This is the day we load the mules and leave the warmth and comfort of Marta’s Norogachi B & B. We will not travel far in order to camp in lovely caves our first night out. Of course I’m more than a little anxious & excited. I’ve made this trip before during spring, climbing up over the Continental Divide and dropping down into the valley at Nararachi. In spring just before Easter the world warms & wakes. Now in early December the world grows cold and the nights, long. This is the time for earth’s energies to retreat & rest.
Day Two: Yesterday’s ride was over easy terrain through high pine forests and rancherias. Santiago and Hiram scouted the trails earlier in November and for our first camp site Santiago chose the perfect cave for me –clean & private. This was my first night to use the new cot and I’m already addicted to the comfort of not having to crawl around on the ground.
During the night the drums started and echoed through out the night. There’s a ritual going on over the next hill, possibly a peyote healing. This is the season. Earlier in the evening I saw two men on the path just below our camp pushing a wheel barrel filled with wood. These are signs of a communal gathering.
My cave is warmed by the early morning sun. The view of fallow corn fields stretching out to meet low mountains on the horizon glows golden in this light. Nearby a determined pine grows out of a boulder. These craggy rocks, fields, pines and distant mountains are a photograph waiting in silence. I linger here in my warm cocoon just a while longer. Santiago is bringing me coffee in bed!! This is a first. How delicious. And then the journey begins again; the trail stretches out before us.