March 19, 2003
Mt. Death, Sinaloa, Mexico

2:30pm. ...Tramping down the Mt. of death after a successful ascent with Valentin, Coyote, Efren, Hugo, and Paulino. "Muy interesante, MAX?!" Paulino exclaims seeing me writing.
"Si!" I answer.
"Muy Bonito!" he returns.

Paulino is a good natured teenager, even though he is bare-footed walking over very thorny territory and the most vocal about this being a dangerous climb and him not wanting to do it. Last night he didn't want to climb the boulder to sleep on top with the rest of us, although he eventually did after we literally dragged him up.

Valentin is singing and good humoured as usual. He is a great guy to have around, always joking, making wise cracks at the video camera... keeping everyone's spirits light.

"Peligroso, MAX! Aqui, Mucho Peligroso!" Hugo cautions me as I write and walk down steep srcee, through thorny vines and brush. Hugo is from California, down visiting family, and speaks more english than spanish, but is fluent and often corrects my speach.

"Mi diario..." I explain to Valentin, waiting for my tardiness. "Okay, MAX..." he nods and carries on.

They are a great crew. Coyote and Efren don't say much, but they don't complain either. There really has not been anything to complain about. The ticks where not bad. There is lots of food. The only thing was that they were cold last night having just one blanket each.

3:30pm. "Buena Sierra, MAX! Muchas piedras!" Valentin comments as we cross the barbwire cow fence and descend nearly to the flats. Today I'm proud of myself and happy for my friends.... who had fun. Valentin says that they are the only people from Roblitio to ever climb the mountain. "Unico record!" he shouts triumphantly raising his arms.

Hugo just told me to smell the air. "Mota! Ta cerca!" I replied. Valentin turns to me making like a machine gun with his hands and shakes his head.

"MAX, el nariz?!" Valentin points back to the summit.
"That's high , hun!?" Hugo confirms proudly patting himself on the back.
"MAX, tu alegre con tu amigos?!"(MAX, you happy with your friends?) Paulino smiles after a "Bravo!" and round of high fives.
"Mission completa, MAX. Bueno." Valentin gives me the thumbs up, when I swallow our last gulp of water after passing it around to all the others, now a safe distance from Palmillas.