Potrero Chico Day 2 – 26 Dec 2015
Due to the fatigues of traveling the day before I ended up sleeping in until 09:00hrs. Like a child on Christmas morning I couldn’t wait to open up the tent and soak in my surroundings. I had only seen photos of the limestone Spires of Potrero Chico and there’s nothing more magical that waking up in a totally foreign geographical location.
Wake Me Up
There was a moderate fog throughout the campsite. But as the sun was starting to rise you could see the impressive mountain ranges pierce through the grounds before you. I love the sight of little brightly colored tents littered around the base of the mountains. It reminds of me Penas de Aguila in Colombia.
Potrero Chico is a divided by a canyon and is encircled by limestone spires. It’s main draw are highly protected sport routes for climbers. The guidebooks at present are outdated and not very user friendly but Frank Madden is currently working on writing a badass updated version. A great way to find up to date information on routes and climbing stuff is to check out Potrero Chico Rock Climbing. It’s a climbing community based page designed to give climbers and even just travellers the 411. Where to go, what to eat and safe places to hang out. Frank Madden is the manager of the page and has been working on an updated guidebook for the past couple years. Mike is also the other manager of the page and he run El Buho! The magical coffee shop that provides community support and many other things which I’ll have to talk about one of these days because it’s AMAZING!
Once I overcame the awe of Potrero Chico (translated as “the little Corral”) I walked through the quiet campsite past the beautiful pool where a staff member was sifting the leaves from the surface. I’ve come to realize that this is one of my favourite things. Waking up to an empty pool. I think it stems from years of lifeguarding and opening pools, working mornings at the beach.
This truly is a climbers paradise. Pool, lounge areas, communal kitchen, wifi, choice of camping or rooms,showers and running water. Even an onsite restaurant. We haven’t quite hit high season yet but word on the street is that La Posada is going to be a gongshow in the next 24hrs. I’m not a huge fan of super crowded places so… for now it’s amazing but we have plans to migrate once it starts getting crazy.
I made my way to the communal kitchen where Andrea was having coffee with Frank. Andrea had already gone for a morning run while the rest of us were slowly getting up.
Since Adam and I arrived so late Andrea and other Adam graciously shared their toilet paper and food with us. (You have to provide your own TP for the restrooms). Often times travelling in other countries I find you have to bring your own toilet paper and soap to restrooms and usually used toilet paper is thrown in a waste basket rather than flushed. It’s funny how something like this can seem second nature to some and then when you actually think about it – especially growing up in North America – it’s not actually such a common sense thing. So TIP! When using toilets in another country… be aware of the customs and be ready to carry around your own toilet paper.
Once I sat down with Andrea and Frank, Andrea whipped me up an amazing coffee from a local coffee place El Buho (The Owl). Incredible! Probably some of the best coffee I’ve ever had. But that could also be due to the whole excitement of being in Potrero! I’ll have to make a post dedicated to how awesome El Buho it! Check them out on Facebook: El Buho
Eventually the Adams rolled out of their tents and made their way to the kitchen. After breakfast we rallied up the troops and made plans for the day. We had a late start and didn’t get out to the crag until 11am. We met a guy, Paul from Manhattan and invited him to join us. Since Andrea was waiting for other friends to arrive it was nice to have a 4th to even out the belay ratio.
We started off at Central Scrutinizer and did a couple warm up climbs before heading to Mini Super to try some harder stuff . This is where I got my butt kicked because I’m so out of climbing shape.
My hands are so raw. But in a good way. If raw and good are ever paired well in a sentence… this is the time.
After climbing we hit up the grocery store. We picked up staples to hold us off until the market comes through on Tuesday. You know rice/olive oil/ TP /noodles/ canned goods. I was supremely disappointed that they didn’t have any canned meat. Yes, I love that stuff. Don’t judge me! Especially the South American spreadable kind! Mmmm meat in a can.
Famished from climbing and buying groceries we all decided we needed an intermediary meal to hold us off until dinner time. We stopped at a cute lime green and yellow restaurant off corner of the main square, where we devoured really good 6 peso tomales at Le Originales Tomales de Hidalgo. Then finally we finished the meal with street churros and papas fritas. I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE fresh Mexican churros! The perfect ones are always fresh, hot, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s kind of like a crunchy donut dusted with cinnamon and sugar. But the texture is aa little different. The secret is in the batter. The ingredients are simple but a true churro has a very specific texture. The ratio of the ingredients must be perfect! In this case the churros were about 3/5. But usually in Canada they’re like 1/5 or 2/5 so this is still better. I can’t wait for market day hopefully we’ll find some more churro stands!! Besides. These ones were kind of “expensive” at 20pesos/ bag.
After dropping off the groceries at our campsite at La Posada, we met up with Julie, Pat and Eva at El Chalet. These were the friends of Andrea and Adam C’s that we met at the airport when we arrived. They’re originally from France but have been living in California for 12 years, so it’s where they now call home.
The Chalet is further up the canyon and essentially sits in the middle of all the climbing crags! It’s like a ski out but… a climb out. We’ll be joining the family in a few days, where there will be 8 of us lodging in one big room. Yay, grown up sleep over!
All of us mobilized and headed for pizza at Luigi’s in Hidalgo. Word on the street is that Luigi’s makes the BEST pizza in the area. And yes. I concur. The bread they use for the crust is amazing! On the way back Adam dropped us off at a Leo’s. A street eatery next to Posada where we met up with Mike, Emma and Mark (the guy we met with a snowboard at the airport and his friends that gave us a ride from Monterrey). We also made some new friends! Liv and Huffa from Jersey and Brazil. And Brett and Kirstin from BC.
Now I go to bed. A full day. A full stomach. A full heart. Awesome possum.