Monday, January 8, 2018

La M Hiking in Chipinque

La M Hiking in Chipinque: 

What is "La M" ? 
"La M" is one the the difficult, probably the toughest hiking trail in Chipinque Ecological Park(Parque Ecologica Chipinque) situated in the city of Monterrey, N.L, Mexico. It is one the four summit trails in Chipinque for which we need to obtain prior approval by applying in Chipinque website. One of the pre-requisites for approval is to carry a guide or a person who knows that place well and would be with us. Without him/her our application would not be approved and we would not be allowed to go. Other Three famous summits are "La Ventana" , "La Antenna" and "La Epizote". There are few more trails for summits and would write about them in other post about Chipinque hiking trails.
The Four major summits and their distances from Meseta

How did i come to know about "La M"
In my First hiking in Chipinque where i started from where we pay the Entrance fee till Meseta, i went to see the canopy , Mini museum of Butterfly and garden plants and accidentally came across a board which meant "permission for only those who obtained prior approval" which surprised me. The gate was closed. But i have seen few people coming out from a side entrance. When i asked one of them, he told that it is the entrance to "La M" and we can only go if we obtain prior permission. As that was my first trip , i thought of researching about it later and come again. When i came down that day, i looked for the maps of Chipinque and came to know about "La M" in bit more detail. Although i came here for the second time with Aman , we explored other hiking trails of Chipinque, not covered in first hike and did not plan for "La M". Our Pico Norte Guide Carlos messaged me that he is planning to go to  "La M" and if i am interested to join him. Somehow our timings did not work out well and had to wait till today to finally start the hike to  "La M"
Restricted Access Warnings seen throught the Trip

Entering the summit Trail: 
As i told, The entry timings for the Summits start in the early morning, we need to be in Chipinque early morning. Once we reached, there, had to take a 50 Peso Ascent ticket(for ascending into the summit) along with the Parking ticket for our vehicle. We went till Meseta in the vehicle and from there, started the hike to "La M" around 07:50. Within 5 minutes of Walk, we could see the path divide into two branches and the board given above indicated that only Mesa Del Epazote was in the left and we had to walk 3.162 KM for that. We went straight

Fellow Trekkers going towards La M
How Safe is the Path and how to avoid getting lost
Other than the Difficulty of the path, there are very less chances to get lost as there are only few(in two places which i would detail next) deviations where ends of both paths can be seen diverging in a single point. In other places , boards are put to indicate that the path should not be taken as in below pic
Hiking Symbol at the Top Left indicating the correct path to the taken

Tuffer Trails:
Once you have hiked for about 20 minutes, you start getting the views of Monterrey City across the woods and path starts getting tougher. In approx 40 minutes, we seen a declination which was a surprise for me as i thought we have to incline continuously to reach M. After completing it a walking for some more distance, could see the board for Ventana and Antenna.

Views of Serro De la Silla: 

After crossing the above board (around 08:18 AM) and walking few steps, we started getting the views of the mountains in Serro De la Silla. Pic Antenna, Pico Norte, Pico Virgin look amazing across the clouds.

A group pic of  the Fellow Hikers

View of Serro De la Silla

View across the mountains
After the Ascent, there is descent again
in one of the Descents
Although there was inclination after that, it  starts gradually as in below pic, 
the real fun of hiking starts when the inclination starts getting steeper as in below ones
Normal paths(!) in La M Hike
Fellow Trekker Ruby was feeling tired here and was left far behind. We initially thought Ruby to be the other guide and thought she may give up here or catch with us after some time ! Although we were way ahead of her and were willing to wait , she signalled us to proceed further

After walking for about 5 minutes from above point, we start getting declination again !  After some more hike,we came across a Junction from where we need to choose if we need to go to La Ventana or If we need to go to La M. 

Carlos Mentioned that La Ventana is easy(although its distance is more compared to La M) and we can go there any other day. So, we went right towards La M. At this point , we were there by 09:15 Am (around 1.5 hours of Trek)

Next Pit Stop: 
Views of Serro De la Silla and Monterrey gets better with each step as in below pic
Views on the way to La M
 We reached the next resting point in about 30 minutes and had to wait for Ruby to join us. This point offers similar views of Serro De la Silla and Monterrey
next Pit Stop
Joining of two hills

 Probably it is the joining of two hills

After hiking for few minutes from here, we get an descent again which is bit steep as in below videos

Rope Paths:
The Fun increases further when you reach the place from where you have to climb the rocks ! But it also scares the hell out of you and people decide to give up :-( Although everyone was getting tired, Edna was feeling more tired and decided that Rock climbing is not her cup of tea for that day. She was ahead and with Carlos and took few steps. But the fear of how to climb down seeped in and she came back within few steps. As she was telling, it was her first time in La M path. 

It was the first time for most of us as well and somehow, we thought of giving a try. But How to Climb the Rocks without ropes ? 
Pic From path across the rocks 

The climbing might not look interesting unless you see the below 3 videos of how we managed to climb there

False Hope!: 
Once we completed the Rope path, i initially thought that we did it as i could see some peak and people taking pics As in the video.

Views were mesmerizing

But that was a false hope and we continued our journey further as in

 Finally !: 
we made it to the La M around 11:15 as in

Instead of Going to the Tougher peak with Cross in it, we started enjoying the views from other easily accessible peaks.

Few videos the views are in
We also celebrated the Reyes the Racas (which is supposed to be celebrated on Jan 6th ) where people cut the cream cake which would be having baby jesus hidden in few pieces. The ones who get the baby jesus are considered lucky and need to give Tacos or other party to others :-)

 La M Top:
Eventhough, we climbed till there, we were bit hesitant to climb towards La M Cross as that's bit steep and might be dangerous if you don't know/can't calculate the proper places to keep your feet.
Thanks to Carlos , that we made it to the top :-)

At Cross of La M

yay, We did it :-)

Feels Great to be here :-) 

Getting Down from La M

A video of how other peaks look from La M is given above.

Time to descend: 
We started descending around 12:30 and reached the Meseta around 3:30. Although there were medicines like Volini Spray for Knee pains, First aid kit etc, we were bit slow during the descend due to the slippery ground and small rocks which were slipping with each step for few fellow trekkers who came with flat shoes. Descent was challenging anyhow due to the damp soil in few places which was dry during Ascent. Dampness might have been created by the morning fog or a rain in between.
It was time to realize the importance of starting the descent in the early part of the day or by afternoon in worst case once again.
A Group pic while Descending (Women with Woolen Hat at bottom: Edna, next at bottom: Lucio Cantu, Next up in Red shirt: Ruvi A Carrillo, Top Left: Sudendra GT, next to him: Ruby, Ulises Lara, Adrian, Juan(in Green shirt)
one more with the Guide
Overall it was a good hike with a set of strangers who were no longer strangers by the end of the trip :-)  It was fun meeting a new set of people and adding one more place to the bucket list of nice places to be seen in Monterrey as well. Many of fellow hikers have been to La Alpha and Serro De las Mitras(seems to be quite popular and less steep with long walking) already and were mentioning about it when i was talking about the next places to hike near Monterrey. Although they are added to the wishlist, not sure when i am going to make it.

Till then, have a nice day and Enjoy Guys :-)

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