About 30 years ago the municipal president of a little town in the state of Mexico, took me and my two boys, Oliver 9 and Doron 7 to see the “palomitas del monte”, as the butterflies are called locally.
“Doña Marlene, you wouldn’t believe it, the sky turns orange early in the morning, when the first rays hit the pine trees and oyamel” . They start arriving around the most important festivity of Mexico, the Day of the Dead, and are believed to be their souls. In the “outside world” nobody was aware of this phenomenon at that time.
In that trip Naomi Price, a specialist in insects, of the department of entomology in Harvard, accompanied this group. She gave two lectures about the interaction between caterpillars and ants. Fascinating!
On our way to Michoacan, we passed the snow covered Nevado de Toluca volcano, 4 500 meters high — always an impressive sight.In Angangeo we drove to the “El Rosario” sanctuary. Up, up, we walked to meet the colonies.
The Ejido is well organized. Along the path the ejidatarios (local farmers) women and men, were standing guard, greeting us friendly. Up, up in the high pine trees clusters of butterflies.
The locals told us that it had recently snowed and that some of the butterflies were harmed. A rug of butterflies about 10 centimeters deep covered a great stretch of the path. Mixed feelings of sadness mingled in my admiration for those that survived, Nature can be cruel.
Back in the old mining town, at our warm Hotel, we encountered Lincoln Brower, the noted monarch specialist. In the evening we had another lecture, by Jose Luis, who is doing great work of reforestation, assisting efforts of ejidatarios. Deforestation makes these unique places very vulnerable. Less trees equals less protection as the icy winds hit the butterflies directly.
Additional trivia — this area, believe it or not, is also one of the most important watersheds for the Megalopolis of Mexico City.
On our way back we stopped in the City of Toluca at the spectacular stained glass windows, the old porfirian market hall has been transformed into a Botanical Garden and all the walls are covered with images like a giant kaleidoscope.
Departure at the University Stadium at 7:00AM
Visit to the Sanctuary at the State of Mexico
Minimum 10 persons
Transportation and Guide, entrance to the Sanctuary
Free time for lunch (each on his own)
Visit to the Cosmovitral Toluca (USD 2 per person)
Return to the city about 7:00PM
Feel free to send an e-mail to choose your own date with your own group deciding the legth of your tour.
Our tours are designes according to your personal wishes and interest
Marlene Ehrenberg Enríquez Ecoturismo y Turismo Responsable Tel/Fax: (52-55) 5550-9080