We were on the trail from 9:30 am until 3:50 pm.

When we got back to our trailer after the hike, my tummy was unhappy. I thought I might have drunk too much water on the way home. I hopped in bed at 4:30 pm and didn’t get out until when my alarm went off at 6 am. I fell asleep at 9:30 pm but had a tummy ache for hours in the evening. The alarm was for me to get ready for our bird-watching walk. I had better directions this time to a park in Chapala and was confident that we would have a successful day birding. Then Larry came in. He gets up around 5 am. I asked how he was doing and he said bad. What??!! Now he had a tummy ache. We both agreed that bird watching was out. So Sad. He said I should go alone but that wouldn’t be as fun. I went back to bed! We just stayed around the park and hung out at the warm pool later in the day. We rested.

Thursday was a huge day. We didn’t know it when we got up but we talked about just going out on an exploration. We do that sometimes. No Plan and no direction. We called and booked massages at 3 pm in Ajijic at Total body care. We had massages there last week and have decided to get them once a week. The price is very reasonable and we can use them with all the hiking we are doing. It takes about 30 minutes to drive to Ajijic. When we took off, we thought we might drive up some new roads along the way. We saw a church and tried 3 roads but never found the one to it. We got close but never won.

We found some houses and properties that were for sale. We snooped around some of them. One really awesome house was open….so we went in for a look. It had 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a huge kitchen and living space, and a Pool!! The pool had green water but what the heck! Great views of the lake…..I was dreaming! We found a Huge old tractor too. I climbed up that much crazy fun!

We headed into town and parked close to Dona’s donuts but across the street. Larry picked up his amazing strong coffee from a street vendor. This is supposed to be the best coffee around according to our neighbor Robin. We left the truck parked and walked to Colon street. This is a great street that has lots of shops, restaurants, and bars on the way to the Malecon. I absolutely love this place! We happened upon a cute bar called The cocktail bar and when we saw curling on the TV, we Had to go in…..of course! Larry and I both had una cervesa and watched the women’s curling finals. He tried to explain it to me…...maybe someday I’ll understand. Larry was happy and so was I.

We had 14 minutes until our massages. We easily found the spa so we made a short walk down to the Malecon and back. Our massages were great and we booked again for the next week. I’m getting the same guy as he did a super job! Another leisurely walk down to the Malecon to watch the activity. They recently opened up some public places again as the Malecon were mostly closed until 2/15. We watched families have picnic dinners and children play at the park. Many folks were walking along the pathway in the warm afternoon sun.

We saw two gentlemen sitting enjoying a conversation alongside the lake, it was a beautiful and sunny day and everything seemed wonderful.

We watched some performers climb up a high pole, tie themselves and spin while unwinding all the way down. I’m not sure what it’s called but we enjoyed it. It also made us hungry! Lol

We found a restaurant on Colon street that catered to Americans and us! Restaurant Tango! The menu was in English and it had everything….especially lots of yummy vegetarian goodness for me! It seemed like they had one waitperson per 2 guests. They were super attentive and our waitress spoke good English. Larry had 4 cheese lasagna and I had a portobello appetizer. We also got sauteed mushrooms too. The portions were good and I treated myself to 2 mojitos. Larry had a Victoria. All this food for only $499 pesos ($25US) So good!!!

After dinner, we headed back to the truck and passed through el Centro. It looked like things were almost back to normal with folks out and about. Most people are wearing masks walking in the streets now but most public places are beginning to open up more. We stopped and listened to a local playing his guitar and Larry gave him 120 pesos ($6 US). He was very good. We bought an ice cream cone to share on the walk back. It was only 2 blocks and Larry ate most of it!

As we approached our truck, we saw a tow truck with lights flashing and a cop directing traffic. As we got closer, we saw the smashed-up car only 8 feet away from the driver's side of the truck. Luckily, there was no damage and we drove toward our home….Roca Azul. It’s about 30 to drive back and we usually stop by the water store to fill our jug. As the sun was going down, the people were coming out. I was so surprised at the number of folks on the little street we take back. We had a hard time finding a spot to park at the water shop. It all worked out, as it always does! Max, our hiking friend was at our door just after we got home. He asked if we were hiking the next day and if he could come. Of course!

We decided to give the Tres Cruces another go. I had it all dialed in on my all trails app and I felt confident that we would have success on this day. Max is a very strong hiker but sometimes has a poor sense of direction. I decided I would not follow his guidance unless Larry totally agreed. Max has taken us down the wrong path twice so far. Once we walked around in circles on cow trails for 1 and ½ hours. The other time was on Tuesday when he wouldn’t turn back to get on the right trail to the tres cruces. Max offered to drive so both of us got to be looky Lou's. We brought lots of water and snacks as the last time I waited too long for food and got light-headed on the trail. The elevation also has something to do with that too. As we were hiking, I tried to identify some birds that were flying and jumping through the thick trees but wasn’t very successful. At a resting point, Max was using the outdoor restroom and he called out to me. “Rhonda, come over here..there’s a bird!” I asked if he had his pants up…..and when I got over to him...he almost had! I looked up in the tree where His bird was…... It wasn’t moving at all. I zoomed my camera to see a very large bird-shaped dead leaf. Lol