The first night wild camping in Mexico was so so. I think I was a bit paranoid and interpreted a bit too much in the sounds I heard. But well, since I had roughly 12 hours to get the sleep I need, I guess I got enough.
I camped without the rain fly. So the light drizzle at 7:30AM kicks me out of bed immediately and makes for a hectic packing operation to keep things dry.
Today, I want to reach Urique - one of the main villages down by the river. But before I can make the big drop from over 2300m down to the bottom of the canyon at 500m another 1800m of hill climbing awaits me. Very slow up, very fast down - the whole day. However, I know that this is just an easy warmup for the days ahead.
Traffic is again low but the drivers that I do see are friendly as always and cheer me up immensely. Slowly crawling up the hills with a constant smile on my face makes it so much easier.
I pass the remaining towns on the paved road, Bahuichivo and Cerocahui. Both look again fairly poor but descently maintained. The bright colors that the Mexicans seem to love make such a big difference.
Despite the fact that these villages must see quite a few tourist over the course of the year, I seem to be somewhat an attraction for most of the people. Also for me it still feels very exotic. Ever since I entered Mexico, I hardly saw any white people, a handful at maximum.
Shortly after Cerocahui the pavement ends. It is completely uncertain, when I will see it again. Pavement off, adventure on. The road is bumpy but with the slow going climbing it is not such a big deal. Out of the blue, a car stops next to me... Steve from the US and his wife from Colombia stop for a chat and a nice invite to stay with them once I reach Colombia. How cool! What a nice surprise also to meet some other travelers. Steve, by the way, also rode his bike [motorbike though] from Alaska to Argentina. If all goes well, we will meet up tonight in Urique.
Later in the afternoon I reach another statistical milestone of the trip - 100.000m of elevation gain [the counter of my bike computer goes back to zero, though]. I still don't like climbing. I got fairly well at it and I also don't necessarily mind it anymore. However, I wouldn't go as far as liking it. That seems to surprise many people. I hear quite a few riders saying that they like climbing but it ultimately turns out that they like mountains and that they like the downhill aspect. I don't really get this logic. In that aspect I possibly could say that I LOVE climbing.
Towards the end of the climbing I get the first views of the canyons again. I love climbing, I guess... It's beautiful! Unlike the dry, red rock formations of the canyons in the US. The steep rock walls are so much greener here. Countless different trees and plants grow and make it, in my perception, the most biodiverse place I've seen so far on the trip. Almost by sunset I reach the last overlook before dropping towards Urique. Even though it means I won't meet up with Steve and his family tonight, I decide to camp on top and watch the sunset, later on the star sky and tomorrow the sunrise up here. Good decision!