The Huentitán Canyon and the Santiago River form Guadalajara’s northern border. In modern days, the 500-meter-deep canyon is seldom visited except by hardy hikers and athletes looking to test their endurance.
The area, however, was once of strategic importance for the city’s economy. The fertile and tropical climate at the base of the canyon provided the perfect environment for orchards, while to the north lay undeveloped areas upon which the citizens of Guadalajara almost entirely depended for firewood.
The important role the canyon played in Guadalajara’s development was brought to my attention recently when a group of explorers made a surprising discovery.
“We located a legendary hacienda named after Spanish Conquistador Miguel de Ibarra and one of the major crossing points of the Santiago River,” Luis Abarca, the leader of Jalisco Desconocido, told me.
“We were truly amazed to see that the old hacienda, built in 1820, is still standing and still beautiful even though it is now enshrouded in vines and creepers,” Abarca said, noting that it also supplied mangoes, papayas, sugar cane and oranges to Guadalajara, not to mention its curious caracolillo (peaberry) coffee beans.
Jalisco Desconocido is a group of six persons who enjoy hunting for old trails and forgotten historical monuments.