God's Bridge (Puente de Dios)

Trip Start Nov 22, 2011
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Los Angeles Jalpan
What I did
Puente de Dios
Rio Escanela

Flag of Mexico  , Querétaro,
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The last day ... and maybe just the beginning for new adventures into the Sierra Gorda in the future.

We woke up early and got ourselves ready for the final morning of our Sierra Gorda Ecotour. The Los Angeles hotel had a buffet breakfast so we took advantage of all of the lovely food available.
Juan Manuel was supposed to meet us at 9 a.m. but we had a surprise - Margarita was going to be our guide for the last day. It was a bit of a good and bad surprise as we loved seeing Margarita again but didn't have a chance to say good-bye or thank you to Juan. Our tour that day was only for 1/2 day and Juan was needed with another group for a full day tour. We really loved having Juan with us for a week and we hope that he has a lot of success working for Grupo Ecologico. He was a real gem and I would encourage anyone who is planning to go on this trip to ask for him.

We asked Margarita if we could go to their little store. The Sierra Gorda Ecologico Group has helped several small communities to set up projects to generate income into their villages and in this little store they sell some of the products that are made. We wanted to support the group by purchasing a few souvenirs.

In the community of Carrizal de los Sanchez, the Herb Shop Dona Vale offers a variety of herbal remedies and naturopathic products made by the local women. Another group uses the rural products of the Sierra Gorda to make products of the highest quality called Pure Life Foods. In the semi desert areas of Queretaro, 16 ejidos (communal agricultural land) use sustainable techniques to produce high quality certified oregano. There is a ceramics workshop in Soledad de Guadalupe and honey produced in Tancoyol. There are 30 women in Colgada who embroider nature motifs on clothing and sell it locally as well as internationally. There is also a group of cattle ranchers who are learning how to manage their ranches with minimal environmental impact.

We bought some embroidered clothing and T shirts, as well as preserves and honey to take home with us. We were happy that we stopped there.

So on we went. Margarita packed us into the white truck and we were off to our last destination -  the Rio Escanela to see the El Puente de Dios (Bridge of God).

The Rio Escanela is about 27 km north of the very first place that we visited in the Sierra Gorda, the Pinal de Amoles. The road to the river is off the main highway and is very sinuous, with some hairpin turns. If you are not driving, it offers some great views of the valley and mountains beyond.

The river, flanked by huge rocks, has crystal clear water and is located in a well-conserved forest.  It is said-to-be one of the most beautiful rivers in the state of Queretaro.

The three of us got out of the truck and walked along a trail that was about 3  km long. The trail was so much fun to walk on. It started out following the edge of the river. Then we walked across the river on stepping stones, being careful not to fall in. Little bridges that looked like fallen ladders indicated that we were to cross the river at times. We climbed through holes in the rock that overhung the edge of the river and at times climbed ladders to get to higher levels. We heard that there were stories about fairies that lived in the greenery and rocks of this area. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that wee creatures lived here.

About 1 1/2 km into our walk, we came to a beautiful gorge. It is called the Canon de la Langostura. It was about 100 m long with canyon walls that were about 5 meters high. Local boys were having a lot of fun swimming in the deeper pools of water here and jumping into the turquoise, clear water from ledges above. In order to go through this area, the locals made little platforms in the walls for people to walk on. At points, water dripped down the canyon walls. During the rainy season, there must be lots of waterfalls falling over the trail.

A little further on, the river meandered into another forest and then at the base of a small mountain called the Pena de la Gloria, we saw a natural tunnel that the Escanela River was running through. The 50 m long cavern is called the Puente de Dios (God's Bridge) - a place that lives up to its name. 

The cavern is the scene of a local legend called "El Meco Lucas". In the 1940's and 1950's, El Meco Lucas is said to have lived in the cave. Local people said that he knew the cave intimately and would come into the town with gold to spend. Hmmm One day he disappeared and was never seen again. However, it is said that he still can be heard in the cave.

Stalactites hang from above and light filters through holes in the rocks above. Water falls from the ceiling of the cavern creating curtains of fine water. Once again, it would be an even more dramatic sight if we were there in the rainy season. We relaxed in this little paradise, snacking on fresh mangos and peanuts, and talking about the wonderful trip that we had had, before heading back to the truck and starting our trip back to the city of Queretaro.

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