Oh, did I mention that I am pretty sure I have tendinitis in one of my right hip flexors? Yeah, it’s great. I think it was a combination of having my saddle poorly adjusted during the bike race, and then doing lots of shoveling in the garden. And then walking everywhere wearing poorly-supportive shoes. Going on three weeks, and I still can’t lift my knee to anywhere near 90 degrees (as in.. when I’m walking).
Good gawd, I sound like a wreck.
So the other day Doc and I were getting cabin fever, having been sitting out the unusually sunny days inside reading and writing IRB applications and replying to emails from potential contacts. So I popped a couple of ibuprofen, diminishing the pain in my hip/ quad to a bearable twinge (yes, I know that was a stupid move. blah blah blah, rest- shmest.) Doc went to the market to stock up on picnic food, and we set out to climb “la muela”, a small peak above town to the southeast.
The road out of town eventually turned to dirt.
The road steadily tilted upwards, starting right at the south end of the plaza. We stopped a few times for “granola” bars (in fact, rice crispy treats marketed as granola bars), but saved our lunch for the cumbre.
We passed fields of broccoli and onions outside of Almolonga.
The route turned off the road and onto a dirt and gravel track shortly before the town of Almolonga, the bread basket of Central America. From there, it became progressively rockier until we went from walking to scrambling over boulders.
It got pretty steep. Like, tumbling head over heels if you slip- steep. Or… falling a long way straight down- steep. Did I mention that I get a little bit of vertigo? It was funny, usually I’m the one looking at something stupid and saying “ooh, let’s climb that!” Or “Let’s just keep walking and see where this road goes.” But on this climb I was actually the cautious one.
Still having fun, despite the vertigo.
Doc was much more adventurous than I.
When we neared the top, a group of kids came running up behind us. There’s a reason Xela’s soccer team gets the name “super chivos” (super goats). The chivitos hung around on the cumbre with us. As Doc was climbing up the other side (there are acutally two cumbres), I heard one guy tell his girlfriend, “That’s a really difficult climb, there’s a lot of risk in it.” Looking at it, I tended to agree; but Doc came back and rolled his eyes, saying that the chivito was just trying to impress the ladies. Apparently it was easier than it looked from a distance, but my hip was getting stiff so I continued to play cautious.
Doc climbing the other cumbre, which I thought looked stupid-dangerous.
View from the cumbre: Almolonga down to the left, Xela to the right (behind the ridge).
When Doc got back from his mini-side- adventure, we settled down to lunch: panches de papa (potato pouches, like tamales but with potato), tamalitos, two very buttery avocados, and a fresh mango.
Seriously the best meal we've had yet.
The mango was mostly soft, but even the firm (less-ripe) parts were sweeter than any mango you could get in the States. YUM.
Most delicious mango ever.
The best part of the meal? All of the waste was biodegradable.
Hojas (leaves) from the panches, mango peel, and avocado peel. Not exactly LNT, but not plastic, either.
The chivitos asked us to take some pictures for them, and then they headed down. We hung around a bit longer enjoying the view, and then scrambled down before the rain. In all, about a 3-hour hike.