Party: Fernando, myself and many others…

After several scorching days canyoning around Casa Blanca I stuck up my thumb and after 2hrs was picked up by a friendly Mexican who had just finished lunch with a girlfriend in Saltillo. We talked until we reached Santa Catriana where he dropped me off at the HEB supermarket. I grabbed some food and tried working out what to do. They didn’t let me plug my phone but I sat at the entrance looking for non-existent hostels and had started looking at CS when they asked me to leave. I think I’ll preference Sorianos from now on. In Torreón, they had no issue with me charging my phone… Anyway, I’d basically given up on finding a place and decided to walk to Huasteca and camp there for the night. I was already on my way. I checked once more and was suprised that Fernando had accepted my request! He was at a CS event, but picked me up a couple of hours later. We had cactus?? On corn tortillas with some salsa and after a cold shower quickly called it a night : there was a CS hike in the national park. It started at 6:30, and we planned to go!

I awoke groggy the following day. We grabbed some food from a convenience store on the way to Huasteca. Parking at the entrance, we couldn’t find them. Late, we drove into the park. The scenery was spectacular! Vertical bedding planes of limestone decorated the landscape.

It was only then I realised we were planning to visit Cueva del la Virgen. You could see the cave (and smaller one below it) from the road. This was one of the trips I’d planned. I had the map! We parked at the trail head and began scrambling up trying to catch the group. We were part way up to the first cave when a large group assembled below us. Could it be them? We continued up further, Fernando receiving confirmation it was in fact them. We were nearly at the first cave, and decided to await them there.

It wasn’t long before a very large group started trailing in. Or was it in fact multiple groups? I never did work out who everyone was.

The cave seemed phreatic in nature and went in about 15m before choking with flowstone. It was how high up it was from the valley floor. It would be interesting to learn more about the geology of the area.

We soon continued up to the Cave of the Virgen. Some people where struggling to scramble in. Eventually a handline was set up, but with so many people, it was still very slow.

When I finally climbed up into the cave it did joint disappoint. It was large and its rounded top decorated with a few stalactites also suggested a phreatic origin. The cave cut through a fin of limestone and looking at my map, I realised you could complete a loop by abseiling down the other side. Hmmm. Maybe another time.

We chilled there for some time taking photos and taking. A commercial group doing the loop passed us when we decided to head down. Some people struggled quite a bit and others assisted them where we could.

When we reached the bottom we headed out of the park for food and drinks, shortly retuning back to the food stands that were right beside us all along. Fernando and I had??. The fresh hugo was very good.

The others departed and Fernando and I went to visit the “Doctor’s House”. We initially thought you had to pay for access, but we managed to skirt around the private property. Despite the graffiti, it was a nice spot. Perfect for socialising and maybe spending the night.

From there we climbed up to the base of the vía ferata route I’ve been wanting to do before even reaching México. I was a little conserned the climb up the section with removed ladder would be too difficult. After a minute feeling the rock, I found a line I was comfortable with and happily climbed back down. I’d like to take Fernando here next w/e. But we were both tired now and returned to the house.

We enjoyed a fantastic pizza on the balcony over some conversation.