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près de La Cieneguita, Guanajuato (Mexico)
Rio Laja Trail Maintenance and Markers May 08, 2011
Report by Ruth Kear
On May 08, 2011 Amigos de la Presa volunteers walked right descending bank of Section 2 approximately 1.50 miles (a bit into Section 1) crossing over to left descending bank and returning to starting point.
Very easy walk along this trail with few obstacles, volunteers clipped some low tree branches and bushes along trail. Noted a few areas in bends of the river where plastic bottles have accumulated as well some paper/plastic trash along the trail. This detritus will need to be removed during clean up. Overall, river appears to be in good condition even though it is slow moving at points due to fallen trees and jams. Not necessary to mark trail in many locations as it is obvious. Difficult to mark due to few flat surfaces!
There is a large flat parking are (recently graded) just east and south (downriver) of the Cieneguita Bridge. It is a convenient staging area for both Sections 2 and 3.
Following notes made regarding general condition of existing trail.
1. A new barb wire fence where the trail enters the parking area perpendicular to right side of trail at recently plowed field left a narrow walking trail just above the river. Soft powdery soil might make navigation of bicycles in this section difficult.
2. Followed high water trail (a bit away from the river) almost all the way.
3. This section frequently used by Audubon Society as a birding trail. Many birds were observed along the trail. They included: kiskadees, golden fronted wood peckers, great heron, orioles, cara cara, gray flycatcher, black chin hummingbird, yellow rump warbler, kite bird and bush tit
4. Balneario (spa) ruins on right at StayWay Point #5(0.15 Mi./0.24/K from start)
5. Continue high road trail through large stand of willows, irrigated fields just to right of trail ( Milpas on the right planted “3 sisters”--Corn, beans and squash, some alfalfa) irrigation water taken from the river at several locations using movable pumps with approximately 5” diameter hoses.
6. Trail marker at large abandoned bridge and bridge abutment. According to local campesino, the bridge was last used in the 50’s. Area is called San Raphael. Large pack of feral dogs on the descending left bank near bridge. Group was approached by the dogs but local campesino called them off. Not sure how bikers and hikers would fare without local interference. May want to note this location with a caution.(0.44 Mi./0.77K from start)
7. Trail has very dense shade due to enormous willow trees on both sides. Excellent trail for warm weather hiking and biking.
8. Some sections of the trail are wide enough for vehicle traffic and appear to be used by the local campesinos to bring in pumps for irrigation.
9. Many donkeys tethered along river’s edge
10. Free range goats and sheep seen along river edge
11. Crossed river to left descending bank at Way Point # 7. This crossing point is a ‘low water bridge’ with an unpaved road on both sides. The road goes to the villages of Colonia Esperanza and Loma Blanca de Tirado on the West and El Capaderillo and Vivienda de Abajo Urbana to the East. This crossing point is 1.1Mi./1.8K upriver from the ruins of Ex-Hacienda El Tirado. Just beyond this crossing to the west of the river about 100 feet is an open wetlands area that is almost always submerged with water. It stretches from just downriver of the crossing to Ex-Hacienda El Tirado during the rainy season and about half that distance during the dry season. I drove over to it after the hike and saw many water birds including harlequin ducks, White Heron, Cormorants and American Avocet. (1.36mi./2.18K from start)
12. This side of river is sunnier than right descending bank due to less trees…good winter route
13. Village near this location is called Aldea de Esperanza