So yes, you think we are zigzaging in Mexico?
Well, it is completely true.
But since we took the decision to take our time and divide the travel in two… we really take our time! So we move between sea and mountain, between freshness and heat.
Anyway, we visit Mexico.
We leave the sea sides for the mountains, and more specificaly volcanos. We have indeed the idea of seeing Colima.
We enter the lands again, and the roads become winding again. Arrived in Colima city, we make some shopping then we coninue the road with Visiterra to Laguna Maria, near the Volcan Nevado de Colima national park.
We stay the night near the laguna and we enjoy the setting sun while trying to catch Colima volcano in action. We meet some cows, but no lava. Not a great success for this time…
The day after, we continue the paved road and we enjoy the little farts of the volcano… We finally decide to take the road to Nevado de Colima national park to have a small hike. Visiterra continues the road, we will catch them later.
This is after a mountain road of 18 km that took us almost 2 hours that we arrive in Nevado de Colima park. It is desert. And just after a corner, the volcano shows us that it is alive (the smoke on the picture is an eruption of the vocano situated just behind this small mountain…).
We want to go up to do the hike to the volcano observaion center. We leave Tikal in a parking lot at 3.700 meters and we continue by foot until 4.000 meters. Some signs warn us a little bit: we will be facing an active volcano! The rise hurt a little, the breath is short after these two weeks spent at the sea level… but the night is coming and the view at the end of the trail is a nice reward!
We set up, we bring out gloves, scarves and big coats and we wait for the eruption. But we are at 4.000 meters. And even well dressed, when we do not move… it is very cold! We wait almost 3 hours in front of the volcano. Our cameras aimed on their tripods. But nothing.
At 9PM we decide to repack slowly. We put away the cameras. And then: BOOM!
Colima is erupting!
Mass panic! We bring out the cameras as fast as we can, we unfold the tripods… but all this with fingers freezed, so it takes more time!
We finally manage to take one or two pictures… (so yes, Stéphane and I does not have the same white balance settings, but it is really the same place at the same time!)
It last a few seconds then nothing… We definitely repack our stuffs then go down to the truck.
We look for a place in the campgrounds of the park, we get lost on a 4wd road, we do a u-turn in the middle of the slope, we almost return the car, and we finally find a place to sleep. In the early morning, after a turbulent night and a small headache due to the 3.700 meters high, we appreciate a good and hot coffee (usefull after the -6 degrees of this night) with this view:
Angahuan – Paricutin and San Juan sunken village
We slowly take the road back after a small walk in the park. We now lead to Paricutin volcano (one of the youngest volcano on earth) and the site near Angahuan.
After a long time on the road to do these 300 kilometers, we arrive at Paracho, the guitars mexican town where Stéphane hesitates to buy a hand-crafted instrument… It is late now, a few days of thinking will be good to take a decision.
We take the road back and we finally rejoin Visiterra on the Angahuan touristic center paking lot. We spend a night much more restfull than the previous one, and in the early morning we jump in our walking equipment and go to San Juan site. It is a village that has been sunken by lava in 1943. Only the church still stands.
Before reaching the church, some food stands are proposing quesadillas. We meet again, for the first time since Guatemala 2 years ago, the purple corn.
We go back to the truck at the end of the morning and we try to plan what we have to do next.
We are at the beginning of january and the protestations against the huge gasoline and diesel price increase (+20%) lead to a lot of gas stations closings. This is the right moment because we do not have any diesel left! The news are pretty alarming so we decide to go find an opened gas station before all are blocked. After 2 failures, we finally find our hapiness: we fill the tank and the two jerrycans then we go back to spend the night near Visiterra at Angahuan.
We now can enjoy the sunset.
We leave the morning after and we decide to go back to Paracho. Decision is taken, hand crafted guitar will be. Santa Claus is late but he will come to see us, finally!
We will drive now to Patzcuaro. All that on a mexican rythm.