Saturday, April 23, 2016

March 2016 Monarch Butterflty Reserve

 I was fortunate to see the Monarchs less that a week before the horrible snow storm hit and killed so many of them.

   Headed toward the reserve. The scenery was beautiful even though mostly everything is brown because it's the dry season.

                              There's a lake between the mountains and the land, hope you can see it.

The indigenous people that live in this area are the Otomi and Mazahua. The Monarchs have always been coming here, returning around the end of October. That's the time of the year that Dia de Muerte is celebrated. The people believed that the Monarchs are their ancestors returning. They are a poor people and by working with the reserve they are making a living and protecting their ancestors.

Gateway to the sanctuary
           photo by LMcK Mar 2016

This is the visitors center, the people in the area work here.
                 photo by LMcK Mar 2016

From things I heard on this trip I suspect there will be tighter controls on this area. They are very concerned about the impact of visitors there. This has been designated by UNESCO, in 2008, to be a World Heritage Site.

The WWF has a large representation there, answering questions, making sure rules are followed. 
photo by LMcK Mar 2016

From the parking lot or visitors center, you can walk up or ride up closer to the reserve. I chose to ride just because I like horses. I walked down. Next time I'm riding up and down! It's a very strenuous walk. The muscles in my legs were vibrating they were so fatigued!.

I rode up the hill and through the trees into a big open field. Monarchs were everywhere. I thought this was amazing but it was nothing compared to what was coming!

Since riding up took about 15 minutes, I waited for those that walked up. Walking takes about 45 minutes or longer, depending upon how often you have to stop to catch your breathe and rest.

This is a good time to come here as the Monarchs are preparing for their migration back north. I saw some breeding.

It was like confetti flying around.

                                          There was a cluster on a puddle of mud

Keep in mind this is still the open field.

        We're entering the last hike into the inner reserve. There is still about a 15 minute walk. Its the dry season here and the ground is almost like a powder,  I had to cover my nose. We were all coughing because of the dirt flying around with each step we took.

Where you see all the people is as far into the reserve that we can go. All those little specks are Monarchs.

Not only are there millions flying there is also millions on the trees.

Here's just a short clip of them flying around. Ignore the audio, He was trying to flirt with me!

After you leave the main part of the reserve, there are places to eat and shop. The wares are mostly indigenous made items. The area is about three blocks long.

Looking out through one of the vendor areas to the scenery behind them. When rainy season starts in a few months this will all turn green.

The walk down just about killed me! So time to rest and have lunch. There was quite a few open eating ares. Each specializing in local cuisine

This is where they cook, much like in their own home.

I had soup, cerveza and blue tortillas. I LOVED those tortillas!

Headed back to Morelia, which is another story!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Destination Chapala ................

   After picking up my friend, we are on our way to Chapala to have a photo taken of me for my resident card. It's the next larger town over from her. I've only been there briefly, never looked around much. It's a busy town, many expats from all over. We got a parking spot across from the church and close to Lake Chapala, which is the largest lake in Mexico. 

                        The church appeared to be old, couldn't find a date anywhere.    

        These trees are across the street from the church. When I first saw them I couldn't imagine what kind of fruit or seed pod was hanging from them. It's lights! I'll bet at night it's awesome. I think these are Ficus trees.

     After the pictures were taken we had some time, before they were ready to pick up. Perfect time to go look around then have lunch. There were vendors out on the sidewalk. This one appeared to be selling herbs and spices.

                            I don't remember what she was selling. Maybe lotions.

  The plaza was quiet. Guess that's why the dog decided it was a good time to nap.     

                      In the States, a hole like this would have blinking lights,                                               wooden barricades, and caution tape. Then someone would fall in 
                  anyway and sue. Not here, people seem to take responsibility
                  for themselves and their children. Lawsuits are RARE. This was in the                           middle of the sidewalk.


                                                       The lake is just to the left. 

                                  There were some pretty lakefront restaurants.

                                                  This one was right on the lake.

       This pavilion was recently built. I would imagine there is entertainment there.

                                                       The pier going out on the lake.

                                                 I love this gate entering the walkway

                                                       View of part of the city.

                    There's boats here on the lake. In Ajijic, only rarely will I see a boat.

     I've been told the lake was a mess and polluted. The story goes ...... back in the   50's, I believe, the wife of a politician saw Water Hyacinths and loved them. She
brought some back and put them in the lake. They over took everything and the lake began to die. Things are looking better now. It's not where it should be but it's headed there.

      The lake has also been low for awhile, but is slowly rising. This statue 
     should have water around it. The land in the distance is Scorpion Island. There
     are four restaurants there. A boat will take you out and bring you back. It's about a      half hour ride one way.

                                                     The end of the pier.

                          A lot of water birds. Even pelicans are down here.

       We were wondering where this guy was going. He was headed for a small boat          just across the next clump of grass. He parked the bike in some bushes and he            and his dog got in a boat boat, maybe going fishing.

        This appeared to be a fountain but it wasn't spewing water. Could be just a   

                                         This is a mosaic across from the church.

                          This place, was at one time, a private home. This picture doesn't 
                    do it justice. The lake is across the way on the other side of the street.
                    I'll bet when it was built it was lakefront property. It goes around
                   the corner and half way down the block. It's a restaurant now.

                  We decided to eat at this restaurant. It goes up the mountainside.

                                                               Street view from our table.

        I got pizza. Kind of close to Chicago style. Something in the seasoning just isn't          there. But it was good.

        My friend got a arracahra salad. Arrachara is the most delicious marinated steak.     Underneath all the vegies was some lettuce.

       As we were headed back to the truck, there was a funeral on the way to the               church. Some funerals are like the ones in New Orleans. Family and friends 
    follow behind and a band is playing in the group. To see two caskets really made         me sad.  There were alot of people in the procession. Usually that means a young       person.  Mother, child? Young couple? Husband, wife? So sad.

                                                   Headed out of town towards home now.

 Half way point. This is the place I told you about that invented the Vampiros. Juices and mucho tequila. Those little things you see up on the wire are not birds. But are small Bromiliads. Which is a type of plant that doesn't need soil.

        Here is another place serving Vampiros, in another town. I make a right hand turn     here and its a straight shot to home.

       In just a few minutes I'll be home!