Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Camping in Cuatro Ciénegas

Cuatro Ciénegas (read Quatro-cinegas) translates to "Four Marshes" that this place contain amidst the desert. It's located in the center of Coahuila state, which is about three hours drive from Monterrey.

We started at about 11, we didn't know that there was a road direct to Monclova from north of Monterrey, we went all the way till Saltillo and deviated to Monclova....what dumbasses!!! We could have saved 70Kms and about an hour. We reached Cuatro Ciénegas by 3:30, with a couple of stops for gas and snacks. At Cuatro Ciénegas village, we were told that the four marshes for which we came for was closed for public for some unknown reasons. But the other attractions like Río Mezquite and Dunas de Yesu were open.

We saw a board directing off-road with "Río Mezquite" written on it, I steered the car without much thinking. We drove for about a kilometer or two, before we approached the entrance gate. There were two señors at the gate lost in reveries, disturbed by our arrival. They showed us the pictures of what that place was all about and collected 90 pesos per person as entrance fee and allowed us inside. We were delighted to see the river like kids when they see candy. Without further delay, I parked the car, changed to my swimming costume, swilled a big gulp of beer and 1...2...3....I was in the air for a second before my body came in contact with warm but pristine waters of Río Mezquite.

The river was one of the cleanest I had seen, crystal clear waters with rich marine life. Rest of the gang followed with beers and chips in hand. It was warmer inside the water than outside due to chill breeze, we swam for about an hour and came out of water to do some clickings at sundown. There are numerous open huts containing a dining table, barbecue grill and trashcan. It was time to make fire, the obscurity of twilight was spreading rapidly. Tequila was mixed, music started, charcoal was smoking out and in no the grill was heated. Chicken legs and breasts were skewered and roasted while tequila inflow was consistently maintained. Tortillas rolled with chicken bbq, topped with chopped onion and tomates tasted delicious in that ambience.

Post dinner, we got more firewood (it was not exactly firewood, some sort of long and light twigs which burned quickly) from the neighbouring huts and the bonfire illuminated our hut and it's surroundings in the middle of dead desert. Tequila, fire and dancing kept us maintain our warmth in that chilly night. I had never seen such a black inky night sky in recent days, the Milky Way lay like diamond-dust upon the robe of some great king, with adornment of twinkling stars. The lambent fire burnt for 3 long hours, after which we decided to take a stroll in peace of the darkness. It was indeed very pleasing to walk in the dead of the night, away from the civilization, guided by stars. We hit the tents after a long stroll.

We all were wide awake before the sunrise. It was cold, colder than the previous night. The rising sun had washed the mountain tips on the west pleasingly ruddy..we were waiting with cameras to see him. He finally made his entry on the east with crimson red face painting an orange-yellow tint all over the place. The waters were all sparkling upon his arrival, I kept aside the camera, stripped and dived into the river which made me warmer than being outside. We had apples, bananas and juice for breakfast, packed our tents and started our return journey.

Wholehearted thanks to Lokesh (Canon Rebel XTi), Liyan (Canon SD1100IS) and Mallesh (Canon SD1100IS) for lending me their cameras for shooting.

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