Oldest Living Greyhound
The Lenca Trail is a route that passes through the territory of the indigenous people of the same name who lived in this area and whose ancestors are still here today. It is some of the best of Honduras, beautiful mountains and small pueblos, national forests, hotsprings and fincas. Taking the bus from Copan de Ruinas is an adventure in itself and started with a ride on the oldest greyhound bus in existence. Remember the silver sided ones? In spite of its appearance, this bus had the most comfortable seats of any bus yet! Our trip to Entrada took us through several small towns full of people engaged in commerce, fruit selling, tortilla making and artisan sales. At Entrada we leapt off the oldest living greyhound bus on to a waiting chicken bus without comfy seats and the we were whisked to Santa Rosa where we ran to catch a crowded collectiva to Gracias, our destination on the Lenca trail.
Gracias, shortened from Gracias de Dios (Thank God) is a little Honduran town that is the epicenter for the surrounding countryside. Our hotel was great and we were the only aliens in an other wise busy establishment, abuzz with a tortilla convention. The delegates, mainly sporting white cowboy hats, attended their sessions dutifully and met together for meals in the hotel’s cafe. At breakfast we sat amongst them and they were surprisingly silent throughout the meal. Very few words were spoken but lots of glances in our direction gave away their curiosity. In fact, Tom was in the pool one afternoon and several of them stopped to stare at him as if he were some strange exotic bird of an unknown species.
High Points and Danes
The staff at the hotel went out of their way to ensure our comfort and seemed to think we were great entertainment. We asked about a tour of the Celaque National Park and immediately they called a friend to take us to the park. Aside from being a beautiful Park, Celaque is the highest peak in Honduras, weighing in at 9350ft. or 2849m. It can be climbed but not by us as we chose to stay lower down and enjoy the incredible biodiversity of the flora and fauna. It was a great tour of the cloud forest with a young local guide, Angel Serrano, who spoke English and has great apirations of increasing tourism in Gracias. Apparently the president of Honduras is from Gracias and so the place is on the map for the first time, which could help. He led us up a steep trail through the cloud forest where we saw birds, butterflies and a dense forest boasting multilple species of trees and plants. Part way up the trail to a waterfall we stopped for a rest and along came a gaggle of Danes, Denmark being the home of some of Tom’s ancestors. Since he shares their DNA we took pictures of Tom with these young Danish specimens that go a long way to explaining Toms good looks, before they sped off up the trail of Honduras tallest mountain.
We had a pizza one night at a restaurant which turned out to be someones house as we learned when we had to pass the bedroom on the way to the bathroom. We received such special treatment and the two girls who served us made sure that we felt welcomed and enjoyed the pizza. We were even given the remote for the TV! It was great. The cook seemed to live across the street, or at least that’s where he sat smoking as we entered and exited the restaurant, and So he had to be called in to service and of course to approve our order.
Another mention of a desire to see a unique little town called La Campa and suddently we had the bus driver himself making a personal appearance at the hotel to ensure that we knew how to make the trip and not only that when we arrived at the Terminale we got a grand reception. Rabin (the driver) was a close image of my nephew Kyle so it was spooky to have him as our driver on the bus to La Campa. He gave me the seat of honor at the front of the van beside the driver and off we went up and up and up to La Campa. The town is perched directly in the face of two great flat faced mountains with a deep gorge seperating them. On the rock face some brave soul had climbed up to paint a welcome to La Campa sign. The artist was not the only one who braved great heights as Tom and I stumbled across a man and his son propping a ladder against a hydro pole. Realizing that the young son was to hold the ladder steady, Tom stepped in and offered his assistance. We weren’t sure why a resident of the town would take it upon himself to make a “repair” to the hydro wires but he definitely rid the wires of some type of gizmo that he clutched on his way back to street level.
For a country that has such a bad reputation of violence and crime, the people of Honduras are warm and friendly. As we walked through this small village we were greeted over and over again by almost everyone we met. They all wanted to know where we were from and what we thought of Honduras. It was so nice. Two little girls giggled and wriggled as they practiced their one English work “hello”. A hotel owner introduced himself and his sister and neice and asked us all about our travels.
After wandering the town for an hour and a half or so there was the familiar rumble of the collectivo with the accompanying honking and we boarded our bus with Rabin and headed back to Gracias. The next morning we repeated our three bus routine back to Copan and readied ourselves for our next grueling leg. A two day trip to San Cristobal in Mexico. Sadly we have run out of time and will only dip our toes into Guatemala with an overnight stay in Antigua. We are saving our last two weeks for Mexico: Chiapas, Campeche and Yucatan.