As a gear company committed to connecting people with the outdoors, we were excited when members of the newly formed group Asociación Aguascalentense de Deportes de Montaña y Escalada (AADEME) and Club Montañismo Aguascalientes (CMA) reached out to share their story of creating a multi-day trail in Aguascalientes, Mexico. This group is working to get people outside and bring a new perspective of beauty to their state.
Luigi Rivera Ramirez, Iván Galvez, Mario Picazo, and Alfonso (Poncho) Jurado are some of the founding members of AADEME. This organization aims to create safe and accessible outdoor activities in Aguascalientes. They are also all part of the Club Montañismo Aguascalientes, a group representing many outdoor activities in the region. With years of experience cycling, hiking, and climbing, these men bring their passion for adventure to every project.
In November 2022, Poncho suggested creating a long hiking trail to mimic some of the magic of other trails, like the Camino de Santiago in Spain. Everyone excitedly hopped on board, and within half a year, they had created a 114km trail — El Camino de la Asunción.
Creating the trail
Creating a trail means more than drawing a line in the dirt to form the Camino de la Asunción; this group spent months mapping what footpaths already existed, many of which are century-old footpaths connecting small towns. They talked with local government officials and became affiliated with the Mexican Federal Government.
But in Mexico, working on a governmental level is only one piece of the puzzle, as most land is privately owned. To respect property owners and those who live nearby where they were hoping to build the trail, these men took the time to meet with the locals, expressing their intentions and asking for the safe passing of hikers. "Whenever people respect locals, communicate what you'd like, and ask for permission, people in Mexico will welcome you with open arms," said Luigi.
The trail’s significance
In the center of most towns and cities in Mexico, there is a church around which life revolves. Each place also often has a virgin figure they honor during a yearly festival. In Aguascalientes, in the first couple weeks of August, people celebrate the Virgen de la Asunción, hence the naming of this trail to pay homage to Aguascalientes' history and religious values. However, the trail doesn’t only carry a religious significance; it is an open space for anyone for any reason to walk. The general meaning of asunción is “rising,” which is applicable and inspiring for anyone wanting to walk for several days, whether it be a religious pilgrimage, a physical challenge, or a spiritual calling.
This trail will remain open and accessible year-round for people to use. What’s more, this trail weaves through several small towns where walkers are encouraged to camp, and therefore, the trail culture also contributes to local tourism.
Care for the environment
While creating paths to connect the existing ones, AADEME and CMA members connected with biologist Ethel Paulina Martínez Aguilera to be cautious of where they set the trail to avoid uprooting plants or negatively impacting fragile ecosystems. With Mario Picazo’s climbing expertise, the group could also bolt a rope into one rock section to help walkers get by without creating unnecessary infrastructure to disrupt the environment.
Changing the culture of dealing with trash while out in nature is another big goal of AADEME and CMA as they continue to spread messages of packing out all trash and only camping in towns, not overly disrupting the landscape.
It took this group less than a year to create a 114km trail, and over the weekend of August 11-13, during the state’s festival to honor their Virgen de la Asunción, AADEME and CMA hosted a guided walk to inaugurate the trail. With over one hundred participants walking and camping over three days, the weekend was a successful honoring of a new way to engage with the place they love and to raise awareness of caring for nature and the human spirit through healthy outdoor activity.
In a beautiful post-trail reflection, Luigi shared his answers to the questions "Where are you going?" and "Where are you from?" Here his words have been translated into English: "...these questions are a reflection of that primal fascination of every human being, for walking, for moving forward, for ascending, for seeing what lies beyond, what lies behind that hill, what lies beyond that sunset or sunrise." Luigi believes that transcending or "asunción" is about understanding our vulnerabilities and our strengths and to embrace them both.
Why creating trails matters
In Mexico, there are small pockets of outdoor enthusiasts who hike, cycle, climb and find other ways to explore our mountains and remote landscapes. Still, many people don’t venture onto trails without much infrastructure or safety. With efforts from those like in Aguascalientes, more people can get outside and connect with themselves and our planet in new ways.
We believe that the power trails have to connect us to place, purpose, and people. Hearing stories of new trails like this, especially close to home, excites us and inspires us to keep growing a community of outdoor lovers.