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In the Sierra Madre

The Sierra Madre makes us work hard to cross them. Mescal distillers, steep roads, and mysterious mountain towns. (Map this!)

“Si Senor, this road is very good!”, said the bicyclist about the shortcut to Juquila. Our ten year old map did not show any road at all, but here was a beautiful road going exactly where we wanted and would shave off over four and a half hours of tough Mexican mountain driving. The road wound into the Sierra Madre, where one doesn’t need no stinkin’ badges. A steep grade kept me shifting between second and third on a roadbed without exhaust belching trucks and an absence of the dreaded speed bumps or ‘topes’ as they are called in Spanish.

Incredibly the road kept getting better and better. What dedication, to build such a fine road to such an out of the way place such as Juquila! We passed the asphalt truck and bid a cheery ‘Buenos Dias!’ to the work crew…and then the road STOPPED. In front of us stretched a narrow dirt track clinging to the Sierra Madre, with 1000+ foot drops into the valley. We looked at each other and grinned as I enabled the low gearing on the FJ. Streams had partially washed out small sections, but otherwise the dirt track was good, despite being steep and narrow. After sixteen dusty miles we pulled into the town of Juquila.

sierra-madre dr-jesus juquila-stalls

Juquila is high in the Sierra Madre and the climate is refreshingly cooler. It is famous for the Virgin of Juquila, a frail statue revered by the Mexicans. The carved figure is set high above the altar and is barely visible, heightening the sense of mystery surrounding her. Similar to the Jade Buddha that can only be seen with binoculars, the virgin of Juquila is unapproachable by the commoner who has come miles to see her. Old women on their knees slowly scraped their way to the altar, such is the devotion she commands. The side market abound with religious and devotional artifacts such as portraits, Jesus dolls, candles, and other knick-knacks.

2 Responses to “Taking a short-cut through the Sierra Madre”

  1. madhuri says:

    The mountains look kind of dry? Strange for this time of the year..

  2. Shreesh says:

    Madhuri –

    This is the dry season for this part of the world. The rains come in June/July and last till November. We are about at the same latitude as the South of India.

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