Monday, March 14, 2011

Huaxtla Hot Springs and Hiking Adventure

This past Saturday we had the immense pleasure of being invited by some of our colleagues to accompany them on a "great outdoors" adventure with some locals they had met the week before.

The backdrop for this adventure was a small town called Huaxtla, which is located in Zapopan, one of Guadalajara's seven municipalities. According to the limited information I could find online, Huaxtla has a modest population of approximately 135.

The day's itinerary was to consist of a hiking expedition on a local ranch, followed by a cook-out and a bit of swimming in the hot springs.

After three or four wrong turns, in which we began to doubt our hosts' knowledge of the area, we arrived at our first destination, only to discover that the ranch was closed.

As it turns out, this was perfectly fine. After 15-20 minutes of hiking in the vicinity of the ranch, we all decided it was too hot, thank you very much, and that we were all reasonably inclined to move on to the water portion of the day.

I managed to snap a few shots before our
faux heat strokes set in...

Given how hot the weather is at this time of year (and, oh goodness, it's only going to get worse), and how dry the landscape has become, we were a bit horrified when the road signs indicated that we were approaching the springs...and suddenly came across this...

Overcoming our momentary fear and letting reason dictate that this was merely a retention pond of sorts (though why there were tortillas floating in it, we may never know), we sojourned forward and eventually came across this...

Balneario Huaxtla is literally a secret island of happiness hidden in one of the most desolate places I have ever seen. If that sounds harsh, just remember the population fact from earlier. We were in the mountains. It was hot. It was dry. There were maybe 135 people up in them thar hills.

Actually, there probably weren't. They were all here. There were several pools, all at varying degrees of temperature (depending on proximity to water source) and depth (depending on where the ground was), and they were all full of happy families seeking a reprieve from the heat.

And can we just take a minute to appreciate that view from the pool? It's just beautiful. Not the mountains, silly. I'm talking about us.

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