Mobile photo I shot while hiking near the Rio Grande river banks.
The land of the Coahuilteca.
Under this vegetation knapped pieces and paleolithic tools lie since ancient times, once used by the native Coahuilteca people who used to live along the Mexico – Texas border.
A vast land which rivers are the only features and places for survival — the few streams one can find, at least. Not a grassland entirely, but also not quite a desert. Life does appear to survive at the land of bushes, cactus, reeds, and tall grass (like in the image).
For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago, this area was already a border area. Back then it was the limit where the Comecrudo (Carrizo) people (east of modern-day Laredo and Nuevo Laredo) and the Coahuilteca lived (west of the two cities).
A land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find, if you find one.
Our ancestors once lived along the Rio Grande. After all, this is a land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find — assuming you can find a stream or a proper river. And the mighty Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo, as the Mexicans call it) is the most important river in the part of the world, and one of the most important in the Americas.
Perhaps that’s why they called it Guanapetnan — which means Big River in Coahuiltecan indigenous language. It is quite understandable to recognize it as “the” big river if you ever travel accross all Texas towards it, or from Central Mexico to the north.
A border — back then and now.
There is evidence of antiquity in this area. I have been informed of many findings at the west side of the two Laredos (both sides of the border, that is). And I have identified a large site southest of Nuevo Laredo or South of Laredo, where the ancient ones once inhabited.
Chronicles from post-contact travelers and expeditions refer to this area as a border zone between the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo nations. Nowadays, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are still a border region, where the Guanapetnan or Rio Grande separate the United States (Texas) and Mexico (Tamaulipas).
Hiking where the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo once hiked.
Although it is a rough terrain and the climate can be an issue in Summer or Winter, the experience can be as rich as hiking in a high mountain forest or a secluded beach — trust me, I’ve done it. To me, being as picky as I consider myself, the hiking trails of the border can be a handful. So you can’t be disappointed — unless you don’t like hiking or nature (or bugs, or the sun).
As with all thing in life, if done with caution hiking in the deep of South Texas or the Mexican side of border can be fun. One can see animal life, interesting plants, erosion formations along the creeks, and all kinds of pebbles.
Hiking in the actual Rio Grande river can be difficult if you’re a newbie, not because of its difficulty in terms of the terrain but because of the overwhelming vigilance of law enforcement. Hey, it’s a border, remember that. Don’t get me wrong… there are parks exactly at the Rio Grande — 2 parks, 1 resting stop and 1 golf course at Laredo, Texas, 4 parks and 1 zoo in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, and 1 park at Colombia, Nuevo León.
But hiking actual trails along the Rio Grande can be difficult, desolate, and expect to be stopped by authorities. I have been stopped by authorities on both sides of the border, and they just ask who you are and what are you’re intentions. Of course, if you’re up to no good, you’ll see it with them — in the US side you have the Border Patrol are omnipresent at those trails and parks, and in Mexico side you have the Mexican Army.
If you ask me, the most dangerous thing you’ll face when hiking in South Texas or Northern Mexico is the heat — hands down. And both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are famous for their infamous hot weather. Winter is very cold, but nothing a good and sturdy clothing choice can help. But the sun of summer literally kills people every year. Again, if done with caution and at certain hours, you’ll be fine.