Over the River and Through the Woods

My fellow teachers and I went for an awesome hike on Saturday.

We started off to find the cancha de fútbol (soccer field) because Fer wanted to use it in his P.E. lessons (he’s a soccer fanatic). We wandered up the main road, following directions from kids we met on the way, which were basically “follow this road, and turn left on a path, and there it is.”

We ended up on top of a little mound on the side of the road, and lo and behold, there was the cancha across the way!

Fer was content to stay there for a bit, but Chat, Jess, Angela, Natalia and I decided to keep going. Jess and I waved and said buenas tardes to just about everyone we met, which occaisonally elicited odd looks, but more often earned us a buenas in response.

The kids we met were all super eager to say “hi”, but as soon as they realized that we actually spoke Spanish they became shy and embarassed. Some kids followed us for a little ways after we walked past their house. I didn’t get a crowd asking for fotos like I did the other day, though.

Basically the footpaths traverse the entire countryside, and are used by people every day to get from home to town. There aren’t a whole lot of roads up to houses– there is really just one main road and some smaller dirt roads in town– and people will build wherever there is land (regardless of the presence of a road). So, they need footpaths!

Since the footpaths are used in place of roads, people don’t seem to mind if you’re trekking around on them, even if you happen to be traipsing through their private property.

We reached the top of the path we were on, and began following the road towards Huehuetenango again. We passed an older gentleman herding sheep, and he asked us where we were going. We told him honestly, we had no idea! He laughed a bit and kindly warned us that it was “already late.”

And we kept going. 🙂

We found a wooden ladder over the barbed-wire fence on the side of the road, and slipped and slid down the path into the gully. We ended up along a little creek, and zig-zagged back and forth accross it as we followed it down the valley a bit.

After a bit, the vegetation became too thick to keep crossing back and forth accross the creek. On one final crossing, I sacrificed my hand to a cactus on the bank in order to keep from falling face first– with my camera– into the knee-deep water!

We found another path, and followed it up, away from the creek and into a small wooded area. My (ahem) impeccable sense of direction guiding us, we followed the forks in the path along a ridge (and not down-valley) until we came out on a cleared area and a house.

From there, we could see San Mateo Ixtatán in the distance.

We kept along the ridge and ended up on a path into the cemetary, which is along the road where we started!

In all, the hike took about 2 hours.

And so, the Saturday Hiking Club has been born! 🙂 hee hee


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