Dancing with the Devil: Climbing Baja’s High Point

Picacho del Diablo

The attempt of Picacho Del Diablo is not a summit to be undertaken lightly. The map shows a 13 km trail, so you practically have to figure thirteen hours of route finding. But first, after just thirty minutes or so of hiking from the east side trailhead, you come to the most ingenious cow-excluding device known to geologic engineering. There is a little two foot waterfall into a turquoise blue pool about three feet deep. Yes, it’s only five feet, […]

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Twelve Days from the Tutuaca

I met some crazy people the other day. They looked normal, but when they said let’s go to Mexico and run practically unknown rivers, I knew  they weren’t that in touch with the real world. Sure enough. They live in a world of their own. I’m glad they shared a bit of their “separate reality” with me. The thrust of the undertaking was to start on the Rio Tutuaca near the Dolores mine, and by raft and inflatable kayak navigate […]

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Food Tourism in Mexico?

A bin of Mole Negro mix in a Oaxaca market

I recently received the following note from a reader who is planning a week-long trip to Mexico for his dad’s 70th birthday. Daniel writes: My brothers and I want to take our Dad to Mexico this December or January–Oaxaca and Mexico City maybe. My Dad is a chef and so we were thinking there might be a guide that could show us the best food experiences with the most appropriate accommodations etc. My Dad has been cooking Mexican for years […]

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Letter from a Reader: Monte Alban Guide?

  S writes: I am departing for Oaxaca in March. I would like to hire the charming guide you had in Oaxaca to show us around.  Can you please send me  Señor Diez contact information?  I would love to have such a local “ruin ” be our guide. I am just starting to travel and I wonder what a proper amount for a day of guiding is?  If you could suggest it would be helpful. Kaki answers: Our guide’s name […]

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Ojo de La Barranca: Gateway to Adventure

Lonely Planet’s first reports from Copper Canyon centered around Creel, and despite decades of tourism most visitors still begin there journey there. Unfortunately, if they arrive in Creel from the coast by train, they’ve already passed the canyon! So instead of backtracking, they go to the bottom of the canyon by bus to Batopilas. Que barbaro! More information would allow visitors to get off the train in Bahuichivo, and get to Urique much quicker than the 2 day connection to […]

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Exploring Oaxaca's Pueblos Mancomunados

Couple stands in front of agave on hike in Oaxaca mountains.

editor’s note: the following post is from Billy and Kaki Burruss, who have kindly capitulated to my request for chronicles of their Oaxaca adventures. If you are interested in arranging a trip in the Pueblos Mancomunados, Billy and Kaki recommend Expediciones Sierra Norte. Kaki writes: Pueblos Mancomunados are seven towns that have united to form an ecological preserve. They manage their forests for conservation and firewood, they bottle water, and provide cabins and guides for hikers. At nearly 10,000 feet, […]

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Mushroom Season in the Sierras.

San Juanito, Chihuahua, Feria del Hongos 2013

While It’s Monsoon Season in the Desert, It’s Mushroom Season in the Sierras. Rain! The water of life! Dry throat-parching dust turns to luscious greasy mud. People who have been lethargic all summer come alive and start to smile. Struggling plants that look like weeds become towering corn plants with fat fuzzy ears as big as your forearm. Tenuous little blue flowers on slithering stringy vines bring forth a bonanza of beans. And underground a quiet revolution is brewing. Overnight, […]

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