Somewhere between the splendor of my childhood playground, the expansive west of the US, and the yearning for the unknown adventure, my feet have found an unusual place of rest from their constant seeking. Far from the crystal clear beaches bursting at the seams with tourist, lays a forgotten city about an hour northeast from the pulsing heart of Mexico’s capital city.
Pachuca, Hidalgo. Its sprawling streets and almost surreal traffic rules are etched into the high desert where the wind calls home. That wind often comes to my door, sometimes as a friend giving a welcome embrace of a fresh breeze, and other times as a never ending howl that only brings about a sense of unease.
To many, Pachuca is just a place to pass through on the way to Parque National El Chico, Mexico’s oldest National Park. A short twenty-minute journey into the mountains and you are completely immersed in an Oyamel Pine Forest, lush and moist. The color green and the aroma of the pines mix with an ever-present dampness that gently settles into the marrow of your bones and cools the soul. A stark contrast from what lies below.
Looking back as my car slowly climbs up the mountain, I am always struck with a sense of confusion. Amidst the multitude of mediocre and ugly housing developments, all topped with identical black rotoplas water tanks, there is a hidden beauty to Pachuca. I watch this small city that still feels like a large pueblo stretch into the empty land and exhale. Time and tradition have given it stories and pride. It knows who it is. I hope one day, I will find that same beauty and knowledge within myself.