It is difficult to put recent experiences into an entry here – this trip amazes me every day with new people and experiences, and it is difficult to keep up in the personal journal I write. This blog is a balance between providing interesting stories and not overloading this site – there are many experiences that you don’t read about.
Heading south from Queretaro, I camped the first night next to the house of a family who grew their own corn, which they eat and feed to their chickens and sheep. The next morning, I watched while the mother of the house and her neighbor hand-made tortillas. They make 500 tortillas five times a week, and you should watch the two videos on the left. The daughter of the house dreams of moving to the U.S. and buying a Ford Mustang. (Many people in these small towns have worked in the U.S., and most have family working abroad.)
The land south of Queretaro receives more rain than the land to the north, and I traveled south through a patchwork of small corn fields. The harvest was in the fall and the land is mostly bare or covered with dry dead corn stalks.
After staying with the bomberos (firemen) of the small town of Maravatio, I climbed to 11,000 feet where I encountered the first forest I have seen since Durango. This is where the butterflies are.
Monarch butterflies, having migrated south from eastern U.S. and Canada, congregate here in colonies of millions of butterflies for the winter. In only a handful of sites you can find almost every monarch butterfly in the world. At night they sleep in huge clumps of butterflies coating a handful of trees, and during the day the sky is full of millions of butterflies (watch movie on right). Yes. Those pictures are for real. I camped within the park, and spent an entire day sitting beneath the butterflies.
To hear more about what climate change means for these butterflies, you will have to wait until my next entry.
The next two days were an easy bike ride down to Toluca, a large city 50 miles away from Mexico City. The first night I stayed with a family who, like the previous one, farmed corn that they ate and fed to their animals. (My favorite part of the conversation is when they ask me if I own any chickens). I also got to ride a horse (middle movie).
I am in Toluca now, staying with the Bomberos. Tomorrow I will cut a course into Mexico City, the center of Mexico.