Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pico Licos , A Short rock climbing , rappeling adventure in La Huasteca

It was May 20th, my last day of stay in Monterrey , Mexico as i was having flying back to India on the next day afternoon. I was having mixed feelings on it. Sad because i had to leave a lot of friends and colleagues whom i gathered for the last one year and happy because i could see my other friends whom i earned since my childhood ! Last day at office was emotional as well as many colleagues were about to cry when they were bidding farewell and i was feeling the same way :-( It was 5:30 in the eve and had to leave the office seeing the same Alestra building for one last time with a heavy heart.

But Day did not end there as i was aware told about a surprise hike plan by my trekking guides with whom i covered many of the peaks in Monterrey. Got to know later that they were equally sad that i was leaving from there and had decided to take me into something which i could not do in my 1 year of stay in Monterrey ! Talking about guides i should not forget to mention about Carlos Javier whom i met in my first Hike in Monterrey with any guides and he was helpful to take me to Pico Norte in Serro De La Silla and La M in Chipinque some day later. Next come my popular guides Andres and Maricela whom i met first in Pico Perico and Pyramides in Cerro De la Mitras and continued to meet in hikes like Las Aguilas in Chipinque , La Meseta in La Huasteca, El Musgo in Arteaga.  Next person to remember is  Israel Morales , who happens to be the founder of Alpek Adventures( a famous hiking/trekking company based in Monterrey) with whom i traveled till Matacanes an another adrenaline wonder and by whom i got to know about so many places around Monterrey which i could not visit and not listed in any of the blogs/travelogues ! I wish i could meet you a bit earlier man so that i could cover more :-(
Nevertheless it was great meeting you all and am happy for whatever i could cover :-)

A Surprise: 
I had been to La Huasteca 3 times before that day and had done Cycling, Visiting by TT and walking inside the dark cave and going to the other side of the Dam, hiking to La Meseta. But never done Rappelling for which the La Huasteca is known for. There were few occasions where i could have done it. But i had to choose the better plans i had for those days. Andres and Maricela were contacting my trekking Partner Nancy on what time my flight was on Tuesday and i have updated that it was on Thursday afternoon. But i need to leave in morning to  catch it. So, they were asking if i was interested in some very short hiking in La Huasteca which would end by 10 PM. Initially i was not ready for it as i had to finish my packing. As i never say no for any trekking/hiking plans and over thrilled by the thought of some one organizing something for me in some strange country i agreed for that plan and decided to start packing on Tuesday night itself loosing most of my sleep that night :-)

Further Surprises: 
That day evening when i was preparing to leave for Huasteca, have noticed a whatsapp group created for that and could see many strange people in it. Nancy was asking if i knew them and i was not knowing any of them except Andres, Maricela, Israel and guides like Luis, Christian whom i met in Matacanes Trip. So, was surprised on this change of plan. We reached the La Huasteca Entrance around 06:45 PM as planned and i was further surprised to see Israel distributing the rappelling and mountaineering gears to many guys who had come there ! I was not knowing what is happening and are were going with the same set of people ! By this time, Nancy revealed the secret that we were about to do some serious rock climbing and rappelling over there that day and she thought i may like the surprise ! I was bit furious initially as i did not wanted to injure myself doing some crazy stuff and end up affecting my journey on next day ! But I believed Nancy and Alpek guides i have seen in trips like Las Aguilas, Mitras, Metacanes which were damm crazy and the amount of care they take to avoid some untoward incidents. So, I relaxed myself and decided to wear the gears and enjoy the plan instead of backing off from the adventure at that moment.
Briefing by Israel about the day's activitiy

Beginning of Hike: 
Got to know that We have to Hike and do some rock climbing to reach the summit known as Pico Licos which is seen in the next pic and you can also see the route to reach there
Infront of Pico Licos which is in the shape of Triangle wihch starts from the head of Nancy and Ends at the head of Venky

Initial 200 meters were easy and then the ascent started to increase.
Increase of Ascent towards Pico Licos
 It increased further and we had to start climbing small rocks initially and later bigger ones to keep moving.

Challenges increased further when we came across points like below ones where we had to make use of our mountaineering gears  and pay close attention to the instructions of the guides.

After some time, we reached at a point near the peak and had to wait for the first set of people to come down as the summit was narrow and not more than 4-5 people could sit there.
Nancy and Aman were struggling a bit to reach this place initially . But Thanks to the guides they could make it till here.

You can see my youtube channel for the videos from the Summit and Monterrey lights looks like below one from the summit
A Pic at the Pico Licos Summit
After spending some time a the Summit, we started to descend and had to come in 3 rappels. First was few meters which was a makeshift rappel to ease our descend down instead of getting down on rocks as it was getting dark. 2nd one was 50 meters which is the longest rappel i have done so far !

50 meter Rappelling !: 
I have never done Rappelling in Night and not for a distance as high as 50+ meters ! So, was bit nervous initially . But decided to go ahead anyhow.

Initial Few meters were OK. But after some distance i started  feeling like distance is never ending . Luckily i could hear the sounds from bottom and they were motivating me and guiding me on right direction to take (left or right) to avoid going to the wrong destination
Guides at the bottom of 50 meter rappel
To Get an Idea on how high was the descent, look at below picture !
A View from the bottom of 2nd Rappel of 50 meters
There was one more rappel of 15 Meters which was last rappel.

Last Rappel:
Views from the Last Rappel
But compared to the previous one, it was a piece of cake and we could get down within minutes. 

We reached the bottom of La Huasteca around 09:45 PM as they mentioned earlier.

Pico Licos at Night
We Waited for the rest of the guides to descend and have a group pic

Pic with our Guide Andres and Lady in blue dress who came here alone (without any guides) ! 

Coincidentally it was birthday that night for one of our guides Luis. So, we wished him happy b'day and all wished me happy journey. With Lots of joy and hope to keep in touch with these amazing guys and to see them sometime later, i bid farewell to La Huasteca and later to Monterrey...

Our Guides Mau Quiroga(First in Right),Nestor(First from the Left and Luis (b'day boy) 3rd from the right

Saturday, July 7, 2018

La Meseta in La Huasteca

La huasteca Entrance
La Huasteca has been my next favorite in Monterrey after Chipinque as i happen to see it in multiple trips. I visited there for cycling , in a vehicle and ended up visiting the La Meseta in a nocturnal trek. The post is a throwback memory about a nocturnal hike to a place by name Meseta which is one of the easiest hikes in this region preferred by people in the evening.
At the Entrance to La Huasteca with my trekking partner in Monterrey 

How to get there: 
unlike other places in La Huasteca which are inside or near the entry gate of La Huasteca park, this place is located at a distance outside the park. You need to travel in the road parallel to the highway towards Saltillo for about 600 meters to find a bridge . You need to walk across the bridge to find other bridge under which you can walk to cross the Saltillo Highway and start hiking towards the Summit.

Beginning of the Trek:
We assembled at the Entrance of La Huasteca at the designated time and we were the first set of guys to be there :-) EcoBikes near the entrance which rents the bicyles for huasteca reminded me of my first visit here. Gradually people started coming and once all the people came we started towards the beginning point of our trek
Guides briefing us about the Hike

Benti Minutos/Twenty Minutes: 
We started walking towards our summit and guide was saying its just around 1 KM of walk and would take 20 minutes :-) This "Benti Minutos/twenty minutes" is an Epic in Monterrey as i noticed as all guides use it :-) Those 20 minutes does not mean that actual route is 20 minutes . Instead it means that there is a long way ahead :-)

A walk for some time before taking the hilly route

We came across 2 bridges and went under the first bridge to cross the saltillo highway and start the hiking in hilly route
2nd Bridge from where the hiking begins. Zoom in the picture to see the board behind which you can consider as a Landmark
 The Views of surrounding mountains and Sunset is quite good here

Views during the hike to Meseta
View of Huasteca during the Climb

First View Point: 
Within 20 minutes of Hike(actually :-) ) we came across our first view point and were doing some photoshoots before heading ahead

A Panoramic View near the first view point
 Climbing gets a bit tougher after this and sunlight starts to fade. Unlike India, here sunlight would be there till 8 or 8:30 in June which makes it easier for evening hikes for smaller distances like this
Hiking Path getting bit tougher
 2nd View point: 
In 30 minutes or so we reached the final destination which is known as Meseta. Its a kind of flat base with may rocks and our group of around 35 people could sit there in different rocks over there.
It's a good place to enjoy the Monterrey city lights
City Lights when sunshine is about to End
City Lights after Sunset
After some pics and enjoying the city lights at the peak, we started descending down. After getting down and walking in the same track, we reached our vehicles. We headed back inside La Huasteca Park to have our dinner in moonlight and enjoying the mountains of La Huasteca. Even in midnight you would see many cyclists here and don't feel unsafe which was a good experience in the last days of my stay in Monterrey. See you again when i pen down my next memories.
Time to say Adios