Windy Point Mirador
Cerro Garcia's 9000 foot peak looms in the distance. The escarpment's cliffs drop off less than 50 yards to the left of the photo. To get to the trailhead, we took Highway 15, which runs along the South Shore of the Lake, to a small pueblo located just west of Tuxcueca. A rough farm road switch-backs up the mountainside and across the plateau. After passing through a farm gate, we drove across a meadow and parked only a few minutes walk from Windy Point. Anyone who visits this area should do it in a high clearance vehicle because much of the farm road is pretty rocky and rutted.
Barranca Yerba Buena for the first time in 2009, I was immediately intrigued and persuaded Larry, another hiking friend, to help me find a way into the canyon. We found some trailheads and later, with more hikers, returned for a series of expeditions into the Barranca. During these adventures, we discovered two huge waterfalls in the deep gorge. Each waterfall drops almost vertically for more than 150 feet into deep pools. The pools are surrounded by sheer canyon walls several hundred feet high. To the best of my knowledge we were the first expat hikers to ever explore this canyon, although local Mexicans, and indigenous people before them, were certainly familiar with the place.
top of the upper falls. After the hike, Raul invited us to come back in a few weeks for a Corn Harvest Fiesta. This fiesta has become a yearly event. In October of 2014, 28 expats hiked the Barranca and celebrated our Sixth Annual Corn Harvest Fiesta with Raul and his family.
Nahuatl is the language spoken by the Aztecs and still spoken today by many of Mexico's indigenous people. A large number of words and place names in modern Mexican Spanish are of Nahuatl origin. After the fall rains, the little yellow flowers flourished, giving the meadows a yellowish tinge. Cempasuchil is used during the Day of the Dead fiesta at the beginning of November. The flower was one of the symbols of death for the pre-hispanic people.
nopal cactus are 2-3 inches long and needle sharp. However, the flesh of the nopal "paddles" is very nutritious and quite tasty. It is, of course, necessary to carefully shave off the spines. Once that is done, the paddles can be roasted whole, or cut up into strips to be boiled or sauteed. I like to eat the freshly cut strips raw. They are crisp and juicy with a slightly tart taste. Used with a dip, they can be delicious. Nopal cactus grows throughout most of Mexico. It is one of a large variety of natural foods available at little or no cost to those willing to harvest and prepare them.
This completes the first of two parts of my series on the Windy Point Trail. I hope you enjoyed it and, if so, please leave your thoughts in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If you leave a question in the Comments section, PLEASE leave your email address so that I can respond.
Hasta luego, Jim