Wednesday, April 05, 2017

city slickers duding it up

The house with no name has changed. A lot.

For the past four months, our little situation comedy has hosted a long list of cast members disguised as friends and relatives. My Mom. My "second" family: Laura, Josh, Jeremiah, Eddy, and Culprit. My Air Force friend Robin. Christy and Darrel's friends: Lisa, Mark, and Diane.

And, of course, Darrel and Christy. I dropped them off at the Manzanillo Airport this afternoon. Early tomorrow morning, they will be back home in Bend. In the cold.

My blogger pal Jennifer Rose has a theory about the visit from my brother and sister-in-law; they were trying to do me in. And they tried again yesterday.

Over three years ago, I joined Ray Calhoun, the owner of The Only Tours, on a scouting trip following our rainy season (i never do anything twice). He was interested in which trails were still open and which would require work to repair.

It was one of the best days I have had in Mexico. I ended the essay with a promising thought: "I intend to take a few more runs myself." It turned out to be a promise not kept.

Until yesterday. Darrel loves anything with an engine that can crash through the bush and put the rider on death's doorstep. Since his arrival in December, he has talked of little else than taking an ATV ride.

And so we did. Ray has a standard tour that takes his groups through our "jungle" up a dry river bed (at this time of year) ending in a hike to a waterfall.

It sounded enticing to the three of us. Because I wanted to capture as much of the adventure as I could for you, I took along my digital SLR and my telephone. I looked like one of those improperly dressed news photographers who tried to tag along with American troops in the Gulf War.

Racing across open sands with a guide and two family members is one of those experiences I will remember for a long time. One reason I drive as fast as I do on Mexican highways is to get a taste of that adrenaline rush. On the river bed yesterday, I drank a tray of those cocktails.

And no outing would be worth doing without a little injury. On my last trip, my legs were whipped with some sort of nettle. The result was more annoying than painful. To avoid that this time, I unwisely wore long pants. Instead, I ended up with a small scratch on my bare arm.

This area of Mexico offers a cornucopia of enthralling sights. The river bed was not one. It simply looks like a desert. But it forms a utilitarian highway for the ATVs.

Along the way, nature offered up several sights new to me. A cow giving birth to a calf in the river bed. Four partially-grown great white egrets still hanging around their mother for additional protection. Three yellow-blossomed primavera trees putting on a late season show. And boulder after boulder that the river had incredibly pushed down stream.

We were soon to encounter more of those boulders. Ray stopped us near what looked like a dam of boulders, and announced that we were at the trail head. When Darrel told me we were going on a hike, I thought Psalm 23. "He has me lie down in green pastures,/ he leads me beside quiet waters,/he refreshes my soul." That sort of thing.

The reality was a bit more prosaic -- and far more challenging. To get to the waterfall, we had to cross a series of boulder dams that would have felt quite at home on Frodo's journey to Mordor.

But we were not going to Mordor. We were headed to a spectacular waterfall that made the effort worthwhile.

When we first caught a glimpse of the waterfall, it struck me as an Indiana Jones compilation of the rock scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the gap leading to the temple in The Last Crusade. My mistake of wearing long pants kept me from finishing the last climb to the waterfall. They were simply too tight on my legs. And neither my camera nor my telephone were happy with the abundance of water.

And it was the water that made all the difference. The contrast between the arid bed down stream and the clear, refreshing flow at the waterfall perfectly contrasted how quickly our local landscape can change.

It was a perfect way to wind up my visit with Christy and Darrel. The trip and a well-executed dinner for all three of us at Marlena's put a great coda on their four month visit.

They will be back. I suspect when they return to the 20 degree winter weather in Bend, they will be looking forward to their next appearance on Mexpatriate.

I know I am.

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