We scouted out the buzzing market in Zinapecuaro, tasting fresh Gorditas, watching merchants and vendors make their trades. Then we headed for the mountain drive to see the world famous monarch butterflies in their winter home.
It took us a couple of hours drive up to the sanctuary, longer because we didn’t catch the bypass around Cuidad Hidalgo. We climbed over 4,000 feet through towns built on mountainsides with cobblestone roads, alpine forests and picturesque churches.
At Sierra Chincua Sanctuary we paid for our entrance, were assigned a male guide and started our assent. We passed by the corral where the cabelleros stood with their horses ready, trying to make a sale. We didn’t nibble, so they walked along side of our family, many of them, trying to coax us into purchasing horse rides for the ninos (children). Always talking about the ninos.
Laars started complaining about his legs. Always a poor walker, its improved but not greatly now that he is 6. Walking and endurance are not his strong points.
50 pesos a horse ($4). I talk Everette into letting the boys share a horse for 50 pesos and Laars stops complaining about his legs.
But as they leave to walk up a different trail, we aren’t comfortable sending our 6 & almost-8yo off alone through the forest with strangers, and the other cowboys are promoting their horse for ‘accompaniment’ so Everette joins the boys.
We stand amazed. Impossible to even guess-timate their numbers. Most are still clinging to one another on heavily laden branches or on the sun-warmed side of a tree trunk. I call them in silence to alight on our heads but none listen.
On the way down Gaelyn took Laars on a horse where Laars sat outside the saddle but the decline kept him pushed up against the back of his sister. Anders got to ride alone, while Everette walked the trail alongside the horses.
While they set off we met a lady from Guadalajara who so badly wanted to Shout! at the butterflies and see millions take flight. While she refrained herself and we conversed a man from Mexican Channel 40 Television asked to interview us. We did it! It was worth a good chuckle though I don’t know if they would ever use the footage.
GPS Waypoint: N 19.67305 W 100.29175