Yagul Campout

A local overnighter with stormy skies, goatheads, cactus fruit, and coffee...

Striking out across the Mitla valley to Yagul is one of my favourite local overnighters, in part because the ride south west of town promises such bucolic campo scenery, with barely a moment on pavement. Completely dodging the main highway, it’s just one little hamlet after another, each with their own take on memelas, or tlayudas, or aguas del dia.
A spate of punctures meant we didn’t make it to the camping zone in Yagul, up on the lip of the mesa top, until just before sunset. Still, time enough to find a primo spot and enjoy the glorious views over grassy marshlands towards the archeological zone, ringed by cacti-speckled caves and enclosed by the Sierra Norte and its inky clouds beyond.
No matter how well I think I’m getting to grips with a place, riding-wise, I love firing up @ridewithgps and pouring over satellite imagery, looking for new backyard places to investigate. For the return leg, we tried a route back that stayed flush to the ragged hillsides to the north of the highway. It turned out great. We barely saw a soul (mostly goats munching on thorns) and successfully swapped smooth asphalt for barely travelled rocky roads – improbably carved into the hills – and a few connecting trails too. We routed via Teotitlan, mostly because there’s a great coffee shop where we sat in the street and watched Sunday life go by – some passing dogs that Huesos sniffed, a band heading to a fiesta (magnificent tuba gleaming in the sun), and a few tourists on the lookout for traditionally dyed woolen carpets, for which the town is known.
One highlight back to Oaxaca was the guavas handed to us, freshly picked on the roadside – or rather, poked out of a tree with long sticks. Best guava ever? Probably! And despite their micro spines, the cactus fruits we collected were also quite delicious.. Actually now that I think about it, the chocolate con agua, atole, and tejate – all pre-Hispanic drinks – were pretty darn good too!

Chapulines, the giant Tule tree and a little teddy bear.

12 o’clock? Sunshade up!

Huesos contemplates the open road, and what it might bring.

Tumbleweed ahoy!

Yagul signage is the best.

Mesa-top neighours.

@chrome.alone wages battle with the dreaded goathead. Kinda lost track of how many punctures he had…

Camping on the lip of the measure meant beautiful sunset views and a mellow sunrise too. Huesos and I went all spacious and luxurious with the HyperliteUltaMid. Bring earplugs though… there’s always a party somewhere in the valley!

Love this portrait. Now that Huesos weighs close to 19kg, there’s no way I could do these trips without the the Frances Cycles Farfarer. The Jones LWB/Tailfin combo is great for dogpacking, too.

Nieves, memelas, fresh-off-the-tree guava, atole, and tejate…

Pricky pear fruit (tuna) is quite delicious, but watch out for micro spines.

More on this fabulous rig – and dangleboot – soon!

Here’s our route. Note that I’m sure about the legalities of camping up on the mesa (I did ask, and a maguay worker said it was fine) but be responsible, discreet, and leave no trace.

Cameras: Fuji x100v and Sony A74/85mm 1.8

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