Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Acatenango trail work day

Old Town Outfitters practices what we preach: Community based relationships and trail stewardship.

Together with our friends, local community guides, and porters from la Soledad we hiked up acatenango to do some yearly trail maintenance.

This years heavy rains left the trails and campsites on our favorite mountain in bad shape.

In an effort to be a responsible community member we feel that rolling up our sleeves and working alongside the locals is a great way to foster relationships and protection for this amazing place.

Campsite platforms with a front row seat for the eruptions on Fuego.

Big work = big lunch and a siesta.

Come around to Old Town and sign up for an overnight trip up acatenango.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holiday ride

Today's Guatemalan independence day and everyone's for the day of work.

So we rounded up the troops and headed out on a bike ride. Apparently a big climb on a "holiday ride" is not so cool.

I of course did not know this and headed up hill and up some more to the tops of the northern ridges. At the top of the downhill however it was all smiles.

After what seemed like an eternity if uphill soon turned the other direction and we started for the valley floor. Who know 18.5 km.s could hurt that much!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trip Advisor

Thanks for all the great feedback!

Trip Advisor continues to be a great resource tool for travelers planning their trips. Help us to spread the good word about Old Town Outfitters on Trip Advisor. If you've been on a trip with Us write a review for fellow travelers. Hope to see y'all back on trail soon!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Goin' High!

Today was a big day on the trail. We climbed up out of the Antigua valley to the top of re "Cielo Grande" ridge.

It's a whimper of a climb but the ridge riding is some of the best around. Theres plenty of east coast-isk slippery root sections to keep ya honest.

But once the trail starts down...

It's all the way back down to the valley floor. Come by the shop and teat your mettle on the Cielo Grande ride.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fuego's Fireworks

The Five hour hike to the top of Acatenango, Guate's third largest voclano, is well worth the effort on nights like this!

This was the view from our campsite of neighboring Fuego Volcano. Not your everyday show, one we were happy as hell to catch.
Come by the office to sign up for our next summit adventure!
Old Town Outfitters
5a Ave. Sur #12c

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Las canas

Leaving our beautiful campsite along the rio grande de Zacapa behind we headed into the jocotan grande canyon. This is my favorite part of the whole trip.

18kms of nonstop sweet singletrack, river views, swimholes and amazing scenery.

This place really gives you the feeling of being out there and off the gringo path. It's a hard road but one so worth the trip.

The mountains in this part of the country are no huge but there beautiful all the same. Riding along the line in this canyon is a unique chance for a true back country experience. There is no way out once you head into the canyon other than pushing forward or turning back. We didn't set out to turn back!

Halfway through the canyon the jocotan and rio zacapa mix making a great swimhole. The high temps down in the canyon make the plunge a non decision.

The only town at text of the canyon oaths remote town of Santa Barbara. Lucky for us it isn't so remote that you can't find an icy cold chilly willy to gnaw on.

The end of the day brought us to this sweet campsite at the foot of the jocotan mountains. We set up shop and are celebrating our last night in camp with plenty of cold gallos.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Estellando con la linea

Yesterdays long push had us getting to camp at almost dark. None of us had any idea as to how pretty our spot actually was along the banks of the Motagua River. Here ya go: sunrise from our camp. Pretty sweet.

"la linea" has transformed itself from railroad line to singletrack in many spots. It's hotter than he'll out there but damn it's pretty. The views from the trail across the river are of the cool cloud forests of the Sierra de las minas, another of our favorite places to go!

As amazing as the trail is, it's incredibly thorny. We logged some crazy amount of flats yesterday only to be equalled by that number today. Add the heat and sand and you got all the makings of a real "challenge".

Given the amount of flats along the way even with the skill of the old town staff 20+ flats is say 15 too many. We opted out of the "trail pump" for something well....more substantial. Welber "super bomba" Jimenez.

It wasn't all fun and games. The 40* temps kept most Englishman at bay. Here is a fine example of an hombre de Tierra fria laid out by the days heat.

However, just as the going got tough, the van found ice and my friend ice on the desert is crucial.

With the beer orders placed we pushed on to our campsite on the rio grande de zacapa. A watering hole next to the camp made it all worthwhile.
We'll see what maƱana unfolds!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The wild wild east part tu

We pushed hard out of the gates and were rewarded by makingitto finca la Cruz. In this dusty desert of eastern Guatemala this IS the oasis of green you're looking for. Breaky in green grass and poolside was pretty sweet!

Alas all that greenery has to come to an end. But man, the views opened up as we rounded the bend over looking the El Rancho valley. This was great desert riding, rolling fun and fast.

Surprisingly as we rounded the end this monster bridge was wanting for us. It's all Rideable for those with what Guatemalans call "huevos" (balls) and is "bien de ahuevo"(cool) at that! I know all very confusing considering both expressions are based on the word "egg".

We rode and rode and rode some more pausing about, well every other 200 meters to repair a flat. We had a staggering 17 flats today, this must be a record somewhere. All was made good along the banks of the Motagua River when we finally made camp after 10:30 hours and 48 kms.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beast of the East GVI charity challenge

The first annual GVI phoenix GC to Copan Las Ruinas, Honduras trip pulled out of the station this morning early. We made it through the hardest part of the trip (Guatemala City) and on to the trail head.

The ride is littered with cool bridges, tunnels and great singletrack. The ride takes you through amazingly beautiful countryside that hardly anyone sees.

Certainly not many gringos come out here. It's a unique opportunity to see rural Guatemala. We pushed past our planned camp and made it to the lush green oasis of finca la Cruz.

Unfortunately the pool and jacquzi had been drained but the beets were cold at the fiends around the corner.

Juan and Co. cooked up a big spread of food, enough to feed an army of hungry cyclists.
Tomorrow we push on through el rancho and on to our next campsite at Cabanas.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wild wild east

Three days following "La Linea" led us to perhaps one of the nicest river canyons I've seen thus far. The trail heads south from Zacapa through the canyons following the river.

The old line, only a flat scar of a bench cut that once connected village to village along the Banana Republic Line, is now only singletrack, and nice singletrack at that.

There were a couple slides cover the long ago tracks which quickly turn Into technical pieces of prime trail
The views, the canyon, the line following the ricer with its old ruined trestles and caved in tunnels is like a scene direct from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid.

This by far was my favorite piece of trail o the whole trip but certainly the most demanding. Today's ride was 7 hours and we only pushed 21 kms.

After a few times fjording the river we made it to the only pueblo in this part of the canyon called Santa Barbara. A couple chilly willys and a few bags of water later we were again on our way.

Misinformation is a way of life here in Guatemala. While out exploring this can be perhaps harder than any hill climb or dusty road. Like the chatter from a "good" guide there is always the promise of your goal being "just around the corner" or over te next hill or just a couple hours away.

Sitting in Santa Barbara was no different. When the locals heard of our lofty goals to reach the town of Jocotan we were assured that it wasn't but a couple hours from here. We should "have no trouble getting there today".

What we were not told about and certainly couldn't have been calculated in our modest few hours was the Indiana Jones style swinging bridge missing 50% of it's cross pieces or the hour(felt like ten) hike-a-bike up an Everest-isk incline of dust and rock. Oh yeah it had to be 100* and not a stitch of shade ANYWHERE to be found.

I can't remember a time in my recent history when I felt so defeated as on that push.

Arriving at the first of the aldeas on our way to Jocotan, El Oregano( yes the oregano) which sits at the top of that hellacious climb the locals began to come down the hill to greet us. I thought they were coming to spare the gringos the last little push and help us with our bikes. Nope, they just sat and watched as be painfully past and snickered. If ever there was a chance fleece a gringo of some
Cash that was it. Opportunity lost as I labored up the rest of the hill.

El Oregano quickly made up for any short comings as we were warmly received after the usual interrogation as to why we were there was over. Satisfied that we were not there with the mining nor the hydro electric companies we were sat down to cold cokes and a bowl of eggs and beans.

As there's no holiday inn in town we were let into the "school" to sleep for the night. I've slept through many a course at my desk but I've never sleep on three desks pushed together.
Lucky for us there doesn't appear to be any classes being held tomorrow.

Good Night!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Railroad gang day 2

Loooooong day in the saddle today.

We pushed some 80 plus kms. From Gustatoya to Zacapa. That mightn't mean a whole lot to most folks but let me tell you it's a long way.
The ride out to the town of El Rancho was pretty incredible! Lots of cool trail, fast and fun with a few big bridges to cross.
In el rancho begins the long push out across the Montagua valley to El Rancho.

I was surprised by the amount of trail along the way where most of the railroad ties and hardware have been ripped out and sold as scrap metal to be
Melted down to build large Chinese buildings.

As this part of Guatemala is
Semi arid desert I thought the heat was gonna be the hard part. As it turns out it wasn't so hot due to an equally strong villain, a headwind. Throw that in with a few thousand thorn bushes to dodge along the way and you have all the makings for an all day love affair.

It wasn't all bad. The scenery was pretty amazing riding along the river with the Sierra de las Minas towering on the other side of the valley.

We arrived in Zacapa at the end of the day just in time for a few beers and a mega feast.
Tomorrow we take on the hills

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone