Mariposas Monarca

Layne and her little brother Mitchell

Layne and her little brother Mitchell

Gorditas for morning snack.  We got different stuffings which included mole rojo, mole verde, papas y chorizo.

Gorditas for morning snack. We got different stuffings which included mole rojo, mole verde, papas y chorizo.

Animal parts just slung right over his coveralls.  Wouldn't be a wife hugging that guy when he got home from work.

Animal parts just slung right over his shoulder….no coveralls. Wouldn’t be a wife hugging that guy when he got home from work.

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.church2

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.

There is a huge sign, a  “You Are Here” sort of map which shows the piddly distance we’ve come already and the huge expanse ahead of us.  Up hill!!horse ranglers selling

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.

Anders and Laars catch a ride up the mountain

Here, Anders is sitting right on the horse, but with the steep incline he actually slid right off the back of the horse, landing on his feet.  So he climbed in the saddle along with Laars for the rest of the ride up.

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.

Us girls (Mitchell and Maret didn’t join us) traipsed up the hill with our guide, peeked over panoramic views, practiced our Spanish, and anticipated a view like none we’ve seen previous.panoramic view

Nearing 11,125 feet we are told “Silencio” and no flash photography as we make our final approach to where they cluster and spread their wings in the afternoon warm air.mariposa on ground

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. 

clumps of thousands upon thousands of butterflies.

clumps of thousands upon thousands of butterflies.

group pic

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.

Getting interviewed

Getting interviewed

GPS Waypoint:  N 19.67305   W 100.29175

6 thoughts on “Mariposas Monarca

  1. Hi, whoever-is-reading-this (probably Karen)! 🙂 It’s Emma. You went to the same place we did! Isn’t it beautiful? We took the horses, too. What were they interviewing you about? I’m hoping we can come visit you soon. Probably in a week or week and a half, because I’m coming up to the hotel for my herbal class. See you soon and say hi to the kids for me!

    Love, Emma

    P.S. Tell Gaeyln to Skype or email me! 🙂 She has my contact info.

    • Hello, Emma. Good to hear from you. The interview was about how special the sanctuary was, and how important it was to take care of the butterflies for our children and future generations. Gaelyn has been planning to contact you, but she’s been busy doing some science experiments with her Dad, and the other times somebody else is using the computer. Like Me!!! We look forward to seeing you guys again soon. It’s Gaelyn’s birthday on the 10th, and she was hoping to come back to Morelia to see you guys but realized it was a long drive and has settled on a piñata (that I haven’t found yet. Gotta get on that pretty soon).

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  5. Great photos. We LOVED going to see the monarchs, too. From what we hear, the roads are not safe to go this year. Last year there were problems, too. You have to grab opportunities when you can. What unforgettable memories.

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