THURSDAY, August 4

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After almost a week in Oaxaca/Santa Maria del Tule we headed for the hills – the Sierra Norte, northeast of Oaxaca.    There is a group of 6 villages, linked by hiking trails, that  have developed an ecotourism business.  Our first destination was Latuvi.

On the map, all the roads are dirt roads.  When we turned off the highway out of Oaxaca we found a paved road.  It was paved for 2 km. We had another 11 km to reach Latuvi.  The road wasn’t bad.  At least there were no potholes.  It was narrow which made passing trucks going in the opposite direction rather interesting.

When we were almost into the town, we found the road blocked.  A helpful hombre told us we could get into town by an alternate road.  We followed it and when we were just a few meters from the tourist information office we were told we couldn’t go any farther. That turned out to be a misunderstanding.  We later learned the reason for the road closure was a town meeting.  We watched some of it and it seemed to us that an election was taking place.

We asked at the tourist office for a map of the hiking trails near the town.  We were shown a map on the wall.  They either haven’t thought of printing maps, maps are too expensive to design and print or they want tourists to hire local guides.

We found a flat place to park across the street from the tourist office.

For our first hike we chose a random direction and started walking.  We came across a sign for a sendero (trail).  We took it and walked downhill into the forest for about a kilometer. Along the way we encountered a woman trying, with no success, to repeatedly catch one of her untethered sheep.

Back in town we ate lunch at one of the 2 restaurants.  The menu was simple: chicken in mole with rice and tortillas.  Price for the meal with a bottle of water: $5.

Once back in the camper we both took a long afternoon nap.  We blamed the altitude for our lassitude.  Latuvi sits at 7,200′.

FRIDAY

We awakened to a much different Latuvi than the one we drove into.  Thick fog obscured the valley below and the surrounding hills.

We ate breakfast in Latuvi’s other restaurant.  The restaurant was, essentially, the front half of the owner’s house.  I ordered hot chocolate thinking that it couldn’t possibly be worse than yesterday’s.  It was.

After breakfast we took a walk down hill, the opposite way we drove into town. We took a trail to the right and after a while encountered an old man and his wife.  He was leading a donkey laden with firewood.  Both the man and his wife were incredibly happy to meet us. The only English he knew was “very good.”  A short while later the mist turned into a light drizzle.  We turned around and took on the hill up to our camper. We spent the rest of day camper-bound as it rained off and on all day.