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!
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