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Ramundo

May 22, 2010, 8:58 PM

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hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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Those hills around SCC are mighty tempting for this veteran hiker. Hard to believe there's no hiking club here, unless there's something I don't understand, like hills full of men sporting ski masks and AK-47's. Any inside info would be much appreciated.



Hound Dog

May 23, 2010, 12:34 PM

Post #2 of 8 (9852 views)

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Re: [Ramundo] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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Actually, Ramundo, most, if not all of, the hills around San Cristóbal as well as the Lacandon Forest and similar places are in indigenous territory subject to indigenous law; some communities traditional Catholic, some Zapatista strongholds and some with an evangelical protestant orientation. These various factions do not necessarily like each other at all and some especially dislike intrusions by foreigners altogether with an added dislike for foreigners busily taking photographs without permission.. These can be far more complex relationships than one first discerns but don´t worry - you´ll soon catch on. There is much violence among the indigenous in this area and among Chiapas indigenous and illegal Central American immigrants but you are unlikely to become a target as most of these Hatfield Vs. McCoy feuds are about land and work disputes.

As for guys in ski masks and armed with AK-47s, worry instead about irritated drunken villagers with machetes which they are quite adept at using. Just remember to observe proper protocol and never go into the wilderness without a pass from village elders and, I would personally advise - do not ever go alone - so start looking for that foreigner´s or local´s hiking club familiar with local customs.

That having been said, there are many state and national parks within a short drive to a few hours of San Cristóbal all with Chiapas and well worth the trip and where you will be welcome.

Here is what I can think of just off the top of my head and some of these recommendations are suitable only for the dedicated and fit hiker and some require permission from local villagers and/or local guides for access:

*El Chiflon (a public park at a magnificent waterfall with many pools and cabins and restaurants).
*Lagos de Montebello National Park with a side short hike at the Chinkultic ruins.
*Toniná and Palenque with a number of hiking places in between.
*The El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve. A legendary rainforest only accessible as a guided tour. Ask around San Cristóbal.
*The La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve that straddles the Tuxtla Gutierrez-Arriaga autopista.
*The El Ocote Biosphere Reserve which is located in the incredibly beautiful mountains between the magnificent Prensa Nezahualcoyoti and Tuxtla Gutierrez.
*The Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve with its isolated but reputedly splendid Laguna Miramar and the adjacent Zona Marqués de Comilla - an area only to be explored with permission and a local guide.
*The slopes of the Tacaná Volcano just outside of Tapachula (a five hour drive from San Cristóbal over a fine autopista but well worth it) which straddles the border with Guatemala.
* Strolls around the ruins at Yaxchilan and Bonampak and, as long as you are in the neighborhood, my favorite Mayan ruin of all at Tikal in nearby Peten, Guatemala.

That should keep you busy for a while.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 23, 2010, 12:37 PM)


chicois8

May 23, 2010, 1:12 PM

Post #3 of 8 (9845 views)

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Re: [Ramundo] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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2 years ago I was driving to Simojovel, about 6 mles out I came around a curve and a mountain loin was have a dog for lunch...he looked up and I hit the gas....
Ocanahua, Jalisco
San Mateo, California


Hound Dog

May 23, 2010, 2:59 PM

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Re: [chicois8] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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2 years ago I was driving to Simojovel, about 6 mles out I came around a curve and a mountain loin was have a dog for lunch...he looked up and I hit the gas....

...and?

I am reminded of an event in my life that took place in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda in 1969. What made me think of that incident is that that mountain lion was doing what mountain lions do which is, whenever they have the opportunity, to eat dogs just like we eat chickens and some of us eat squirrels, they do so.

"Forty one years ago I was walking to the poor people´s tent encampment on the bluffs overlooking the Nile which flows through Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda on its way to the Mediterranean when, naively, I decided to take a short cut across the bush to reach the tent camp rather than stay on the main dirt road. Well, about 100 meters out I rounded a hillock surrounded by small, scraggly pines and the like and, certainly without any intent on my part, I scared the living hell out of an African buffalo, the single most dangerous creature in all of Africa, who had, until that time, been peacefully nibbling upon grass he thought his nourishment out in the bush in a national park he presumed was his bailiwick to be enjoyed without interruption by human interlopers and it was at that moment I had no escape other that that buffalo´s unpredictable decision their being irritable and unimaginably powerful creatures of the wild, as to whether or not to stomp me into the ground. I hid behind a three inch scrub tree and he made the decision not to charge which would have sent me and the spindly little tree to kingdom come.

I walked gingerly back to the main road and met an African kid on his way to the encampment pushing his bicycle. I asked if I could accompany him and he agreed but just a few meters up the road we spotted that enraged buffalo still pissed that I had scared him witless while eating his lunch and he began pawing the road bed and staring at us as if this were our last minutes on earth so I asked the African kid what we should do. He responded that we really had no choice. If we turned tail and ran there was no way we could outrun an enraged buffalo who would surely kill us both stomping us mercilessly into the sod of Africa but if we continued to "lackadaisically" walk toward him as if we were unconcerned about his presence but , at the same time, seemingly nonconfrontational, he might just let us go by on the theory that we were unworthy of instant death which is what we did and he did and that is why I am alive today so far.

It seems to me, chicois8, that whether one is driving to Simojovel or walking to the Nile, it is best not to disturb beasts enjoying a chance repast.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 23, 2010, 3:11 PM)


Vichil

May 24, 2010, 7:04 AM

Post #5 of 8 (9781 views)

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Re: [chicois8] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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I would rather face a mountain lion eating a dog than a bunch of drunk indigenous carrying machetes who are pissed off because they do not like your face.... It happened to a couple friends of mine who had authorizaton to go on the land to count trees, they were involved in a reforestation project.
They never went back in the woods after that experience.


Hound Dog

May 24, 2010, 11:55 AM

Post #6 of 8 (9743 views)

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Re: [Vichil] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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I
I would rather face a mountain lion eating a dog than a bunch of drunk indigenous carrying machetes who are pissed off because they do not like your face.... It happened to a couple friends of mine who had authorizaton to go on the land to count trees, they were involved in a reforestation project.
They never went back in the woods after that experience.

I don´t want to speak for my darlin wife Vichil so this is a seperate post.

Her friends included a really intelligent and accomplished Berkeley graduate student composing a masters thesis while simultaneously performing socially responsible work in the deep Lacandon Forest of Chiapas in an area practically untouched by outside civil order and her task and that of her companion was to, basically, count and evaluate trees in a state sponsored reforestation project in order to ascertain its progress and it is important to remember that there are indigenous communities in the Lacandon that value reforestation and indigenous communities that value timber harvesting and cattle ranching and these folks do not necessarily like each other and, actually, hate each other passionately enough to slaughter each other with glee. Our friend from Berkeley was simply performing her duties in order to affect social change, save the forest, write her dissertation and get her graduate degree. These inebriated indigenous men were so incensed by her mission that they were contemplating slicing her and her friend into easily planted morsels. She felt, and rightly so, that that was a high price to pay for a Masters from Berkeley so she respectfully bowed out there in the deep forest, left for good and, thus, is still alive.

Things are never as they seem in places like Deep Chiapas or Oaxaca so go there with respect and care.




(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 24, 2010, 12:00 PM)


geri

May 25, 2010, 9:16 AM

Post #7 of 8 (9705 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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Hound Dog wrote: Things are never as they seem in places like Deep Chiapas or Oaxaca so go there with respect and care.

I totally agree and will take it one step further. I think some well-meaning foreigners with big hearts come to Chiapas and Oaxaca with energy to "fix things." However, I'm not sure how much they fix. I think tinkering with the forests might bring into play various factions of indigenous folk, who might well be at odds with each other. A tough spot for a naive foreigner to get caught in. I heard (rumor) that there was a confrontation re "trees" between opposing groups in a pueblo not far outside of Oaxaca the other day. Don't have details, but am sure if news or more rumor-mongering surfaces, there will be two sides to the story. I guess I envy people who can take a stand, and act, based mostly on their heart-felt feelings. When I read deep into an issue, facts are so conflicting and complicated that I get conflicted.


frito

May 29, 2010, 5:38 PM

Post #8 of 8 (9588 views)

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Re: [Vichil] hiking around San Cristobal de Las Casas

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In Reply To
I would rather face a mountain lion eating a dog than a bunch of drunk indigenous carrying machetes who are pissed off because they do not like your face.... It happened to a couple friends of mine who had authorizaton to go on the land to count trees, they were involved in a reforestation project.
They never went back in the woods after that experience.

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I'd rather face either than face a "mountain loin", sorry, couldn't resist!

 
 
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