Sacred Sanctuaries

Whew! It had been a long week since we left Morelia. We are currently in Taxco staying with a couchsurfing host, Efrain. It has been a very comfortable 3 day stay in another fine silver mining city.

Most of the days we had HUGE mountain ranges to climb, including the national park of Mexico. Our kilometer count dropped after each day. Higher in the mountains, temperatures were low- down to freezing points, overnight.

Some days and nights we had heavy rain, distant lightning storms), and caught in a hail storm!

On our way out of Angangueo village, I experienced my first fall! I was riding downhill and did not see the UNMRKED speed bump on the road- a wet road. I tried to break, but instead I hit the bump, hydroplaned and fallen with the bike. My quick reflexes saved me- I covered my face from the ground. Besides, the knees scratched and couple bruises- fortunately, nothing was broken.

In Angangueo, we toured the butterfly reserve of Chincua. It was a bus ride, 2 kilometers uphill dirt-road bike ride, and a 1 hour hike, to arrive at the monarch butterfly sanctuary at 3300 meters. Unfortunately, it was a cold and overcast day, so the butterflies were not active. Instead, they were in the trees packed in tight colonies to protect themselves from the cold.

Our guide, Diego, explaind the migration patterns of the monarchs. Over 5 generations make the annual journey from Canada to Mexico by the millions. Their routes have changes due to pollution and have chosen new areas to migrate to- such as Florida.

the dark patches are the collections of monarchs in the trees

A closer look. Sometimes the collections are so heavy, that they break the branches

We hoped it would have been a sunny day to see them fly about. It was still impressive to witness the million monarch sanctuary.

But we did have another chance to see the butterflies! Days later, on the highway in the mountains, thousands of butterflies were migrating across the road into another sanctuary. Our mission to witness the collective monarch magic in action, was complete.

The little black spots are butterflies- looking up.

Butterflies at the gate entrance- covering the gound.

Chris wanted to ride to the top of the volcano (not active), Nevado de Toluca, at 4600 meters in the Mexico national park. At the gate entry to the volcano, we found out that we could not go further due to snow on the roads. Oh well. For myself, at the gate entry, the level at 3600 meters has been the highest elevation I have reached on my bike!

At the gate entry of 3600, with view of the volcano behind me. Much higher climbs ahead!

The evening we experienced a hail storm, we were invited by Hector to camp on his property. We stayed in a room under his neighbors home. From Hectors property, we had views of the volcano and national park to Guerrero state (until the black cloud storm and lightning arrived) Hector invited us to meet his parents and dinner of pork soup. Homemade corn tortillas were made by his mother over an impressive wood burning stove.

Hector leaning on the car, and the neighbor.

View of the volcano from Hector's, next morning

A day before arriving in Taxco- I lost Chris! At the junction that led me towards Taxco, I waited for Chris, but I did not see him. A cop mislead me when he said he saw Chris continue on the highway. Instead, Chris was behind me, caught in a conversation with an interested local. Luckily, an hour later, Chris found me at a gas station.  At the end of that day, we arrived at the Cacahuamilpa Caves National Park. We reserved a camp spot at the park and did a 2 hour tour of one of the world’s largest caves.

Entering the cave

the celing


cave rose

In Taxco, we have had a pleasant time with our host, Efrain, and his family. Efrain is a wonderful and hilarious guy. A great cook too! He treated us to dinner at his cafe. We ate on the terrace that hada  panoramic view of Taxco. The following night he hosted a dinner party for us and his friends. There was an attendance of Mexicans, South Americans, and a couple who are Swiss and a San Franciscan (Chris and I were pleased to talk with them). The best feature of dinner was a Tamarind con Chile shrimp dish and an apple cream  salad for dessert- YUM! Efrain also took us to see a movie. It’s been wonderful and comfortable to stay with Efrain- Thank you, Efrain!!!

View of the church from the terrace.


Silver works. Taxco is best known for it's silver production and exports.

Lunch with our friends in Taxco

Together, preparing dinner

A muy rico comida with wonderful company! Thank you Efrain!




2 thoughts on “Sacred Sanctuaries

  1. So glad to hear from you. Have been worried for a day or so. You are looking very lean. Wonderful adventure – so very cool.

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