Last updateFri, 22 Aug 2014 3pm

Potrero de Mulas: A jungle paradise only 30 river-crossings away

Years ago my friend Roy Sánchez told me about a wonderful place to camp and hike, hidden away deep in the misty mountains of San Sebastián del Oeste. “It’s called “Potrero de Mulas,” he said, “and the only hangup is that you have to cross 20 rivers to get there.”

Well, the name of the place (Mule Pasture) was not exactly enticing and the twenty river crossings suggested “high-clearance vehicle” to me, so Potrero de Mulas stayed on my back burner until last weekend when Roy invited me to join his family on a visit to this hidden jewel.

Behind his Land Cruiser, Roy pulls a little trailer which I can only describe as a Magician’s Trunk on Wheels. Out of it Roy can pull sleeping accommodations for six, a kitchen, fridge, table, chairs, stove, toilet, shower ... you name it. Along with this magic, I enjoyed the company of an adventurous Mexican family including, of course, a Grandma and a bouncing new baby quite happy to spend endless hours just playing with his toes.

Starting out in Guadalajara, we drove past Ameca, through Mascota and reached a little place called La Estancia after five hours. Here there’s a turnoff for San Sebastián, but we turned the opposite way onto a brecha heading west. Within a few moments, we crossed our first little stream. “Are there really 20 stream crossings?” I asked.

“Let’s count them!” replied the whole family in unison and would you believe it, during the next hour we counted not 20, but 30 streams, many of which were surely through the very same winding river,but we could never be sure. Suddenly we went through a gate and drove to the edge of a truly picturesque lagoon bordered by several beautiful cabins. We had arrived at the Mules’ Pasture.

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