|Jesus, our bus driver and the|
transportation hero of the tour!
In hearing about the possibilities of checking this one off our list, Linda contacted a tour company located in Melaque and found that they were offering a tour that included a visit to view these spectacular creatures.
Experience Mex-ECO Tours provides many offerings and all came highly recommended which made the decision to join this adventure very easy. Linda contacted Dan Patman, Mex-ECO Tours owner, and made the arrangements. When Tuesday, February 10 at 5:45 AM rolled around Maggie, Linda and myself, loaded into our bus and started our trek to visit the Monarchs and other attractions of the Michoacan area.
|(Click on photos to enlarge.)|
|Linda and Maggie with the|
volcano in the background.
Arriving in Morelia we checked into the Casa de Anticuario and got settled into our rooms. The hotel was very nice and quiet. Our room was just off the main reception area under a set of stairs. We had plenty of room and were able to connect to wifi so that Linda could call her father and check on her mother who had just had a hip replacement operation that day.
|The courtyard just outside our room.|
|One of the churches just off|
the square in Morelia.
After ten or so minutes the rain let up and we were able to make our way back to a restaurant near our hotel where we had a wonderful meal. With our stomachs full and the rain continuing we ended our first 18 hour long day back at the hotel.
When morning arrived we ate a wonderful breakfast at the hotel and loaded into the bus leaving Morelia, passing through Ocampo, to Santa Rosario. It was in this little town that we came upon a most interesting problem. Once every two months a special government sponsored tiangui takes place in Santa Rosario. Because of the government sponsorship, it is unpredictable when this event will be held and so we just happen to be traveling during its arrival.
Our bus climbed the road leading through the lower part of the town. As we moved on we started to see cars and trucks parked lining the only road leading to the biosphere reserve. We inched our way around a tight left turn and there stretching out before us was almost a mile of tiangui filled with hundreds of indigenous peoples. Our progress came to a halt!
|Foreshadowing of the tiangui|
that was just around the corner.
The bus parked and we exited, stretching our legs, and preparing for the climb/ride up into the butterfly reserve. We walked up and Dan met us at the gate with our entry tickets. At this point our tour group divided into two groups, the hikers and the horseback riders. Linda, Maggie and I entered the park and hiked up the brick path. During the first part of the hike the path is concrete bricks leading past vendor huts. Then after climbing about a quarter mile, the brick path ended and we hiked on a dirt trail up to a meadow that opened up at about 8500 feet elevation.
As we climbed we felt the elevation in our legs and lungs. The higher we went we saw more and more butterflies. Finally we broke out of the forest into the meadow where we could see the butterflies!
At the end of the trail in the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve the butterflies congregate, clustering onto pine and oyamel trees. There are so many butterflies hanging onto the branches that the trees appear orange and branches sag from the weight. One reason the butterflies congregate so thickly on trees is to conserve heat. When the sun comes out these butterflies warm up and the skies fill with fluttering orange specks! You can hear their wings swishing as they take flight.
While we were there the weather was cooler so the butterflies were clustered in their groups. Several times we watched as the sun came out from the clouds and the butterflies took flight. The wind moved through the trees and the Monarchs fluttered about; it was breathtaking!
|Entrance to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.|
|The first signs of Monarchs on the hike up.|
|The large clumps are the masses of butterflies keeping warm.|
|Everything orange are the Monarchs.|
|When the sun came out the Monarchs took flight.|
|Vendors along the hike up and down.|
|Our lunch stop after the hike.|
|The ruins at Tzintzuntzan.|
|Aral photo of the archaeological site.|
|Shopping in the town of Tzintzuntzan.|
|Landscaping pieces made from the pinkish rock.|
|Notice the likeness?|
|Everything in the entrance is made of flowers!|
|View of Church of San Francisco and its open chapel.|
|Flowers, flowers everywhere. The place smelled amazing!|
|Fish gordita cooked just outside the bus door.|
|The fish are caught in the nearby lake.|
|Goose and Linda on our bed.|
|The creation of copper pots.|
|Dan explains the process.|
|Dan with a beautiful copper vase.|
|The princess of my life!|
|A mobile hardware store.|
|Mural of the history of Mexico.|
|The entire town is painted in this traditional manner.|
|The butcher was a little pig headed. LOL|