We resume the story as I am riding up into the hills above Puerto Vallarta.
After the turn the road indeed gets steeper and climbs away from the river. This fits with what I was told to expect (and wrote down!) so I am confident that I’m on the right track. Then I come to another fork. I had been told ‘stay right’ so right I stay. The road gets even steeper. Stupid steep. Stupid steep and so loose and powdery that the bald rear tire on my rental bike cannot keep traction. I get off and walk portions of it, amazed that the woman at the bike shop said she rides the whole way to the falls. Maybe her tires have treads.
The road keeps going up and up. I can see the peak and it doesn’t look too far off, so I keep going, alternately pedaling and pushing. I am glad for the slow pace because I see some amazing things.
Leaves dangling over the trail mean spiders nearby. This lady was big by Pacific Northwest standards but for Mexico, I think she was on the small side. If you are arachnophobic, you might want to look away now
I see a butterfly caught in a spider’s web (but no skeleton choking on a crust of bread, thank goodness). It’s very hard to go on by and not help the butterfly but spiders need to eat too. I watch for a bit as the butterfly struggles, fighting the urge to interfere, and wishing the spider would trundle out and just put the poor thing out of its misery. Finally I turn away, unable to watch any more. As I turn to go, I cast one last glance over my shoulder. The butterfly has escaped! Yay butterfly! Yeah, I’m morally inconsistent on this point, but I’m sure the spider was able to find other food.
Speaking of food, I am getting hungry. In another few hundred yards I come to a gate. This must be the gate they told me about , near the waterfall and the drinks and snacks. They didn’t say what kind of gate, but no matter, it’s a gate. I unwind the rope latch, get myself and the bike on the other side and do the rope back up again, eager to get to the waterfall, and the drinks and snacks, already.
As I remount my bike I head a deafening screech from overhead. I look up in alarm (terror) in time to see 4 enormous blue parrots take wing. I watch as they circle, screeching back and forth to each other. I wonder if they’re plotting to dive-bomb me, so I decide I had better get moving. Watching them soar, I think that I will never be able to see captive parrots again without being very sad.
I go up another steep stretch and come to … um, not sure. There are dogs everywhere; some lying under porches, some draped over each other on the ground, some up and barking hysterically at me. There’s a rough paddock containing a donkey and some goats. There are chickens underfoot.
Is this the place where they sell drinks and snacks? That’s the thing about rural areas – you might find a restaurant that looks a lot like a ranch, but then again, maybe not, maybe it’s just a ranch. There was this:
I see the toilet installed in an outbuilding near a watercourse and wonder “exactly how is that plumbing set up?” Then I notice the shower curtain, and the absence of human activity and decide that in fact I have taken a wrong turn and stumbled into someone’s ranch.
Next week: pile of rocks or dry waterfall?