From November through March, high season in Mexico, an organization, ‘Hoofing It In Oaxaca’, has made it their business to provide winter visitors with introductions to countryside and villages outside the city in the form of guided hikes along unpaved roads through farming valleys to the area’s distinctive rural towns. A couple of dozen participants are picked up in small buses at the Oaxaca Lending Library, dropped off in a spot of interest to begin a walk of several miles, then picked up again afterward with plenty of time between for exploration. The walks are leisurely and perfectly planned, it’s an entertaining group with whom to spend a few hours and I was never disappointed.
I joined the group for the first time on my second Tuesday in Oaxaca. We drove 19 miles outside the city in our very comfortable small buses and were dropped at a reservoir just outside the famous Zapotec weaving village of Teotitlan del Valle. This hike had 2 options, a climb to the summit of El Picacho Peak with it’s cross and shrine, for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, or a circuit of the lake with plenty of time to chat with our fellow explorers. I chose the latter, valuing fellowship over exertion as I do and, already at 5750 feet elevation, it was high enough for me.
Young agave plants, destined to become mezcal in a few years.
Of particular interest to me as we walked were the innovative fences and gates made of found materials, branches and bed frames, like walking through a sculpture garden.
We finished our circuit before our more macho compatriots finished their descent of the peak and waited in sparse shade for them and our rides.
Arriving in Teotitlan was exciting for me. It’s said to be one of the oldest continuously occupied sites on earth, over 7,000 years, as old as Damascus. And for those, like me, with a fondness for crafts, especially hand weaving, it was a little piece of heaven. The most famous of the weaving villages in the region, we were given ample time to look through the shops, then sat on a shady patio to enjoy a choice of beverage, cold fresh lemonade for me.
When we’d all had enough, our coaches were waiting to transport us back to the city, to enjoy the anticipation of another destination only a week away.
For more information & the coming season’s schedule
visit the ‘Hoofing It In Oaxaca’ website:
Next week's walk, Dainzu to Tlacochahuaya.
2017's Back to Oaxaca, all episodes.
PortMoresby's first trip to Oaxaca, Anatomy of a Trip.
To read others of PortMoresby’s contributions, click here.