Baja California 2013

Ferocactus gracilis ssp. coloratusFerocactus gracilis ssp. coloratusSecond time in Baja California. 

In 2012, it was a short trip, 16-day with flight and we took care only of Fouquierie. This time we're going to try everything else ... 

Comes with our friend Cedric, a great lover of Ferocactus, right trip for him. 

Prima spiaggia...Prima spiaggia...Before the beach ... beach ... Before The flight is on time. We arrived at 6 in the morning in Mexico City, hurry the formalities of ritual and go to the Hertz rental car. Leaving the city, we take the highway to Mazatlan (Sinaloa) through cultivated plains and, endless in the evening, around 19 we found the hotel for the night, after traveling more than 1,000 km. 

The next morning we go to the harbor for tickets to La Paz, we reach Topolombambo and, in the evening, boarding for the Baja ... 

Traghetto per la BajaTraghetto per la Baja

After landing, we are separated: Cedric and I sent down to feet, to passport control and search (I ask because having been controlled landing in Mexico the day before). The explanation: see if we have pending legal proceedings in Italy! A Moreno gets worse: more than two hours for the search of the car and bags and must pay a fee for landing. Things to freak out ... 
Sbarcati!!Sbarcati!!

 

 

The long peninsula, 1300 km, is divided into two states: Baja California Sur (BCS) and Baja California Norte (BCN). Vacation spot for many Americans, it is a very different territory from Mexico classic: clean, utmost kindness towards tourists, good hotels and restaurants, in some areas very expensive. Not being densely populated, its countries are quite far from each other. There is only one road that runs through it all: the Mex 1.

It does not have areas that are too challenging for seekers of cactus, certainly is the home of Ferocactus and Mammillarias, mainly hooked.

It was first conquered land (in past centuries) in search of gold, which was not there. In a second step, the Jesuits thought that there were many Indians to convert, also built several missions (many completely abandoned now). When smallpox and syphilis, brought from Europe, decimated the population, abandoned to their fate this earth. 

To the west is the Pacific Ocean, to the east and the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez: a paradise for anglers. 

The tranquility disappears near the border with the United States. Tijuana is notorious, such as Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, to the high rate of crime: this happens in spite of many tourists come there, being a free port, and all goods are sold at very low prices.

We can start the tour. 

 

Sbarco in BajaSbarco in BajaSpiaggia da sognoSpiaggia da sogno

 

Ferocactus peninsulaeFerocactus peninsulaeWe start from La Paz destination Cabo San Lucas with various stops along the Sierra La Laguna. For our needs, Cabo San Lucas is a strong tourist town, with too many buildings, too many people and chaos ... there are not places we prefer. We decide that by the evening, we come to Todos Santos, a small town smaller and quieter. 

For the next day, the destination is Puerto San Carlos, where they live Machaerocereus eruca. 

Machaerocereus erucaMachaerocereus eruca

Arrived, we rented a boat to visit two islands in front of: Magdalena and Santa Margarita. 

Ferocactus Santa MariaFerocactus Santa Maria

The year before, in March, we saw gray whales with puppies, but this time in the fall season is not sin ... ! Let's see the plants. In the evening our tent by the sea with a sunset postcard.

Although we are at the end of October, there is still a lot of tall grass which makes it difficult to sightings of smaller plants. 

Going along the peninsula, the Mex1 moves toward the Sea of Cortez and arrive at Loreto, where we stop to go to the island of Carmen. Because the island is a park, you have to pay a ticket for the landing and visit it. In return Moreno can fish and dolphins are to keep us company. 

Ferocactus gracilis ssp. gracilisFerocactus gracilis ssp. gracilis

 

It starts going through Mulege, Santa Rosalia and arrive at the Mission S.Ignacio, well restored and preserved. 

At Guerrero Negro there is the border between South and North, with its military control; shortly after you enter without a doubt the most spectacular for fans of cactus: the valley of Los Cirios (local name for the Fouquieria columnaris) 

Fouquieria (Idra) columnarisFouquieria (Idra) columnarisFor the evening, the Bahia Los Angeles awaits us. We prepare the tent on the beach and we look to find a boat that will take us the next day to the island Angel de la Guarda. The weather is not good, and if it stays like this, you do not go to sea; in most of us shoot crazy amounts for hire ... the next morning the weather is bad, so again towards the North. 

Fouquieria (Idra) columnarisFouquieria (Idra) columnarisThe road from El Rosario to Ensenada is very ugly, full of work in progress and military controls. Cross country battered, dirty, from despair. The plants encountered along the peninsula are many, especially (as mentioned above) Ferocactus and Mammillarias: not to bore you with a rather lengthy list, we recommend you look at the photo gallery, there are all varieties encountered but many ... 

From the West back to the East recrossing the peninsula, we climb up to S.Luis Rio Colorado. 

From here to Sonoyta for a long stretch runs along the border with the United States and you see the wall that separates the two states. 

 

Fortunately, the landscape changes considerably when you enter the area of the Desierto de Altar. Dark mountains on the horizon are placed on endless white plains, almost a lunar landscape and finally ... the Saguari! Moreover, for the first time, we meet the Echinocactus polycephalus. 
SaguaroSaguaroEchinocactus polycephalusEchinocactus polycephalus

 

 

 



 

 



 

Ferocactus acanthoides ssp. leconteiFerocactus acanthoides ssp. leconteiThe latter are found where there are dark rocks; On the season, are also found in the high grass dry. Unfortunately, we see that there are small plants, only specimens of good size, which means that in recent years the weather conditions were not good for their germination, this endangers the species in this area. 

The last stop is here in the north of the island of Tiburon so we deviate from Hermosillo to Bahia Kino: a country virtually on sale. Everywhere signs of selling homes. Let's go to Punta Chueca; Indian Village is a true place of despair. For them, the island of Tiburon is a sacred place, where they buried the dead, and are not willing to join us there: we have to go back. 

Back in Bahia Kino find a boat for the next day early in the morning and reach the island where, looking plants, we also encounter a long rattlesnake! 

The ride to the north is practically finished, cross the Sierra Madre Occidental in torrential rain which requires the utmost attention .. Moreno curves, curves and more curves, with lots of rocks to avoid fallen on the ground. Another 4 days with various stages of Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi ... To get to the final act of this trip: groped to find the Strombocactus corregidorae described some years ago in the Municipality of S.Joaquin, Queretaro.

HabitatHabitat

..and this has been a really great day! 

In the morning the weather was not good, was threatening rain. 

More than 3 hours of paved road that climbs the mountains through the woods and suddenly ends up becoming a track traced to make the aqueduct and then is left to his fate, a real disaster. We logically with a normal car and not a 4x4. The few people we met said it was not feasible to continue with that kind of car, it was dangerous and if it started to rain "strongly advised" to go back in a hurry because everything caved ... but we decided in any case to try. We come to a crossroads and had to choose whether to go up to the mountain tops or down to the Rio Moctezuma. We decide to go and the problems begin. The guardian of the aqueduct asks us if we have your permission: we fall from the clouds, no one told us anything, there are no signs ... maybe because not many people come here. We explain that we just want to photograph plants, water supply and if we do not care nothing can make us the pleasure of watching leave the area. Gives us half an hour. We are a long ridge overlooking into nothing, 3-400 meters below us. jump, the ground is not good for Strombocactus and even the altitude (over 2,000 meters). So we go back, we salute the guard and go down to the river. 

We stopped the car of Medioambiente (the Mexican forest), the guard gives us a reproof (in part rightly) for more than half an hour of the series: do you have permission? foreigners come here to collect plants, it is time to stop, etc.etc ... and finally ... but where are you going to go with that car ???? 

When they finally let me speak I explain what are our intentions, we know the law, we have the utmost respect for fauna and flora, we just want to take pictures and if you want you can come with us to see how we behave, what we must do for permission, but if you do not want, we go back. At the end he is convinced of our good intentions and gives us permission and 3 hours to visit the area, but if it starts raining we must go back immediately because the dirt would become too dangerous. For all the time we would always have the feeling of being watched. We get to the river, the land is good, there are various types of cactus but even the shadow of Strombocactus. We go to different ridges until, seeing that the time granted was ending, we decided to go back. We are already coming to the car when looking around I see a good ledge Strombocactus corregidoraeStrombocactus corregidoraeand I say to men: let's try that again to finish. Moreno is ahead, and when we are on the precipice, moving carefully so as not to fall, I ask him if he sees something ... the answer is: there are plants, but can not figure out what kind.

I get near and finally the Strombocactus corregidorae that adults no resemblance to other varieties of the Family. We photograph a lot and then the rain begins to fall hard: running back into the vehicle to move away in a hurry with the road is becoming a quagmire tremendous. We cross a stream and finally get back to the country where the paved road. We can return calmly to Cadereyta for the evening and drink a toast to our adventure .... last thought: we hope to Cedric enjoyed this journey into the land of cactus and may be others together.

 

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Sud Africa 2013

Africa 2013 ... change place.


Massonia pustulataMassonia pustulata

After visiting South America, the friend Davide Donati suggests we go to South Africa for both the beloved plants for that the passion for fishing that unites him to Moreno.
The state, in addition to many varieties of succulents is also home to a large number of bulbs. For us a new challenge, since there is never affected too much of these kinds of plants.

 

 

Without the suitcases June 20th we leave for this destination unknown.Aloe feroxAloe ferox

Being south of the equator, there is the beginning of winter: clothing and protective consequently are heavier than usual.

RecinzioniRecinzioniThe KLM flight landed smoothly on the runway at Johannesburg; retrieved our luggage and collected the rental car, with prudence, let's go to the hotel ... we have to get familiar with driving on the left. In the morning, after a hearty breakfast of Dutch type which we back together, we try to get out of the city, which is very difficult even with a satellite navigation system ... there are not many street signs and we have to go a little blindly. Finally, after more than an hour, we can take the right road, westbound, to get to Upington after nearly 1000 km. Along the way there are protective nets as high as 2 meters, and if you feel like you go walking up a hill that seems good for the plants before jumping the net, go to see the place hoping not to encounter the baboons who get angry and you run after, and then projecting the network, turning in the road and continue your trip (for the series: it takes a trained body). The landscape that we see leaves us amazed: this is not the Africa that we usually see on television, countries seem villages Dutch or Germans, everything is neat and there are no garbage around. We note that in all the menial jobs are occupied only by people of color ... there is still much to be done to achieve the equal sign in this country.

 

Orice (Oryx gazella)Orice (Oryx gazella)

At dawn we start to Namibia to visit the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park formed by the South Africa, Namibia and Botswana: the first trans-national park, twice the size of most famous Kruger, where we have a nasty surprise ... there 'is not a free place to pitch the tents in pens equipped !!

 

This meant that the evening would have to go back to Upington going over 100 km.

 

 

 

Cotyledon orbiculataCotyledon orbiculata Aloe feroxAloe ferox

Conophytum filiformeConophytum filiformeThe enclosures are equipped places where visitors can stay in nature, in complete safety, both in the tent in the lodge, managed by the parks; the fences are electrified, there are toilets, petrol stations, supermarkets etc. Keep in mind that the animals here are not those of Europe, those who are used to seeing, but lions, hyenas, rhinos, etc .: that's why we humans put in a cage ... for our safety !! Always tied to this, every car that enters and is recorded, if the closing does not occur at the exit, the parks guard  go in search of the absentees. You have to walk the streets at 40 km / h, you can not go by car, the animals take precedence and if you get nervous and try to load the car is about to reverse quickly to safety.

Aloe dichotomaAloe dichotoma

 

The next day we head west again, Springbok destination and its surroundings filled with plants involved.

There are many varieties encountered in this journey and to not be too monotonous with the lists will name only the most represented genres in this country: Adromischus, Aloe, Bulbine, Caralluma, Ceraria, Cheiridopsis, Cissus, Conophyllum, Conophytum, Cotyledon, Crassula, Delosperma, Dinteranthus, Duvalia, Euphorbia, Faucaria, Gasteria, Haworthia, Kalanchoe, Lithops, Orbea, Pachypodium, Pelargonium, Piaranthus, Sanseveria, Sarcocaulon, Senecio, Stapelia, Titanopsis, Trichodiadema and many other varieties.

 

Crassula hemisphaericaCrassula hemisphaerica

Arrived at Springbok the meeting with Aloe dichotoma leaves us speechless ... They are a beauty and harmony difficult to describe. Calls from local tree Férétra because the Bushmen use parts of them to construct the quiver containing arrows with poisoned tips that are used for hunting.

We go to the north to Aninaus Pass where there is a persistent rain and not good for the digital machines; then we go to the south, towards Cape Town with stops encountering various fields of quartz where the plants stand out so spettacolare.Euphorbia heptagonaEuphorbia heptagona 

 

 

Now we enter to the Little Karoo and Great Karoo where there are a lot of good places for plants and where begins the territory with more Haworthie's sites.

Haworthia arachnoidea ssp. araneaHaworthia arachnoidea ssp. aranea

 

 

 We arrive at the sea, it's not the season to see whales but in the De Hoop nature reserve you can meet the head of the rare zebras and many other animals.

Pachypodium bispinosumPachypodium bispinosum

We sleep in tents in the park equipped place among the many sounds of nocturnal animals. It comes back to hunt for plants through Riversdal, Ladismith, Calitzdrop, Oudtshoorn, Uniondale.

A Willowmore the night temperature falls much (remember that it is winter here) and we wake up in the morning with ice in tents.

The crossing of the Baviaanskloof is challenging, we have to cross many rivers and fords ... we do not have an SUV but with a little 'luck and skill we do that here too a wonder for both plants and animals, this is also a nature reserve.  

 

We leave the valley at 19 o'clock, eat something quickly and decide to travel all night to get to Pongola (border with Swaziland) without missingaday ... almost 1400 KM !! Impala (Apyceros melampus)Impala (Apyceros melampus)

 

We arrived there at 11 o'clock the next morning, we bring our stuff in the tent camp in the bush and the 14 are in a boat with a fishing parks guard to make the two men ... GiraffaGiraffa

 

 

 

 

 


We stay here for another 2 days Tigerfish fishing (catch and release ... do not kill animals!!) chased by a hippo! The sheet of water where the fish are biting is his territory and just sees us trying to load the boat; the biggest problem is that, if we fall into the water, the crocodiles would make a good meal ..

 

We leave to the North Kruger, the most famous park awaits us.Elefante africano (Lexodonta africana)Elefante africano (Lexodonta africana)

Along the road are still many plants and animals.

The Kruger is a Transfrontier Park composed of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It 's definitely the place where you can see the largest number and variety of animals: lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, crocodiles, hippos and many other species dusk ... we have the good fortune to meet a leopard with a unique and magnetic beauty.

Leopardo (Panthera pardus)Leopardo (Panthera pardus)

We sleep in tents in one of the fields electrified and in the evening as we make a grilled arrive hyenas just outside the safety net ... an indescribable spectacle.

Our vacation is almost over, we return to Johannesburg for the flight that will take us back home.

Hello Africa .. all too beautiful and interesting: surely a goodbye.

 

P.S. Not being experts on African plants we asked for help from people who know them well, but it is difficult classification without flowers (at least some kinds), if someone has to report errors please use the email in the "Contact". Thanks so much.

 

 

        

                                                                                                            

                                                                             * Warthog in the maps will mark the area we're talking about    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Argentina 2011

It was time to change destination.

After much Mexico it was time to look for other places to explore. Thinking about the plants we prefer, one of the most popular genres are opunziacee, we decided to look towards the south of the American continent. Informing us about species present in the various States, we chose Argentina. Late October is a good time to go there, whereas there is full spring.

The Iberia flight from Madrid to Buenos Aires was right on schedule. We had decided to come to the capital to visit it before leaving. Taking the rental car and hurried up some formalities we went to the north, passing through the city of Rosario, Cordoba to Tucuman, where he began the search for plants.
Quebrada del ToroQuebrada del Toro

First base city Salta: typical Spanish style, clean, cozy and with a variety of accommodation options ... even with regard to the restaurants we found ourselves very well.

The first area visited is the Quebrada del Toro, from here, along Route 51, we arrive at the border with Chile, there is also a train for tourists "Tren a las Nubes" (literally train to the clouds) that is the most popular station in the country, dating back up to the colorful Quebrada amazing viaduct, The Polvorilla, 64 meters high and 224 meters long that runs through a wide gorge deserted.
Trichocereus pasacanaTrichocereus pasacana

When we left early in the morning there was a cloudy and uncertain but as they climbed past the mt. 2000, the sun illuminated the beautiful landscape that opened our eyes.

The first population of Gymnocalcium Spegazzini met was a disappointment: the plants were all covered with a kind of rust and not only them but also the rest of succulent vegetation (Tunilla, Parody, etc.) but after a few miles a second encounter with this species there left open-mouthed ... the plants were beautiful.

For those who love the thorns I have been among the most beautiful specimens of cactus ever seen: the envy of many Mexican species!

There are many varieties found among beautiful landscapes:

Rebutia minuscola, Cleistocactus hyalacanthus, Trichocereus terscheckii, Trichocereus poca, Trichocereus pasacana, Tunilla corrugata, Lobivia ferox, Eriosyce umadeave, Cumulopuntia boliviana, Cumulopuntia boliviana ssp dactylifera, Gymnocalycium spegazzini, Parodia aureicentra, Parodia nivosa, etc.

S. Rosa de TastilS. Rosa de Tastil

 

Along the road we arrive at the archaeological site of S. Rosa de Tastil in a panoramic position in the top of a mountain ... definitely worth seeing.

The Quebrade are the great valleys with roads that run through the Andes between 1000 curves (not recommended for those who suffer from carsick. ..).

Visited the surroundings of the city, after a few days, we climb in the province of Jujuy, which is bordered to the north by Bolivia and on the west by Chile.

 

the winding roads of the Andesthe winding roads of the Andes

Once you arrive in La Quiaca, where there is the pass to go in Bolivia we found a good hotel for a few days.

The town is not too pretty, but in the surrounding area there is a small village Yavi charming and typically indigenous, within this small town there is a magnificent church of the seventeenth century.

With a short walk you arrive in the area of Cerros Colorados where there are cave paintings and petroglyphs.

 

Lobivia feroxLobivia ferox

The plants are easily observable in the area:

Tephrocactus weberi, Tephro. nigrispinus, Lobivia pungionacantha, Lobivia ferox, Parodia maassii, Cumulopuntia boliviana, Orocereus celsianus, Orocereus trollii, Tunilla tilcarensis, Maihueniopsis hypogaea, etc.

... and then (finally) animals: llamas, vicuna, rheas, etc. .... all wonderful!

But the thing that impressed us the most was the vastness of the territory, the infinite space ... for us there is no comparison: North America is not comparable at all what we have seen here.

LamaLama

Miles and miles of mountains with marvelous colors and loneliness. We, the territory ... nothing else.

We try to go to Laguna Pozuelos but to our car (a normal compact car) out of the gears due to continuous bumpy road and at the end we have to give up and go back.

Another stop in Humahuaca, a small town with very impressive and delicious restaurants. From here you can get to Iruya a country that seems to rise at the end of the world: the gravel road climbs to a pass at 4000 meters above sea level and then descend tortuously into another valley to the pretty village perched on a rocky outcrop surrounded by high peaks.

Trichocereus pasacanaTrichocereus pasacana

Always following the Rio Grande you get to Purmamarca by the incomparable surroundings. The Cerro des Colores you really leaves you speechless. The nuances of the rocks change depending on the light ... a true wonder!

Cerros de los siete coloresCerros de los siete colores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Tilcara's PulcaraTilcara's Pulcara

 

Nearby you can visit the archaeological site of Tilcara.

The Pucara were Quechua fortified towns placed at the beginning or at the end of the valleys typical of the Andean region, that of Tilcara was discovered in 1903 and restored in the 50s, well worth a visit. Maimara instead is famous for its cemetery placed on some hills where the burials seem to be made up. Here we found the Gymnocalycium saglionis larger and higher of the trip ... nearly 1 meter tall!

From Cafayate we take the highway 52 leading to the Jama Pass. The valley is wonderful, climb up to the Salinas Grandes: an expanse of salt to 2500 mt ... impressive! Salinas grandesSalinas grandes

The town of Susques has a wonderful church with the wooden ceiling of cactus (cardones) and the dirt floor.

Once in Cafayate are the mournful notes begin ... lacked the gasoline station: we had to procure a tank for the escort and also in neighboring countries was scarce or even missing. So we had to change the tour in order not to remain still a few days until the arrival of gasoline.

We went down to the Quebrada de las Conchas always among breathtaking scenery. Once in the Catamarca first stop was the archaeological site of Quilmes, very well kept, where we met a snake that not seemed harmless.

SnakeSnake

QuilmesQuilmes

That morning we looked particularly hot in the afternoon we arrived in Belen to find a hotel and then went to the archaeological site Inca Shincal, small and not fully studied. Once the nth fraught staircase (after having already made a dozen) we give up due to the heat ... never happened in many years of archaeological sites. In the evening, after 22, the walls of houses in the village were still hot. The next morning the hotel owner informed us that the day before the thermometer had reached 50 degrees ... I understood why we had not come up to the stairs ...

The plants in the area: Trichocereus strigosa, Trichocereus caudicans, Trichocereus huasca, Tephrocactus articulatus, Tephrocactus articulatus v.papyaracanthus, Trichocereus schickendantzii, Lobivia aurea, etc.Trichocereus schickendantzii flowersTrichocereus schickendantzii flowers

Further south of La Rioja. The scenic ride up to the Cuesta Miranda is interesting, the narrow dirt road, the driver engages a bit but it offers some beautiful scenery.

Plants present: Gymnocalycium schickendantzii, Gymnocalycium kieslingii, Gymnocalycium castellanosii, Eriosyce bulbocalix, Tephrocactus articulatus, Tunilla forma corrugata, Denmoza rhodacantha, Trichocereus schickendantzii, Stetsonia coryne, etc.

To return to Buenos Aires we arrive to Cordoba through Le Cumbre, a place well known by enthusiasts of "parependio", the country is pretty, good food and even here there are some interesting plants.

We are almost at the end, we go to Rosario Moreno for two days because he wanted to go fishing in the Rio Parana. The return on capital goes smoothly, we visit the city and the next day we take the flight that takes us back home.

LandscapeLandscape

I have to say that Argentina I loved it. For me, classical "mountain" has always been in love with the mountains, was upsetting see the mountains so beautiful and colorful and I think that the landscapes are the most beautiful I've ever seen.

And even countries, the people, the food all very nice ... so much I can tell you that from now on will definitely be returning very soon.

 

TO SEE THE PHOTO GALLERY CLICK HERE:

Mexico November 2009

Of the many trips we had to tell the first pick, and it was not easy, so the choice was random.

There is no reason to go on: the starting point would be to look for a particular plant, choosing the area where he lives, but then, expanding horizons, you end up interested in all that you see.

Moreno, Sergio & MirellaMoreno, Sergio & MirellaThis trip was born to do a favor to our friend Sergio, who asked us if he could come with us to see the plants in nature so beloved: therefore was planned on some areas not visited in previous trips (for our interest) and other known sites, in which we could certainly show some "rare". This mix was interesting because we were able to realize the state of health of various populations even at a distance of 10 years, most of the time finding nice surprises. Sergio's wife, Mirella, is not fond of cactus so we have included detours to archaeological sites, picturesque villages, markets and other things to learn about the country.

The main stages were made in the states of Zacatecas, Durango, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Queretaro and Hidalgo ...

The holiday began a little bad, the taxi driver who was supposed to bring the Venice airport was late we had to call him and wake him up. The Iberia flight, which usually take, it was Venice-Madrid-Mexico City and vice versa.

Once lacked all 4 cases (in Venice they had not loaded!) We had to fill out all the forms of the loss and the Iberia staff assured us that for the next night would be delivered ... but another nasty surprise: even the car was ready, the charterer presented various excuses, but we could not have it until tomorrow.

The uncertainties of a trip "do it yourself" are to be solved in a short time: so we changed the program and what was to be the last day he became the first.

The next morning we took a taxi to the most important archaeological site of Northern Mexico:

Moon temple's - TeotihuacanMoon temple's - Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan, one of the best preserved and most beautiful in the country. The city founded by the Maya is a sacred place, is the city of Quetzalcoat (the serpent god), the place chosen by the gods for the creation of the universe according to Mayan mythology. To visit it well you need at least half a day, there is the Pyramid of the Moon and the largest in the sun, then walk along the Avenue of the Dead extends to that of Quetzacoat decorated, the only come down to us as it was built; because this had been covered with a rear building, only during excavations for the restoration came to light the statues that decorate the staircase.

XochimilcoXochimilco

In the afternoon Xochimilco: that is what remains of the ancient capital lake Maya the great Tenochtitlan, full of canals and floating gardens, and now is a district of the capital.

The evening slating retrieved your luggage and the car, the next morning we had to leave early.

The Highway 57 brings us quickly to the north and then to deflect in Zacatecas.Echinocactus Grusonii - S Juan CapistranoEchinocactus Grusonii - S Juan Capistrano

 

S.Juan Capistrano is a small country (not even reported in some maps) to the border with Nayarit, become famous in recent years for the discovery of a population of Echinocactus grusoni to 500 km away from the one known in Queretaro. Due to the inclement weather (heavy rain) we had to postpone the close encounter though, walking along the river and wet all, we were able to see them on the walls. Meeting postponed to next year's trip, but that's another story ...

Museum of the area of SilenceMuseum of the area of Silence

 

Rose further north we enter the state of Durango, to Mapimi, we choose as the basis for a hotel in the village of Bermejillo and we make several excursions. The area del Silencio is a national park, you pay a ticket at the entrance and at certain times of the year you can not visit, but it is a place of beautiful landscapes and interesting plants, the name of the place comes from the fact that it is an area where, for long stretches, there is no coverage for mobile and radio.

Ponte OjuelaPonte Ojuela

The Bolson of Mapimi is a large flat, sparsely populated and full of succulent species, along the way you can make a detour, going up a steep dirt road, and get to the ghost town of Puente Ojuela: an old abandoned mining town (gold was mined and silver), it seems the setting of a western movie, with a suspension bridge (318 meters) designed by the famous Roebling brothers (those of the Brooklyn Bridge) over a throat chills (95 meters high).

The species that can be osservere are: Coryphantha valida, C. poselgeriana, C. macromeris, C. kraciki, C. difficilis, Corynopuntia grahami, Epithelantha micromeris, Echinomastus durangensis, Echinomastus mapimiensis, Echinocereus stramineus, Glandulicactus uncinatus, Ibervillea, Mammillaria lasiacantha, Mam. grusoni, Mam. gasseriana, Man.pottsii, Peniocereus, Thelocactus bicolor, etc..

After a couple of days we left to the east with destination Cuatrocienegas in Coahuila, interesting territory for the many varieties: Ariocarpus fissuratus, Ancistocactus uncinatus, Ancis. scheeri, Astropythum capricorne, Echinocactus texensis, Echin. horizonthalonius, Escobaria dasyacantha, Epithelantha micromeris, Epithelanta Bokey, Grusiona bradtiana, Coryphantha valida, Cor. poselgeriana, Cor. werdermanni, Thelocactus bicolor, Echeveria strictifolia, Echinomastus hispidus, Fouquieria shrevei, Fouqueria splendens, Corynopuntia moelleri, Opuntia anteocoensis, Mammillaria lenta, Mam. lasiacantha, Mam. plumosa and Mam. grusonii.

This town is also known for "poze", crystal clear water lakes connected by underground rivers, thanks to the karst terrain. Along the river Rio Mezquite, in one of poze, La Becerra (now closed due to pollution of the high number of tourists) you could take a bath in the evening and watch the water turtlesr. Entire area has been studied by a group of Italian cave-divers under the group name "La Venta".

Ariocarpus Furfuraceus PalomaAriocarpus Furfuraceus PalomaThe journey continues moving us in Ramos Arizpe, with a bus transfer to the mine of La Paloma to be able to find the Thelocactus palomensis (flower magenta), other variety described by a few years. After 2 attempts in previous trips fruitless, this time we found them! In the middle of flowering Ariocarpus furfuraceus one can not see: they have 20 or more inches in diameter! Everything was in finding the right hill and after having made at least 20 ... He completed the day a swarm of monarch butterflies.

The outskirts of Ramos Arizpe us to find a nasty surprise: they are building a new highway to Monterrey (but what good is that if it already exists is not used much!!) And various sites where we knew there were some interesting plants or completely ruined, that bitterness.

The weather is not nice, an annoying drizzle prevent us from using digital cameras and blowing a wind chills.

In this area you can find: Mammillaria pottsii, Mam. plumosa, Mam. lenta, Mam. chionocephala, Epithelantha micromeris, Ep. Bokey, Ep. pachyriza elongata, Neolloydia conoidea, Gymnocactus beguinii, Ariocarpus furfuraceus , Astrophytum capricorne, Thelocactus bicolor, Thelo. rinconensis, Ibervillea, Echinocereus stramineus, Echin. pectinato, Ancistrocactus megarizhus, Lophophora williamsii, Echinomastus mariposensis.

We spend a few days in this area, reaching up to Icamole (Nuevo Leon), where it begins and where the areal dell'Epithelantha unguispina,lso out of the Canon Huasteca, you can find Agave victoriae reginae. This is the northernmost point of the trip: we return to Mexico D.F.

Ariocarpus Kotschoubeyanus ssp. Macdowellii - dottor ArroyoAriocarpus Kotschoubeyanus ssp. Macdowellii - dottor Arroyo

We could not fail to bring Sergio to Aramberry (Nuevo Leon) and surrounding areas for the amount of species "rare" who live there: Ariocarpus confusus, Geohintonia mexicana, Aztekium hintoni, Rapicactus zaragozae, Echeveria unguicolata, Echev. zaragozae, Echinocactus platyacanthus, Encephalocarpus strabiliformis, Ferocactus pilosus, Neolloydia conoidea, Thelocacatus conothelos, Thelo. conothelos var. auriantiacus, Thelo. buekii, Thelo. matudae, Thelo. argenteus, Mammillaria albicoma, Mam. candida, Mam. formosa, Turbinicarpus gracilis, Ibervillea, Opuntia tunicata.

Logically, to see the Geohintonia, there is an established practice by the locals: just go down the road that descends into the valley where he lives, coming right up to see what you're doing. Accompany you, control your behavior and ask for a fee for the ride in their territory (we paid 100 pesos each). The 2 populations, both Geohintonia that Aztekium, enjoy good health, thanks to the ease of retrieval on the market: it puo'dire which, if not a new road will be built here too, the plants can rest assured.

Going down to stop Matheuala (San Luis Potosi) with the classic ride up to Real de Catorce.

Plants in the area: Ariocarpus hintoni, Ario. furfuraceus, Turbinicarpus klinkerianus, Turb. frailensis, Turb. Polaski, Echeveria catorce, Echev. lutea, Echev. sp., Glandulicactus uncinatus, Mammillaria crinita var. aurihamata, Mam. candida and Lophophora williamsii.

Marginatocereus marginatus - Tula (Tamaulipas)Marginatocereus marginatus - Tula (Tamaulipas)Continuing we get in Tamaulipas, destination Tula valley and its surroundings. From Las Tablas south to La Reforma in the north you can find: Ancistrocactus megarhizius, Obregonia denegrii, Astrophytum myriostigma, Echinocactus texensis, Echin. horizonthalonius, Echinocereus tulensis, Echin. pentalophus, Echin. pectinato, Ferocactus echidne, Mammillaria picta, Mam. viereckii, Mam. baumii, Mam. candida, Mam. surculosa, Mam. microthele, Ariocarpus trigonus Ario. kotschoubeyanus, Ario. kotschoubeyanus albiflorus, Ario. agavoides, Leuchtenbergia principis, Echeveria, Lophpohora koeresii, Turbinicarpus lophoporoides, Turb. andersonii, Coryphantha maiz-tablasensis, Ibervillea tenuisecta, Thelocactus tulensis, Neolloydia conoidea, Neolloydia inexpectata, Ferocactus hamatacanthus, Fero. victoriensis.

Only a few states: San Luis Potosi is another one of those must-see places to see the plants, the only sore point is that the territory to Cerritos has changed a lot after 8 years. The vegetation is lush, have grown a lot of medium-high shrubs that make it difficult to walk, and the observation of plants: nothing is as we remembered, half a disappointment. Fortunately, the area of the Sierra de Alvarez, with the Valle de los Fantasmas, surprises.

In Queretaro we go to Cadereyta, where we have a friend, Lucas, who runs a good restaurant, and there is a good hotel. The area offers a wide variety of plants including the Echinocactus grusonii is the best known. We take a boat to Tzibanza, a village on the banks of the "Presa Zimapan", and we do bring to the wall where they live. Nearby Peak Bernal go to see the Turbinicarpus pseudomacrochele, convinced that they do not find almost nothing (10 years ago we were hardly able to see a dozen plants); great was the surprise of finding, reached the top of the hill where they live, a great amount of both adults and young people: this means that the reproduction and commercialization prevented the collection made in habitat. Plants in this area are: Astrophytum ornatum, Calibanus hookeri, Coryphantha erecta, Echeveria subrigida, Echinocactus grusonii, Echin. platyacanthus, Echin. glaucescens, Mammillaria elongata, Mam. parkinsonii, Mam. compressa, Mam. obconella, Pachyphitum, Plumeria, Strombocactus disciformis, Stromb. corregidorae, Thelocacatus leuchacanthus, Thelo. hastifer.

The last days we spend in Hidalgo. From Mineral de Monte arrives in Barranca Metzitlan with all of his considerable variety: from the Fouquieria fasciculata, Mammillaria humboldtii, Astrophytum ornatum, Bombax ellipticum, Cephalocereus senilis, Echinocactus glaucescens, Echinocactus platyacanthus, Echeveria bifida, Echinofossulocactus sp., Gymnocactus horripilus, Mammilaria Geminispina , Mam. schiedeana, Pachyphitum.

Road runs along the valley in a very beautiful landscape, you have to make detours on dirt roads to find varieties.
Archaeological site El TaijnArchaeological site El Taijn

On the penultimate day we dedicate again to archeology. The road to get to the site puts a strain on the driver, are curved and curved for many miles, the road is not very wide, passing through many villages and you have to arm yourself with patience, but to see the site of El Taijn amply repays the efforts , despite being a bit out of reach. Here we are in Veracruz. The main structures are the pyramid of the niches and the game of pelota, decorated with beautiful sculptures. Taijn city means thunder and, also for this reason, it is not known exactly who built it.

We are almost come to the end: on the way back to Mexico City can not miss a step in Tula de Allende, the ancient capital of the Toltecs (later used by the Maya and finally sacked by the Aztecs), to see the Atlanteans. Towards evening arrived at the hotel, after having returned the car, we take leave of this chaotic metropolis: the plane the next day will bring us back home.

We do not know what Sergio has enjoyed most. Usually the first trip is a kind of intoxication, was so taken by the excitement that you have to go home to see if you really liked it, despite all the hardships that you may encounter there. Nevertheless see the landscapes, the colors, the plants do not have equal for those who love nature.