Thursday, 26 February 2009

On the Trail to Batopilas

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Birdi Boys


Last Monday I travelled to Brussels to visit Dharminder and his boys. As well as the usual escapades; building Lego, indoor ballon tennis and making camps from blankets and chairs we also took some photographs.

This Time Last Year


Today was the first day of our 11 day trek to Batopilas and Urique and back.


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First of all I was up before breakfast to take some shots of the moon over the 'Yogi Bear' rocks.

After breakfast we got all our gear together and separated it into what we were to carry and what was to be carried by carried by our Mules. We were five on our hike, me, Jim, adrian, James and Catherine and we would be joined by our guide, Dave. Three travellers (from Germany) would be doing half the trip on horseback; Erich, Walter and Sonja. They would be accompanied onhorseback by our camp masters Hugo and Indio. Aaron and Beth would also accompany us; sometimes on horseback and sometimes walking with us.


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We had a very pleasant days hiking, starting with a walk up through a narrow gorge - called Cajones, and then up through some woods. We took a lunch break in the woods whilst waiting for the horses to catch up. Although we waited an hour they didn't materialise so we continued walking for a couple more hours before we arrived at Huicorachi. We were camped just beyond the village school in someone's backyard!

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It was a lovely spot and we walked out to an amazing outlook before dinner. Hugo and Indio did a great job here as they would every night.

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Details:
Started at 9.30am and walked for 5hrs 21min.
Low point 1610m at 9.36
High point 2042m at 13.13
Descent 291m
Ascent 570m

This Time in 2007


Today we are to paddle on the Rio Frio, which is a slow languid river with almost no current. It usaully takes about 5 hours and can be quite arduous in the heat. To avoid the worst of the sun we try and make an early start.

We are up and packed and ready to leave at 6am. The van will meet us at the take-out later. We walk into the village and have breakfast in a small local cafe. On the way we take a look at the lagoon and see Roseate Spoonbills, Wood Storks and, quite rare, some Stilts.

Unfortunately the water is quite low so we cannot start in the lagoon but have to carry our canoes a couple of hundred yards to the river itself. We see several large Caiman hanging out in the canoe as we walk by. Today I paddle with Cathy as Brett has decided not to paddle today.

As usual along this river we see many birds, mammals and reptiles. This is easily the best river for wildlife that we paddle. We actually see a Basilisk Lizard running on the water - hence it's other name as the Jesus Christ Lizard!

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We see many Caiman sleeping on the banks; we have to approach quietly as they tend to slip into the water when disturbed. We also saw many Howler Monkeys, a few glimpses of White-Faced Capuchins, but no Spider Monkeys at all.

All the usual variety of river birds are on show, but we do see two types of parakeet which are not often seen.

Cathy and I are drifting ahead of the others looking for the lagoon where we will stop for lunch when Carlos shouts to us to wait. Apparently one of the canoes is leaking and we don't have a bailer!

We take David on board our canoe as a passenger and the others swap boats so that Carlos has the sinking one!

When we reach the lagoon we discover that the water is so low that the lagoon has disappeared; only a trickle of s stream remains. This means sadly that there is no host of Roseate Spoonbills and other wading birds to see.

After that it's another 45 minutes paddling to the take-out just beyond the bridge. Carlos and Luis start loading the canoes onto the van and I prepare the lunch on the tables outside the cafe.

I put some fruit out to attract butterflies but am unlucky.

When lunch is over we pile onto the van for our long drive to the Lodge at Escondido. The latter part of this drive is through miles and miles of pineapple plantations.

We arrive in time for our guests to have a swim in the pool before dinner.