While working for the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, I was fortunate enough to be in a position, and a community, where I could effect a number of kids in many different ways. I now find myself in a totally different environment, but still with the same opportunity.
I have been asked to be the field trip guy, among other things. Now that’s the job of jobs! The goal is take the older kids, 10 years of age and up, on an outing every Sunday. This is right up my alley. I accept.
So this past Sunday, we started the trend.
I didn’t know exactly where we were going. A few different ideas and places had been tossed around Saturday night, so I told the kids to be ready at 8am the next morning.
The ‘fall back’ time change played into our favor as we scurried around Sunday morning making breakfast, fixing sack-lunches and preparing the van. The Tashirat go-to taxi driver, Pedro, was right on time and after a quick pau wau, we had our destination(s) set.
Nine kids, two gringos (myself and the Scotsman) and Pedro drove upward and outward towards Lagunas de Zempoala, but not before we ran out of gas. As we left Tepoztlan, steadily climbing, the engine began to putter. The gas station was insight at the top of the hill, but the van was on its last few gulps of gasoline. We limped into the station without a drop to spare. While we waited for our turn at the pump, Big Red shut down. The push to the pump was minimal this time, thank God.
Winding and climbing, the curves began to get to a few kids (myself included), but before faces turned green, we had arrived. Speaking of green, I felt like I was in the middle of the Colorado wilderness - a thin-stretching lake tucked back between the pines, nestled in at the base of smoky peaks. iQue bonito!
We had beaten the crowds to this weekend hot-spot, so we were easy targets for the handful of caballeros trying to saddle-up our crew on horseback. After proper negotiations, we were able to slash the price in half and get eight of our nine willing kids (plus this gaucho) off and riding on selected noble steeds. Giddy-yup!
A half hour of bouncing, trotting and holding on for dear life provided an amazing glimpse into a green and rugged Mexico I never knew existed. Mountain streams feed the lake, adding a fun obstacle for some of our horses and riders. Once finished, we dismounted and caught up with the rest of the gang. We watched a few locals pull rainbow trout from the stream with their hands and then a few of the adventurous boys proved that they could successfully make the leap from one side to another.
The day continued with a walk around the lake, with an added twist. Craig had all of us picking up trash along the way, keeping nature natural. By the time we looped back around, it was time for our picnic lunch on the hill where we were joined by a shy armadillo and two hungry horses.
To finish off the day, we reloaded into the van and Pedro delivered us to Los Columpios (The Swings). I was intrigued.
A few of the kids had been there before, so they were our guides through the assortment of tree-hung rope swings in a park setting. It brought back memories of the old rope swing my sister and I had in our front yard growing up. We warmed up to the big ones. Some had tires attached and other were simply cut tree branches. Craig and I had a blast pushing the kids higher and getting creative with ways to go two at-a-time. We definitely made our presence known in the park, adding a ton of laughs and screams.
The day was magic. The kids were the most well-behaved and gracious kids I have ever taken on a trip. Days like this mean so much to us all! So where to next???
Thanks to Uncle Brad (Villers) for donating the money to make this trip possible! The kids want to know when you are coming to visit… and so do I.