San Miguel Sunday Hiking Club

It didn’t take long after my arrival in San Miguel to realize I was in hiking withdrawal. After a couple of walks all the way across town to the Mega Supermarket “just to have some place to go,” I realized the cobblestone streets of Centro Historico were not going to be enough to satiate my need for perpetual motion that had plagued me since retirement in October. I still seemed to be suffering from “restless leg syndrome.”

We meet a local villager and her mule at the start of the hike.  Care is always given to respect local villagers by being quiet and courteous, so hikers will be welcomed.

We meet a local villager and her mule at the start of the hike. Care is always given to respect local villagers by being quiet and courteous, so hikers will be welcomed.

One of several scarecrows in this field.

One of several scarecrows in this field.

The first of many fences we must climb.

The first of many fences we must climb.

I learned about the San Miguel Sunday Hiking Club from an email exchange with one of my blog followers (Thanks, Les!) The club meets every Sunday morning at 7:45am at the Pemex fuel station on the Ancha San Antonio. This would be an unholy hour regardless of my need to commute 45 minutes across town just to reach the Pemex. But I made it to the hike early each week in spite of the 6:15am wake-up call, still a half an hour before sunrise. This should be an indication of how badly I needed a hiking fix!IMG_3335

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Another fence.

Another fence.

The 45 minute walk across San Miguel at early morning light was almost as redeeming as the hikes themselves. Rare is the hour when one can walk down the narrow sidewalks without having to constantly give way to oncoming foot traffic. But at this hour, not only is there no foot traffic, it is rare to see a car on the streets…just the occasional taxi cab.

There is always a lunch stop along the way.

There is always a lunch stop along the way.

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The streets take on an entirely different ambiance when one does not have to jockey for position on the sidewalk between the iPhone-wielding tourists and the oncoming buses, carts, and trucks all playing a game of “chicken” through the intersections. The polished cobblestones gleam at the first light of sun rays, as warm tones reflect off the golden ochre, sienna and russet stucco walls. The only sounds that can be heard are the slow, steady wisps of the brooms from the street sweeper people as they whisk away remnants of the festivities from the night before. And if the wind is just right, the dragon’s roar of hot air balloons can usually be heard in the distance.IMG_3352

More fence obstacles...

More fence obstacles…

We had to climb a tree to get over this fence!

We had to climb a tree to get over this fence!

It was with some trepidation that I approached the group of hikers huddled near the Pemex. It’s not easy approaching a group of strangers, asking to be invited to join their weekly event. I was not sure what to expect, whether the “hike” would be just a walking tour around town, or even to the nearby botanical garden. So I was somewhat relieved to see packs, hiking shoes and poles. This told me that these were serious hikers, out for more than just a Sunday morning stroll.

Many opportunities to chat with the locals.

Many opportunities to chat with the locals.

La Joya Parque Ecologico has an actual campground, but locals consider it too cold to camp at this time of year.  Not many have "four season sleeping bags."

La Joya Parque Ecologico has an actual campground, but locals consider it too cold to camp at this time of year. Not many have “three season sleeping bags.”

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News starts to filter through the growing crowd as to what destination has been chosen for today’s hike, and how far the commute. As the eight o’clock hour approaches, people begin to look around nervously counting heads to see how many hikers versus seats in cars that have shown up. We will be carpooling, and there is a risk of more riders than rides.  While waiting on the group to assemble, I have made friends with an Aussie woman from Canada who instructs me, “Get your butt in a seat quickly, so you don’t get left behind.”IMG_3563

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No translation necessary!

No translation necessary!

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I never got left behind, thankfully. Each hike was a fascinating journey in its own right. From the obstacle course of hurdling stone, barbed wire, iron, and tree-limb fences of Rancho Tovares, to the groomed loop trail of La Joya Parque Ecológico, there was always varied terrain, flora, and culture of the local villages to provide interest. In addition to the local color, each of the hikers had their own story to tell, all with a mutual passion for travel.IMG_3703

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I hiked with this group every Sunday, and I must say it was the highlight of my three weeks in San Miguel. It was such a treat to get out of town for a few hours and see some of the countryside. I am appreciative of this experience, as I not only got to travel to some areas I would have never seen otherwise, but I also met some very nice people from all corners of the globe…Australia, Lebanon, Spain, Canada, the UK….all brought together by the mutual love for one cool, colorful, colonial town.IMG_3368

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11 thoughts on “San Miguel Sunday Hiking Club

  1. Call it the over/under club. It certainly trumps rock scrambling. It is always good to get out of the neighborhood, sorry Mr Rodgers. Looks like you had a great time. You look so happy and rested!

  2. Now those were some interesting hikes! We occasionally have to do fences here in the west but you had some down right dangerous climbs! That was definitely a group of true hikers! So neat that you were able to join the group. It was great fun seeing the country side in that area. Thanks for taking us along:)

  3. Great hiking country. I like the fact that there is vegetation. Its a contrast to Zion but then that’s whats travelling is about. Looking out of the window here, the rain is pouring down, so I am very envious.

  4. Hope you didn’t get bitten by the “barbs” when climbing the fence. Oh the skills you have – unstoppable! Great photo of you, being one with nature….happy, happy

  5. As I look out the window at our four feet of snow on the deck I wish that I were in Mexico wandering those pictured places. Well at least I have my Dos X’s.

  6. Your header photo looks like Watson Lake in Prescott, AZ…am I right????

    Your time in San Miguel sounds wonderful, and the hiking group exactly what the doctor ordered. There is nothing like exerting yourself in nature to cure what ails you!

    Love the prickly pear trees.

    • Hi, Lisa,
      I have a dozen or so photos set on “random selection” now for the header, and yes, Watson Lake is definitely one in the rotation! I will always think of you and Hans when I think about that wonderful place, as I never would have known about it were not for Metamorphosis Road blog! I altered my course toward Prescott after seeing your post, and so glad I did as it was one of the most beautiful kayaking spots I have ever visited!

  7. I had no idea that San Miguel had a hiking club. Would love to go back and experience some of the countryside beyond La Joya Parque Ecológico, which we did find enjoyable. How great to be welcomed into the group.

  8. What a neat experience, thanks for sharing. Your solo experiences and ingenuity continue to give me inspiration that I can pursue the travel plans that Will and I had planned together. I am actively looking for the right vehicle. A belated welcome back to the highway and blogging, knew you would return when family matters so allowed. Do you ever hear of fellow travelers/ bloggers spending much time in Maine, Vermont etc? Maybe not since the months for good weather are so limited. Thanks again and glad you are back in action.

    • Bobbie A. — I trust you will find the right solution for you soon to resume your travel plans soon! It is indeed a wonderful lifestyle! I do think there are quite a few RVers who explore Maine, and even on up into Newfoundland, which I would love to do some day. But it is a long way to go for a short season, and the east is quite a bit more expensive. Tough to leave the West with such good weather, no bugs, and free camping! Thanks for the nice comment!

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