Nevado de Toluca


The further we go South more cities and villages there are. So, it’s tougher to find places to camp and remaining incognito. That’s the end of wildlife… In Canada, USA and Baja California, we just had to stop when we were tired and pitch the tent close to the road. Here the only places without houses are some field most of the time cornfields. We have to plan to sleep in a hotel or request to people for hospitality. Our budget suffer a lot. We were thinking that we can save money in Mexico…

We saw now, more Mexicans people with their traditional costumes. It’s mean that we are closer and closer to Chiapas and Guatemala even if we have many mileages to ride before to be there.

Meeting some families is a priority for us because we want Kayla socializes and we want to know their way of life. And for that, we are ready to go out of our way.

A Warmshower family is waiting for us in Toluca. We have however to cross the city to reach their place. Riding in a big city is not what we like the best. Everybody looks at us especially on peak hours and find the right way is not so easy. However the people are very nice and they help us: a lady provides us some coins to buy some water.

As soon as we arrived, Guillermo, our host, puts us in contact with one of his friends, Jorge, who knows very well the volcano Nevado de Toluca we want to climb by bike. The mountain, he knows that. He climbed Mt Everest and almost every the highest peaks of the world. He gives us information about where we can camp, where we can find water and a lot of others technical points. He is a member of all kind of adventurers group. He invites us to make our first presentation that night. We have to find some interesting pictures from our trip. Karl will make that presentation for over an hour. For the first one and in Spanish, he did a great job.

IMG_0303

To thanks us for this presentation, Jorge invites us to have some delicious meat tacos and we met there another Jorge who was there that night. And Jorge’s generosity didn’t stop there. The days after, he brings us in town to find a specific bike part we looked for since a long time. In Mexico it’s very difficult to find some good bike equipment. On top of that, he pays half the price of that equipment and drives us at the midway of the volcano road to see where we could camp and to see how the road is.

Ana, Guillermo and Janelle’s daughter, goes to a Piaget school, an educational institution teaching pedagogy very close to the children’s needs. Janelle talks to the school director and she is interested that we make a presentation for the students.

This time, the presentation is very different and we have to choose pictures for that. It was very funny to see the children watching bear or buffalo’s pictures.

We are ready to climb this 14000 feet volcano. We just have to wait the right moment. Indeed, the weather forecast at this altitude is uncertain. Since many weeks, it was raining almost every day. However, the forecast for the next days seem better. We can have 3 days of nice weather. After one week at Toluca, it’s time to leave. As usual, we haven’t enough words to thank our hosts.

IMG_0313

Jorge came with his family to say Goodbye and follow us with his car for few minutes. So we can get out of the city safely. Thanks again for your kindness, Jorge, Guillermo and Janelle. We hope to see you again sometimes.

We plan to take 3 days to reach the top. With all our equipment, the climbing will be very slow. We decide to climb no more than 1600 feet by day to acclimatize us to the altitude and have no problem with the mountain sickness.

The first day begins with a 9 mile long flat level and the road begins to climb easily. At the lunch time, we are not able to find our polar jackets. We forgot them at Guillermo’s house. It’s not the good time because we’ll need them for the next nights. It’s supposed to be cold during the night at the altitude we will camp. We call Guillermo and he will bring us the jackets. At the end of the day, the rain begins and we have to find a place to camp. Jorge gave us a place to tent very close to somebody’s home. Unfortunately, they are not there. We try another house and ask a man if we can camp on his land. He accepts and even offers us to put the tent under a shelter. A few moments later, a nice and young lady asks us if we want some fruit, coffee, tacos and even a piece of cake. We enjoy those leftovers from their family dinner. As a matter of fact, in Mexico, every Sunday, almost all the family sits together to have meal in the middle of the afternoon.

IMG_0324

We were so glad to have a roof over our tent because it was raining all night long. We are at 10,500 feet and we slept well, we are now ready to make another 1600 feet. This second day, the steep slopes are bigger and bigger. The sky is clear and we have all day long a nice view of the volcano. It is in a national park and just before the park entrance we turn on a gravel road who takes us to the top of the volcano.

The park entrance is at 12000 feet, so we decide to stop and put the tent in a rest area very close the park booth. This time our night is not good. One of the symptoms of the mountain sickness is headache and also insomnia. So this night, the three of us have insomnia. We would like to leave early for this third day but we wake up very late. The park guardian was worry and came to see us. We explain that we didn’t sleep well and Mary had a very big headache all night long.

This morning, the sky is clear, a perfect weather to go to the top. We take our breakfast quickly and pack everything. When we are ready to leave we see Jorge (the second one we met at our first presentation). He k new that we finish our climbing today, so he went to meet us with his bike for riding the road with us.

So we leave together on the road to the top. It will be the highest point we reached by bike for now. We were very happy to see that this road is in good shape, steep but not enough to have to get out of the bikes and push them. After some miles, Jorge will like to try a loaded bike. He is the same height than Mary so they just switch their bike. Mary finds herself so light that she goes faster. Jorge finds that is not so bad and rides like this for some miles. Mary likes that.

We are at 13,000 feet, here the vegetation stops and we have a beautiful view on the volcano.

IMG_0353

We stop to have lunch at 13,500 feet and we begin to have trouble with this altitude sickness. We have a stabbing headache and Kayla seems out of breath. The last miles are very rough especially for Mary on his own bike and her headache is getting worse. But we succeed and our efforts are rewarded.

IMG_0400

We let our bikes on the border of crater and walk inside. It was rough. We would tent around 13,000 feet but the mountain sickness is stronger and we decide to be careful and we are making our way down to 12,000 feet, where we slept the night before. We just have the time to say goodbye to Jorge and pitch the tent before the darkness. We eat and go to sleep tired but very proud of us. All our symptoms are disappeared and this night will be better than the last one.

The next city where we want to sleep is at 6,500 feet less than we are. We are so glad to start the descent. But before of that, we have to climb 2 more miles of steep rough roads. Mary needs to get out of her bike to help Karl with the trailer. We take a long time to make that mileage but when the descent begins, we go faster even if the road is not in good shape. Sometimes, some landslide restrains some car traffic but we can pass through by pushing our bikes over the mounds of earth. After 12 miles, we reach the paved road. This time, nothing can stop us and we are going very fast. With this speed, we didn’t want to stop and the lunch break will be later. We finish the day with a big hill (we didn’t expect) and we arrive later than we thought at Ixtapan de la Sal where we stay 2 nights to take a rest.

Leave a Reply