Day 163. Thursday, 9th January, 2020. Chacala to Puerto Vallarta. Mexico.

Well I’m back again. I arrived yesterday, in body, but was a complete zombie. The journey back was smooth and uneventful. Checked all the way through from Heathrow to Puerto Vallarta, so an easy connection in Mexico City. Best of all, Dennis and Poki were outside the arrival terminal to meet me.

It was an eventful week in the U.K. Staying at our Lodge in Wineham in Sussex for four nights and then with my sons Tim, in Kent and James in London. A sad time, with my Mum’s funeral, but it was lovely to see my sons, daughters in law and grandchildren. I also had the opportunity to catch up with some friends. Carolyn and Victoria and Colin (Poki’s namer).

It felt quite surreal yesterday to have been in the cold and damp one minute and then playing in the surf on a beautiful Mexican beach. Not being very with it, one larger wave managed to up-end me and I inelegantly emerged from the water with my costume in disarray around my waist. After this Charley lent me her boogie board and I managed to catch a couple of waves and glide into the shoreline. Good fun.

After 12 hours sleep from 7pm to 7am I felt great. The plan for today was to visit some petroglyphs at Altavista and then proceed South via Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta (where I landed yesterday.)

We reached the petroglyphs quite quickly and after negotiating the entrance fee, Tim, Sarah, Charley and Jaxon had to park their truck here. The track into the thorn forest where the petroglyphs were located was too narrow and inaccessible for a large vehicle. They all piled into Poki with us, so it was a cramped and bumpy ride into the forest.

We parked in the parking space and followed the path up through a river bed. The basalt columns and volcanic rocks were amazing. The path either ran through the jungle or over the rocks and there were 15 locations where there were petroglyphs with signs explaining their significance in both Spanish and English. The oldest are 4000 years old. Others were linked to St. Matthew and only 2000 years old. At the top of the track was a beautiful clear water rock pool. We all went for a dip. A quick one as the water was freezing. Once dried and changed we retraced our steps back to Poki and then back to the main road where we had left the truck.

We had stayed longer at the petroglyphs than intended so, once on the road, decided to bypass Sayulita. Stopping shortly before Puerto Vallarta we found a large supermarket and shopped for more provisions. We were aiming for a camping place by a river just south of Puerto Vallarta. It turned out to be a wasted journey as the truck could go no further up the road due to low power lines. We went ahead a little way in Poki, but found nowhere suitable to stop.

Another plan was soon hatched and we headed back to the centre of Puerto Vallarta and what was really just a parking lot beside the coast with toilets and showers – when there is water available (which there wasn’t). We were parked right next to a trailer carrying some very heavy iron girders. Apparently a week or so ago it rained heavily and the trailer had sunk into the sand. It was very noisy as we set up and cooked and ate dinner, while they tried to extricate the trailer. Fortunately they managed to get it out before we settled down to sleep. It had taken them four hours. Not a peaceful sleep as music was playing all through the night. We subsequently found it it was the security guard trying to keep himself awake!

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