06 April 2011

Ixmiquilpan and a Return to Canyon Country

Location: Ixmiquipan, Hidalgo, Mexico
Certified weight of fully loaded bike: 56 kilos
States down: New Mexico, Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo

I left San Miguel after some bike maintenance on Billy's nice work stand and headed for the long anticipated Tolantongo.  What awaited me on the road was beyond my imagination.

Visiting friends´parents is always fun.

Next state!

Love motels are always on the outskirts of town.  This one's sign was a bit more obvious than some of the others.  I like the crack definition in the silhouette.

Topes.  Always a surprise in the dark.

Tepache is a mix of chili sauce, cherries, and pineapple juice.
rolling desert in Queretaro

Public Bathrooms: For a cleaner Colòn.  This joke only works in English.

This man has a large tumor on his neck.  Peace.

Broken glass in cement is common security here, but all green glass is a ''nice'' touch.

I saw a road over there.  I thought it was worth checking out.

Cactus fence.

Enjoying an ''1/8th'' in Mexico...

I got a stern ''no fotos'' warning after exiting this tunnel.  I played the apologetic gringo and left with video as well.

Some of the friendly cyclists of Zimapan.

A naked Tatanka on yet another lung burning climb.

Celebrating a successful escape from La Presa.

Politically incorrect snack food.

Enjoying a slice with new friends in Zimapan.
A day of mountain biking with some wonderful men (and one tough girl) near Zimapan.

Tunnels lead down to the silver mines.

Omar escapes the attack dog.

The road disappears into another tunnel.

Omar approves of getting a ride out of the canyon.

Matt approves too. The bungee cord is for my helmet cam.

Nono and Anna, a great father and daughter team.

The colors of Mexico in the spring...

Returning to the plaza victorious.

Fun mudflaps.

Crystal from some of the mines.

Old school mountain biking photos of Nono!  Backpack and a modified frame!

Nono rides Tatanka out of town.

Maguey.  This is the plant where Pulque comes from.

Nice to see some greenery in the desert.

Getting close to turning the corner south to Oaxaca.

Fun plants and a verdant valley.

Awesome airbrush mural on a rolled bus.

Pasteleria Diana.  I wish I had the time to eat all of these.  Delicious and beautiful.  Most cake makers in this area learned from Italians.

The local bike club of Ixmiquilpan gathered around for an estimation contest on the weight of Tatanka.  Estimates ranged as high as 80 kilos.  56 kilos.

They have a great statue of Diana the hunter.

Getting some tamale breakfast before starting a big ride.

Shaguy and me show off the IxmiBike jerseys.

about 8 cyclists gathered to take the trip with me to Tolantongo.

leaving town for the 50km ride (one way)

Tatanka becomes the village bicycle.

We're on MTBs for a reason that soon becomes apparent.

Welcome to the grottoes of Tolantongo!

Don Jorge and Shaguy defeat yet another big climb.  Cycling has given Don Jorge a second chance at life.  He told me his story of recovering from very serious illness through exercise.


At the overlook before descending to the river.

Nacho approves.  He is a bicycle mechanic for Don Beto´s workshop.

Yes we rode to the bottom of that canyon on dirt roads.

And waterfalls awaited.

Naturally formed hot spring and steam tunnel at Tolantongo.

Here is the steam tunnel entrance, with a cold waterfall above.

IxmiBike at las Grutas de Tolantongo.

Zapote tries the cold water before entering the hot cave.

Cold waterfall after the steam tunnel feels great!

Perfect temperature water gushes from holes in the rock, water pressure is incredible, making it hard to stand under.

Another view of the cold waterfall. 

And another.

The view of the group from high on the wall of the grotto.

Maragrito approves!

We don't want to get out, but there's more to explore.

Like a bright blue river of warm water.

And jungle singletrack that is too steep to climb.

More portaging.  It was more fun the other way.

There are little pools on the mountain side.  You can take your pick of about 50 and sit in the shade of fruit trees while looking into the desert canyon.

Finish your afternoon with Pastes, just like English Pasties.

Adan and Zapote chill out poolside.
Zapote incites a ''fotos sexy'' photo shoot.  Hilarity ensues.

Note the ride climbing back out of the canyon on countless switchbacks.

Adan reaches the summit of the climb.  Only 30 miles back to town now.

Racing light...

Zapote on the climb back out...
Nacho zooms back to town.
The kind people of Zimapan and Ixmi Bike Club de Ciclismo showed me incredible hospitality and some very challenging rides to beautiful places.  If you would like to get in touch with the Ixmiquilpan cycling club, here is their email: cdc_ixmi@hotmail.com.

Hidalgo does not get much guidebook publicity but it is stunningly beautiful, with many of its best features hidden in the canyons.  Find some dirt roads and be on your way!

Rolling on.


dd_traveler said...

amazingly beautiful :)

lidia said...


Cam said...

Thanks greaat blog

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