Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Runnin' Shit: Mirador El Calvario

Matagalpa, Nicaragua--

Across the river from downtown here in Matagalpa there rises a hill--some might call it a mountain--with a little viewpoint on top of it, called a mirador. Ever since I arrived in town and saw it, it looms over my neighborhood and particularly from the window of the coffee shop I like to frequent, it has been my goal to run to the top of it. But for three and a half weeks I wasn't able to find a route to get there. Not all the local roads show up on Gmaps, and the Matagalpinos I've asked for directions have either told me it was dangerous and not to go there, or else didn't know which roads to take.

Growing more and more impatient by the day, this past Monday I finally narrowed down my hunches on which roads to take to two, and I turned up the one I had the most faith in. The pimpstincts were strong, it seems, and after about five minutes I saw an official-looking sign pointing left up a dirt road for the Mirador El Calvario. I turned, hoping for the best that I could make it up without walking. The road curved and curved, and all of the sudden I was totally in el campo, chickens scattered around the side of the road, fields and mountains in all directions dotted with cows, ponds, distant shacks, and rows of crops. The higher I went, the better it smelled, sweet grass like a Vermont field in the height of summer. With some fifteen minutes showing on my watch I saw another sign for the mirador pointing to the left, and three minutes later a sign directing me to the right. At twenty-two minutes the road became paved again, steeply rose for 100 meters, and ended the park. 

There were two men at the gate, one in a city uniform and the other in a jumpsuit with a gun. The city official told me it cost $5cordobas to enter (about 20 cents), to which I replied it was my first time up here, and I didn't have any money on me. In my black shorts and fully soaked neon green tank top, I clearly had run all the way up from town and he let me in for free. I promised I would bring ten Cords next time. The view was beautiful, I stayed for a few minutes, but I couldn't compromise my workout too much, and didn't want to draw the ire of the gunman, so I turned around and headed home.

(photo from the mirador pending permission from a flickr user)

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