Sunday excursions with Tere and her sons Eduardo, 12, and Francisco, 8, are becoming somewhat of a staple of my life here in Xalapa. Eduardo and Franciso are both delightful young fellow who love to pile into the back up my little pickup, sit on my sleeping pad, wrap up in coats and blankets, and watch where we been through the open door of the caseta. If either of the youngsters happen to be there when I visit Tere’s shop to replenish my supply of fruits and vegetables they greet me with a handshake and ask where we will go the following Sunday. They were especially rambunctious during the trip this past Sunday, I think because their Christmas break from school begins this week and they completed their exams last week.
This past Sunday afternoon we drove to take a look at Teocelo, a small town of about 15,000 inhabitants a half hour’s drive from Xalapa, off the road between Coatepec and Xico.
The photo at left shows the road in Santa Rosa, where the road ends. The chimney in the distance is part of a coffee processing plant which constitutes the largest building in town.
The very rough dirt, gravel, and at times mud road from Teocelo is perhaps a kilometer or two and we encountered a more or less steady stream of pedestrians going to and fro. One stooped, older gentleman we encountered was laden with a box of goods in a fabric sling, slung over his shoulder as he slowly made his way toward Santa Rosa. We stopped and loaded him in the back of the truck and Francisco, as is his manner, immediately struck up a conversation. More accurately, he lunched into a characteristic monologue. That boy can talk, and rarely am I able to understand.
Along the road was quite a patch of these large trees covered in orange blossoms.
We parked at the end of the road, asked a couple of fellows working on the front end of a car for directions to the falls, and they directed us to a path beside the small community school house. The steep, concrete path ascended the hillside through a series of switchbacks.
Coffee bushes are ubiquitous in the hillsides surrounding Santa Rosa and they are now heavy with ripe, red fruit. When on the bush, the dark brown coffee beans we buy in the store are white surrounded by fruit pulp. The whole beans are dried, the dried fruit pulp is removed, and the white beans are shipped for roasting.
The concrete path ascends the hillside through coffee bushes, banana trees, blossoming wild flowers, and flowering tees. At the ridge top there is a concrete viewing platform, a brick structure that appeared to be a restaurant, and a number of vendors of snacks and souvenirs.
The Stand Rosa route to the falls is by far less traveled than is the route from the Xico highway, at the end of which is the array of buildings, which includes a hydroelectric generating station, you can see at the right of the photo.
From the ridge top the path descends to just above the falls; crosses the river on a couple of bridges, one of which supports a large pipe feeding water to the generating station; and climbs the other side of the valley to the tourist facilities in the photo. At the upper center of the photo is barely visible another falls, which appears in the photo as a white speck.
We were able to make the entire trip to Santa Rosa, up the mountain, across to the tourist facilities on the other side, and back before dark even though we left Xalapa at 3:00 PM.
If you’re in Xalapa it makes for a great day trip. I will post more photos when I have the film in my 35 mm developed.