I went on a ride with some friends on Sunday from Cuajimoloyas at around 10,200 feet in elevation through the mountains and down to Oaxaca about 55 kms away. I had ridden this area once before but this was a new route planned out with satellite photos on Google Earth and topographical maps of the area.
The ride should have taken us about 5 hours but we returned over 24 hours later. The problem was there was simply no trail. What Carl thought was a trail on Google Earth was actually a cut line through the forest marking a regional divide. And while there were no trees on the cut line the brush had re-grown so thickly it was almost impassable.
Rather than carry our bikes back up the mountain we continued moving forward. As a rule, there are lots of trails through the mountains, most used by mule teams that collect firewood. We saw signs of trails but nothing rideable. Simply, the area was remote and unused.
After 9 hours we had gone 13 miles, mostly by pushing or carrying our bikes. The sun was setting and we were deep in the woods with no sign of a trail. Just as the sun went down we managed to make a ridge and could see the lights of Oaxaca far in the distance, but without enough light to find a way through the forest. So we decided the only choice we had was to spend the night.
On the ridge top we found a grassy area to bed down. We had filled our water bottles at the last creek crossing but no one had any food. Since the morning had been so sunny and warm most of us had left our layers of extra clothes in the truck where we unloaded. Through the night there was always someone awake to feed the fire and had we not had that it would have been really unpleasant. I think I got about an hour or two of sleep at the most. I figure we camped at about 8000 feet and the temp got down to around 5 degrees C.
By 6:30 am there was enough light to continue. A couple more hours of bush whacking and we found a trail that was actually in use. Two hours after that we rode out of the canyon and headed for the nearest town to get something to eat.
I arrived home at 11:00 am had a shower and went to bed. An hour later Kari woke me up saying there was message from Richard who had a rush job for me, get back to him ASAP. Well, this was one of my favorite clients so I couldn't say no. I got up, called the art director, Larry Gendron, and went down to the studio to start sketches.
I worked through the day on Tuesday and finished the painting at 2:00 am Wednesday morning. Then it needed to dry. By Wednesday after breakfast it was dry enough to scan and I sent it off, relieved and tired.