People travel for different reasons and experience the outdoors in different ways. Some people want to bag as many fourteeners (climb to peaks over 14 000 feet (4 267 m) ), see sweeping vistas, climb ice, learn a new language, carve virgin powder, or ride a new trail. We like to experience the world much the same way a drooling baby does, by shoving things into our mouth.
Sometimes this backfires, like today, when Sarah thought she was getting a delicious pomegranate juice, only to discover on the first sip it was a beet drink. It was vindicating to see her expectant “Yum!” face turn to “Ew!” This was right after she chided me for getting a Coca-Cola and not trying something different.
I looked at the fat jolly man winking at me from the label (Coke has rolled out its Christmas promotions) and I winked back. “Yo también creo en ti” Santa, especially when you deliver beet juice to little girls putting on airs of moral superiority.
The area surrounding Guanajuato with its rolling hills, scrub and grasslands reminds me of the Texas Hill Country, west of Austin. About an hour and a half before sunset we take a two-track trail up further into the hills in search of a camping spot.
Sarah explored one branch and I the other. I discovered a small, clear pond but the surrounding area only had rocky, uneven spots. None were ideal for a comfortable night’s sleep.
I was bouncing over the rocks, coming back down the trail when I heard a gunshot and saw Sarah frantically waving at me.
“There’s a truck and three guys over there. One of them has a rifle. I think they saw me.”
So what’s the only logical thing to do when you are in the middle of nowhere, inside a foreign country, with a group of armed men visible?
Go and make friends with the guy with the gun!
We walked down to the group, introduced ourselves and explained that we were biking. We asked the man that stepped forward to shake our hands if it was permissible to camp (our Español has greatly improved beyond the ability to order at Taco Bell). He’s the owner.
Without hesitation he warmly tells us to camp wherever we care to and assures us that it is quite and no one will bother us. He also lets us know that we may see his neighbor who sometimes rides his horse through the hills.
Additionally he offers to sell us some of his property. He continues by highlighting the beauty of the land, where the river runs through the property and notes the lake on the other side of the hill.
Luckily, the offer was not at gun point.