Nevado de Toluca – Mexico’s 4th highest peak
March 10, 2017
The Beginning of the adventure…
Christmas spirit is still in our hearts. That’s why we Mexicans look forward to getting some snow in our tanned bodies ( 🙁 not mine, but I’m still a pride Mexican!), just to feel that we can have some magical white Christmas too.
The adventure started on the road, I looooooove highways with all my heart, I love when I get to watch how landscapes change on our way. I especially love even more black roads with red sand corners surrounded by the greenest trees ever. If it’s – a little – misty, so much better for me! And that’s exactly how the road to “El Nevado de Toluca” is.
A dormant stratovolcano and Mexico’s 4th highest peak.
So, there I was, on my way to Toluca, with the excitement of a little girl waiting for Santa. I had never seen the snow before, nor I’ve ever been in a Volcano before, so you can Imagine my happiness! Despite it was July, my logic was that if the volcano’s name is “Nevado de Toluca” (“Toluca’s Snowy”), it must have snow like… the whole year… right? Well… not LOL! But let me start to tell you the story from the beginning.
One day before, I was quite confused with my wardrobe, I didn’t know what to wear since it would be too cold on the top but sunny elsewhere, so I decided the best option was to layer up. Tights, socks, black jeans, shirt, sweater, sweatshirt a jacket and on top of that a scarf, non-sport tennis, sunglasses, a backpack and I was a cute layered Panda ready for the adventure! (Bring it on!)
And then… we arrived at the woods, the road through woods is a little rustic and narrow, we were like 12 people in a van + the driver and when cars came the other way down, we needed to pull over to let them pass, in one of those pull overs the van got stuck and we had to get off the van. When we got off the van, we smelled a delicious mixture of pine tree and nature, the air was fresh and so clean that I felt as if I was renewing my lungs, the green on the trees is the greenest green ever and there are the weirdest flowers I’ve never seen before.
Before going up!
When the van finally got unstuck, in 15 minutes we reached the first stop to have breakfast. If you like “quesadillas” it’s gonna be paradise for you, if you have never tried a Quesadilla, please do yourself a favour and try them! It’s a tortilla with melted cheese and you can choose between different stews: beef, chicken and pork or some vegetarians such as Chilli, pumpkin flower and mushrooms. If you like mushrooms huitlacoche is a must! It’s corn mushroom with an earthy flavour. Eat your quesadilla accompanied with some fruit juice… a cup of hot Café de Olla at the end while you enjoy the great landscape pfff… heaven!
So, we were on the road again, it takes 30 minutes to reach a place where you can park your vehicle and start the climb to the peak. There are only a few bathrooms with a water bucket to flush the toilet for all the visitors, so take your precautions (wear diaper 😉 ).
Then, the difficult part begins… You need to walk 40 minutes approximately to reach the top where you can see the two lagoons inside the volcano. The view is INCREDIBLE and totally worth it!
When we reached the top, we decided to go first to the Moon’s Lagoon, I’m not sure if it was the best decision because the ascent is less steep but it’s longer, and the ascent of the Sun’s Lagoon is steeper but shorter. You can picture me layered up, the sun shining over my head, and sweating like a pig after a long walk…
Anyway, as I was descending to the Moon’s Lagoon I realized that my shoes were not the best option… The ground is very unsteady making it easy to slip off and the sole of my shoes slipped at every step (Have I said already that I’m not the most skilled hiker?). This Lagoon is beautiful and small, we took some great shots there and then we continued our tour.
I don’t know why, but as we reached to the Sun’s Lagoon I started feeling a little nostalgic… The view is incredible in this Lagoon, you feel like if you were on Mars, there are some parts where the ground is like sand and other parts where it looks red or black. The colour of the water is green in some parts, and grey or deep blue in other parts. There is like a little wood shelter beside the lake, that has a white cross outside with an inscription which I wasn’t brave enough to read, thinking that maybe it was placed there for a dead person gave me goosebumps!
We needed to surround the Lagoon to return to the top and it was getting a little late, so we started running until we reached a part where it the ground was very muddy and you could easily get stuck, (I was feeling like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings when he was walking through swamps to get to Mordor), until we finally got to where you need to start ascending again. So we decided to take a little break and eat something with sugar before going up. There were a lot of people having picnics there, some even with alcohol, I hope they waited to sober up before going to the top again!
Suddenly, while we were going up, the weather changed… The sun hide and a cold wind hit us. Not even all my layers helped me against the cold cold wind, I mean… I’m a Mexican – Mexican, sun lover, defendant of the summer and the kind of Mexican that freezes to death at 5°C degrees, which means I suffered – a little, not too much (I’m a strong woman >.<).
When we were on the last part to reach the peak to start descending to where the van was, I really thanked the Universe for the absence of snow. It’s very steep (for those who are not used to go hiking), so, using a hiking stick is a clever idea.
Finally, we reached the top, without breath and happy for surviving the experience! The way back to the van was the easiest thing on earth cuz it was all way down. It’s a really amazing and different experience and I recommend it 100% if you are visiting Mexico City and its surroundings. The forest is gorgeous, food is delicious, the people is friendly and you’ll experience not only fresh air but incredible landscapes <3
- Take a backpack with a hat, gloves, water and some chocolate.
- Wear hiking shoes or boots, a walking stick is a good idea too.
- Bring along some cash for the bathroom and the quesadillas.
- Take your camera you’ll take amazing shots.
- Be careful and respect the heights and nature <3