- The scrubland soon transitions to the oak zone, which in turn transitions to a pine forest. It's always cool and pleasant in the pine forest, even in the dry season (winter).
- During the rainy season (summer), be prepared for a thunderstorm and tropical deluge to roll in within minutes. Carry a raincoat even if there's not a cloud in the sky when you start out in the morning. No worries about rain during the dry season.
- Start in the morning. You'll be cooler during the dry season, drier during the wet. What's early? Depends how far you're going. Allow three hours to reach the "Upper Ring Road", five hours to top-out on Cerra Pena San Felipe (hidden behind the foreground peaklet you can see from El Barco).
La Mesita ecological area. The "fork" comes about 200 meters up the road from El Barco. During our five years of living here, John spent most of his free time on the burro trails above El Barco with a machete or a pair of loppers in his hands. Alas, he hasn't been back much since 2010, so a few of "his" trails have returned to their more native state. John drew the map (below) in 2008, so he can't vouch that all the kairns are still in place or the vines are neatly trimmed from the trail. But you can use the map as a rough guideline and pick the route that appeals. For your hiking pleasure, a few simple notes:If you like to walk or hike, you've come to the right place. For a quick morning walk, just head up the road and fork right to the Seminario. Then keep walking up the road as far as you like. Or fork left and walk over to the 2nd Section (of San Pablo). You can loop back at the next intersection or continue straight toward the presa (a small reservoir--no swimming allowed) and the