Every year in August, my friend Franky Álvarez sends out a call: “I need 300 volunteers to plant 300 trees on top of el Cerro del Cuatro.”
This “hill” is actually an extinct scoria volcano whose peak, at 1,870 meters above sea level (6,135 feet), happens to be the highest point in the Guadalajara metro area. Although 90 percent of the volcano is covered with streets and houses, at the very top you find beautiful rolling hills covered with greenery, offering the best view of Guadalajara you could ever ask for. The peak of Cerro del Cuatro would, in fact, make a marvelous park except for one thing: there is no shade to be found there at all, because there’s not a single tree to be seen.
Franky is a young man who loves nature and also practices a sport called Downhill, which consists of racing a reinforced bicycle down a horrendously steep slope at breakneck speeds along a “path” filled with rocks, ruts and ramps which shoot the speeding cyclist straight up into the air. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Cerro del Cuatro has one of the best Downhill routes around and Franky dreams of the day this peak will offer Tapatios respite from the noisy congested city surrounding it. He has already managed to get it declared a Protected Area, but, he insists, “We have to plant some trees.”
My friend Josh Wolf is always up for what he calls, “a John Pint adventure,” so I suggested we join Franky’s crusade.