16 February 2010
To El Charco from the Bottom Up
Today was a day for another hike with Fred. Pictures of rocks, cactus, and the odd tree here and there are getting repetitive, I know. I cannot show you anything different, say, for example, pictures of jungle or rice patties or something like that, and claim with a straight face that I just visited it.
You will recall our visit in late October to El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve here and here. This was the place with the large dam behind which there was a reservoir that fed water into a pipe strung along the canyon wall to drive generators further down stream. It is out on the edge of town.
Fred has gotten all enamored with El Charco and is doing volunteer work out there now. Consequently, I have gotten to know a lot more about it. The generators ran a textile factory, The Aurora, that for years was the major employer in San Miguel. That textile factory is now full of art galleries. Fred, La Mexicana, and I attended concurrent big gallery openings at The Aurora just a little over a week ago, as a matter of fact. La Mexicana used to work in a gallery there.
Fred got the idea to enter the floor of the canyon from the city end behind the old textile factory and go up the bottom of the canyon and out to El Charco. We did that today. It was rougher than I expected. The day was overcast and the light not good for photos.
The first thing that we encountered was this old dam not too far up the canyon from The Aurora. It is not a power dam. Rather, its purpose is simply to slow the water down and spread it out as it enters the city.
The lower floor of the canyon is littered with ruins, which as you know by now I love to explore.
This is a cistern that serviced that building, whatever that building was.
A water trough, the remnant of some sort of water transport system.
This is a smaller dam that we encountered about half way up.
This is that water pipe pinned to the rim of the canyon.
Then it started to get rougher.
Finally, we encountered the ladder that allows one to climb up out of the canyon and into El Charco. This is the same ladder that we looked at from the top in October.
I took off on this stroll in my running shoes. I am never going for a walk with Fred again without putting on my hiking boots. He is relentless. We did this hike up the floor of the canyon in a little less than two hours.