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Mexico’s Mountains: La Marta

08 Jun 16
Heidi Kumm
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When I came down to Mexico I have very few plans…but after my visit in February I knew there were mountains so they were definitely on my agenda. After two weeks of playing in the mountains surrounding the city of Monterrey I started chatting with Daniel, one of the Lycans Endurance Team founders. It was decided…we would spend our Saturday in the mountains west of Monterrey. More specifically, La Marta [also, La Martha].

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We left southern Monterrey at 5:30am, were at the trailhead parking lot by 7:30am and headed up the trail before 8am rolled around. It was chilly — much chillier than Monterrey! We left the city in shorts + tanks, by the time we parked the car we were both very thankful for the extra shirts we tossed in “just in case” + “for after the run” because we needed them!

As per Mexican tradition the trail immediately took us straight up the mountain side. The first mile or so was through the trees + along the occasional forest service road. It was steep, but we were following a clear trail. The next chunk of trail was straight up a flower filled meadow, zig zagging from one cairn to another as we climbed up, up, up.

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Honestly, it felt a LOT like the trails of the Never Summer 100k…a bit steeper, but the grass + flowers had me floating along in my happy place. More importantly, my legs were on board with the climbing! I have covered far more vertical feet than flat miles down here in Mexico + my legs’ ability to tromp their way up a mountain has greatly improved over the past few weeks. It’s exciting! Now, let’s just hope I still know how to run in general!

We started the hike under nearly clear skies — another bout of Colorado reminiscing with the blue bird day — but the clouds started rolling over the surrounding mountain peaks as we neared the summit. Honestly, after weeks of sweating bullets in the city heat of Monterrey it was incredibly refreshing to have a breeze strong enough to warrant long sleeves. And did I mention there were hundreds of wildflowers?!

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Once we had climbed our way up the the saddle the last stretch of trail was easy. Technically you could even call it runnable…if you really like wobbly rocks + jagged shrubbery. We didn’t run, but my legs were elated to be stretching themselves out, even if it meant scratches + blood. Those bushes are no joke! All the foliage wants to cut you here. Not kidding.

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Summit! We made it to the summit! Which we can prove, because we touched the cross — something that has adorned nearly every summit I’ve been to outside of the United States. #funfact. We jumped around a bit before settling into a rocky lounge chair for lunch.

About half way through my sandwich I noticed it…complete silence. It was so quiet I could hear my heartbeat, not just feel it, but truly hear it in my chest. The breeze died down, the bugs stopped buzzing + there was no background noise as the city was too far away. It was surreal. Incredibly surreal.

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…then thunder rumbled in the distance + the normal sounds of a mountain came back to life. The wind picked up, the bugs returned to their orbit around our heads + we inhaled the last of our lunch. Thunder, even distant, always prompts a sense of urgency. Whether you’re going up or down, thunder means something is about to change.

We wove our way through the bushes, then dropped back down the steep mountain side. At first we were hoping to avoid the rain but it wasn’t long before it became obvious that wasn’t possible. If you can’t avoid it, embrace it! I mean, why complain about rain when you just truly enjoy it’s ability to make a grassy mountainside a slip ‘n’ slide!? Yea, I slipped + slid down the mountain, just adding to the bumps, cuts + bruises the ridge line bushes threw at me earlier.

IMG_0088…running the one half mile stretch of flat on this entire mountain!

By the time we made it back to the car we were soaked. It never really poured rain, but it rained enough that all of my layers were wet + my socks were making squishy puddles with every step. Eh, still no complaints! I had spent the last two weeks finishing every run soaked; at least this time it wouldn’t dry into a salty film!

What is the solution to wet feet + cold everything? Well, turns out a quick stop at a local restaurant for a meal of hot coffee + a plate full of gorditas hits the spot. Oh, that hot coffee was glorious! Exactly what I needed before the drive back to Monterrey with a side tour through La Huasteca [<< absolutely incredible canyon/valley right next to Monterrery…I am really sad I never got a chance to Uber over for a run there, it’s beautiful!]. All in all, it was a mountainous Saturday done right!

Total Stats // 5.25 miles RT // 2,850 feet gained // 5 hours, 10 minutes [including lunch]

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