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].
I might be showing off a little too much of my sheltered ways but hey, my horizons have been expanded so I’m fessing up! For the first 28 years of my life I had an assumption about Mexico. In my mind it was a desert with beaches along the coasts, maybe some jungle’y forest blending into the desert the closer you got to South America. Desert + beaches. That’s all. These sandy assumptions are a big part of why going to Mexico was never on my radar. Turns out, my assumptions were about 9% correct, they have a lot of mountains and some incredible forests as well…proof: Iztaccihuatl, Pico de Orizaba, La Malinche.
Oooh…it only took three days, four attempts and a whole freaking case of blue Powerade but I finally snagged a mountain summit in Mexico! It wasn’t the one I had planned. Heck, it wasn’t even on our agenda until we started eyeballing the mountains that were kinda sorta “on the way” back to Mexico City. I did a little weather forecasting [ahem, Googling] while Jeremy napped for a hot minute after his Pico de Orizaba summit. A few Google’s later it was decided, La Malinche it was! Or Volcan Malintzin or Matlalueye…which ever name you prefer.
Whoa. I almost forgot all about this post! I’ve been writing a “currently” post every two months for nearly two years. This is the first one I didn’t have planned out in my heads weeks in advance. Not kidding. Usually I’ll be dealing with some random part of my life and think “oh, that’s definitely a ‘currently’ thing”. This time? None of that. None. Maybe it’s because I’ve been busy but really, I think it’s because I’ve been so focused on what’s happening in the exact moment I’m floating in that I literally have not taken the time to reflect. Maybe that’s a good thing, but I kind of miss looking back on the recent crazy of my life…so here goes!
The day after our three failed attempts on Iztaccihuatl we headed further east to Pico de Orizaba, the highest peak in Mexico [and 3rd highest in North America], topping out at 18,491. This beauty was originally the only mountain I planned to summit while in Mexico. I had whittled down my packing list to make room for glacier gear, borrowed ice climbing weaponry and had high hopes for an epic sunrise summit.
None of that happened.
Some mountain adventures lend themselves to long, elaborate stories. Others…well, others are such an in-the-moment experience that I cannot wrangle the right words to truly explain what happened. My week in the mountains of Central Mexico is the latter. Just during the two days we frolicked along the trails leading up to Iztaccihuatl we survived three thundery snowstorms, wandered way off trail twice + literally danced down the mountainside courtesy of some “energy pills”. There aren’t words to describe that…so, instead I’ll share photos + two video mashups of our time on Iztaccihuatl. You can decide if we had any fun!
I’ve been in Mexico for…two weeks? In that nugget of time it feels like I’ve seen a tiny bit of everything Mexico has to offer, so far. I say “so far” because I still have a full month of wandering left to do. My Spanish isn’t getting much better but I am getting more confident in using it. There’s no way around it — I stick out like a sore thumb here so the locals are quick to humor my attempts at communicating with them!
I was standing on the corner of a busy street in a foreign city. It was my first time venturing out into Monterrey, Mexico on my own and I wasn’t sure of where I was going, what people were saying or how the hell to cross this street where it looked like everyone was playing human frogger. On the inside I knew I would survive to find the park I was looking for but on the outside everything about me screamed “confused tourist”. I could feel myself trying to be invisible with my crossed legs, fidgety fingers + averted eyes. I knew I couldn’t blend in + I was yet to dig up to confidence to own my foreigner status so I instinctively opted for invisible.
Spring showed up in February…but winter came back with vengeance in March. The mountains still aren’t sure what season it is, bouncing between fresh powder mornings and slushy afternoons. We might get another dumping of snow, in true Colorado fashion, but in my mind…summer is just around the corner. So close!
Heck, my version of summer kicks in before April is officially over! I actually have a lot on deck for my summer, but not in the traditional sense. I’m trying something new — combining a full-time job with a consistent travel-for-fun life. I’ve spent the last few months plotting, planning, working + negotiating to make this happen, and now it’s about to start happening!
From the snow to the sunshine…in posting order + in real life! I’m in the process of repacking all that winter camping gear into my car for a weekend of car camping + trail running + rock climbing in Moab. It’s a sorta solo, sorta group trip. I’m headed that way to take on another outdoor education class [lead sport climbing] but it sounds like I’ll have plenty of free time to explore trails…trails without snow!
Speaking of trails without snow, La M wasn’t the only mountain we hiked while I was down in Monterrey, Mexico. It was only the beginning of a handful of adventures out onto the trails near the perimeter of the massive city. We had settled into an AirBnB near Cerro de la Silla, a really nice neighborhood that butts up against steep mountains leading up to a jagged ridge.