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It was still dark when our diverse group – Roque, Diana, and Fahad – gathered at the Monumento Juarez on the chilly morning of November 12th. Eager to explore, we embarked on a 26-kilometer journey along the newly inaugurated Camino de Benito Juárez, a trail steeped in history and natural beauty in the Sierra Norte region.
As dawn broke, local dogs, full of vitality and curiosity, joined us, adding a joyful spirit to our expedition. The early morning light gradually revealed the trail’s splendor, showcasing the picturesque Oaxacan countryside. We passed through time-worn paths, encountering old, abandoned structures, rustic churches, and charming country houses, each telling a story of the past.
The trail, snaking through the serene landscape, led us across flowing streams and ancient bridges, embedding a sense of timelessness in our adventure. The dogs, now our faithful companions, kept pace, sharing in our excitement and discovery.
Ninety minutes into our run, as we gained altitude, the environment transformed. The air became crisper, and the vegetation lush and diverse. We were surrounded by fields of vibrant yellow flowers, while donkeys, unfazed by our presence, enjoyed their day in peace. The numerous small water crossings along the way added a refreshing element to our journey.
Reaching the 15-kilometer mark, we marveled at a beautifully constructed bridge complex, a recent addition to the Juarez Trail. This bridge served not just as a crossing but also as an entrance to a welcoming small town, equipped with various amenities for travelers seeking a moment of rest or nourishment.
The terrain grew steeper, challenging us with a mix of natural and man-made staircases. These steps, carved into the landscape, aided our ascent through increasingly colder weather. The dense greenery of the trees enveloped us, creating a tranquil canopy overhead. At an elevation of 2,800 meters, we paused to admire the panoramic view of the city below, a breathtaking sight from our high vantage point.
Our path continued past more abandoned adobe structures, each echoing stories of a bygone era. These silent witnesses to history added a layer of mystique to our experience.
Finally, after covering 26 kilometers, we arrived at our destination for the day – the town of El Punto. This marked the halfway point of the Camino Benito Juárez, a trail that traditionally stretches from Guelatao to the city.
Our journey, traversing from the city to the Sierra, was a unique experience that inverted the traditional direction of the official Benito Juárez Trail. This run not only tested our physical limits but also connected us intimately with Oaxaca’s rich cultural heritage and stunning natural landscapes. We treaded a path that blended history with the present, offering a profound experience where each step was a discovery, a connection to the land, and a tribute to the enduring legacy of Benito Juárez.