Yesterday I walked down the hill from the dump; through the Parque Juarez, the magnificent park that is flanked by the beautiful colonial state and municipal government buildings; down hill a few more blocks to the Los Lagos; and circumperambulated the entire complex. I suppose all told it amounted to perhaps a six kilometer walk, with the last kilometer or so of the return trip up the steep hill back to the apartment.
Los Lagos are three lakes, each successively a bit lower, which accept storm water runoff from a good portion of the city and which are circled by a paving stone walk of about fifteen feet wide, landscaped gardens between the path and the water, and more landscaped gardens which include large trees abutting the upland side of the path.
Amongst the large trees are a type of Cedar and a very strange tree I think is Pine, which resembles a cross between a Pine and a Monkey tree. The needles and bark look like Pine and the needles are in clusters that circle the ends of the branches, which are otherwise bare. They remind me of what are referred to as “poodle trees” in the area of the Olympic Peninsula where I lived for 30 years. The poodle trees are actually Cedar trees that have been denuded of their foliage except for the very top, thus resembling the tail of well groomed Poodle.
The lakes themselves are lined by black stone laid at a perhaps 45 degree slant landward, with thick mortar joints. The stone is no doubt some sort of volcanic rock as the Xalapa area was historically inundated with magma flows from the El Cobre de Perote, a slumbering volcano not far away whose square shape caused one of the Spanish Conquistadors to remark that it looked like Perote’s trunk. Perote being one of his fellow pillagers.
The paving stone walking path is flanked on the lakeside by a curb of perhaps a foot high and on the landward side by a retaining wall of perhaps two feet, both constructed of same stone which lines the lakes, with each stone carved to fit its neighboring stones and laid without mortar. Periodically the retaining wall is interrupted by a shallow alcove in which is a stone bench, complete with a back, constructed in the same manner as the curb and wall. It is all quite stunning.
Occasionally Los Lagos are crossed by traffic and pedestrian bridges constructed as a series of mortared stone arches with red brick lining the archways. Upon the hill flanking the east side of Los Lagos, which stretch for perhaps two kilometers on a NW to SE bearing, is a hospital, an athletic school, and a public gymnasium. The shallower hill on West side is lined with houses and apartments, many with stairs descending to the pathway, some of which are quite creatively constructed of stone slabs cantilevered out of the building foundation or native stone. One of the buildings is supported on and built right to the very edge of native stone which cantilevers above the walking path.
There are pedicycles parked along the pathway available for those who wish to peddle their way along. The group of five or six young fellows you see in the photo repeatedly pushed their conveyance up an inclined access to the pathway, all jumped aboard, and giggled their way on the ride back down the hill. One pedicycle was populated by eight or ten laughing girls peddling their way along shouting warnings to those ahead on the path. It was quite cute. A bit later in my walk the boys riding the pedicycle down the hill passed me in a car and hung out the windows shouting and waving, as they remembered me snapping photos of their ride.
If you’re ever in Xalapa make a point of spending a couple hours walking the Los Lagos trail.