Alaska, Mexico and Beyond…

“One Journey Leads to Another”

Archive for the tag “history”

Ruins of a Spanish Mine

Spread along the Rio Papaloapam, high in the Sierra Norte north of the city of Oaxaca, are the ruins of Spanish haciendas that were built and inhabited during the years of Spanish exploitation of the mineral riches of the area.

According to historical records, Cortés learned of the possible existence of gold and silver in the Sierras and immediately sent scouts in search of the minerals. They returned with the news that the mountains were indeed rich with gold and silver ore, and Cortés, ever the opportunist, claimed the entire Central Valley of Oaxaca for himself (year 1521). The Spaniards built the infrastructure needed for mining operations and constructed aqueducts, large haciendas, stone bridges, and a church. These remains are located deep in a lush valley near the villages of San Miguel Amatlán and Lachatao.

Hacienda Wall

Hacienda Wall

Click on any photo to enlarge it   

The Friday hikers explored El Socorro, the first section of the Spanish ruins.

A sinuous highway (the highway signs said so!) led us through seemingly endless mountains that offered spectacular vistas. Local people navigate narrow gravel roads that zig-zag up the mountainsides to their villages.

Winding River, Winding Road

Winding River, Winding Road

After climbing to the mountaintop to pick up our guides in the tiny village of Amatlán, our excellent bus driver maneuvered to the valley floor on a dirt road that was clearly not designed for a school bus! He received a loud cheer and applause when we reached the fork where the hikers got off and started down the trail, while he continued on to a wide spot where he was faced with the daunting task of turning the bus around!

Our guides hopped off the bus and cleared rocks from the “road.”


Ruins of the Hacienda

Ruins of the Hacienda

Trout were visible lazing in the shadows of pools in the river, which  runs with clean, clear water.

Trout were visible lazing in the shadows of pools in the clean, clear waters of the Rio Papaloapam.

The pink blossoms decorated fat cactus in perfect circles.

Perfect circles of pink blossoms crown these fat cactus

Epiphytes grow anywhere and everywhere they can find a resting place. Some cactus favor the tops of old stone walls, while other prefer to just hang around.

Mountainside church

At the end of a long day of busing, hiking, and exploring…what could be better than relaxing and spending the night in a cabaña with a view!

Cabin with a View

For information on ecotourism in The Sierra Norte, and how YOU TOO could hike in these magnificent mountains and end your day in one of many charming cabañas:

Several of the photos in this blog were taken by my husband, David, who has become a hiker and photographer too!

Hiking Oaxaca: Santa Ana del Valle

Hugging the foot of a mountain in the Tlacolula Valley, the charming village of Santa Ana del Valle was the starting point for the weekly hike of “Hoofing It In Oaxaca.” Zapotec is the common language spoken here, and many people earn at least part of their living by weaving gorgeous rugs and other tapestries.

View of Santa Ana

The village of Santa Ana is in the foreground, and Tlacolula, the largest city in this valley, is in the distance.

Santa Ana del Valle Overlook

Santa Ana del Valle Overlook

From an altitude of approximately 5400 feet, we climbed 1619 ft. (493.5 m.)to a high point of about 7032 ft. (2143 m.) Particularly for those of us used to living at sea level, there was a lot of huffing and puffing! Our rewards were spectacular views in every direction and the opportunity to visit an unexcavated archaeological site.

Ancient Ball Court

This ancient ball court is part of the unexcavated archaeological site at the top of the mountain.

Descending is SO much easier than climbing!

Descending is SO much easier than climbing!

Back in the plaza of Santa Ana, we visited their lovely church and bought handwoven tapestries from friendly local artists.

Travel Theme:Tilted

IMG_7790Located in Old Town section of Kenai, Alaska, this tiny cabin was probably built in the 1800’s. Every year it tilts a little more, and one day it will crumble into the dust of history.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

Kenaitze Dena'ina Indian

Kenaitze Dena’ina Indian
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Sqilantnu, an area of the Kenai Peninsula that is now known as Cooper Landing, was historically the home of the Kenaitze Dena’ina Indians, a tribe of Alaska Natives. The K’Beq’ (footprints) Interpretive Site was established to educate visitors about the culture and lifestyle of the Dena’ina. A boardwalk built beside the Kenai River encircles the site of a home that has long since disappeared, but the depression that was the underground section of the home and another small round depression that was the in-ground “refrigerator” remain. Signs with memories of the Elders were posted along the boardwalk.

Museum of Oaxaca Culture

Treasures discovered in the ancient city of Monte Albán awe visitors in the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, which is a part of the spectacular Iglesia y Ex-Convento de Santo Domingo. Our trip to Monte Albán inspired us to visit the museum, and the extent of the historical objects and information surpassed all expectations.

Turquoise embedded skull found in tomb at Monte Albáan

Turquoise embedded skull found in tomb at Monte Albáan

Looking at the intricate art work created from gold, silver, ceramics, and precious stones makes me wish I could see those past lives in reality for only one day, and I’m sure that wish is shared by many! There is evidence that people have lived in this area for at least 10,000 years, and in this museum you will learn about life in the Oaxaca Valley from that beginning through the Mexican Revolution.

Necklace of gold, turquoise, and coral

Necklace of gold, turquoise, and coral

By the time we got to the Spanish Conquest our imaginations were saturated, but we will return soon to complete the journey!

Ceiling of Museum Entryway

Ceiling of Museum Entryway

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