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The walk on the crater rim

Saturday, July 16, 2005 | 0 comments

Read the previous part of this blog entry in Laguna de Alchichica.

At the rim of the volcanic crater Esme and I had a little break. While Esme rested a bit more I looked under a few stones. The first stone I lifted, nothing. But wait... I had overlooked a very small scorpion, almost transparent in appearance. I carefully caught it using a large plastic cup.

A small scorpion was hiding under this stone (microhabitat).
A small scorpion was hiding under this stone (microhabitat).

The scorpion was near the top of the small stick in the above picture. I also took a picture of the volcanic lake looking down from the rim of the crater. To the right is the main road (not visible in the photo below).

Picture of the lake, taken from the crater rim
Picture of the lake, taken from the crater rim

In the above picture you can see a small part of the orange bag which is more clearly visible in the photo below and hence gives an impression of how close to the edge of the crater I was looking for scorpions.

Another picture of the scorpion microhabitat.
Another picture of the scorpion microhabitat.

I found another flat stone, and when I lifted it, again I saw nothing at first. But then Esme spotted another scorpion. This one was slightly bigger, but still very small (about 7 or 8 mm). I guessed it to be a female, and the first one I found a male.

Purple flowers on the crater rim.
Purple flowers on the crater rim.

We decided to follow the crater rim which went more up. We saw many nice cactuses, and now and then some flowers. The land looked quite dry, but the climate was still not really warm. There was some wind, so we walked more on the outside crater slope instead of the actual rim. I looked now and then under rocks for more scorpions and Esme too, but we found none. Now and then we had to kick off cactuses from our shoes. Those plants somehow preferred to take a ride with us, and were quite hard to remove due to their barbed spines.

I found some sun bleached bones of a dead animal, probably a rabbit, and decided to take some with me as decoration for the scorpion terrariums I was going to make.

Building with rocks.
Building with rocks.

Close to the edge of the volcanic crater Esme discovered some small structures made out of pieces of rock someone had broken off. I took a picture of the constructions, with the volcanic lake in the background.

A family of cactuses.
A family of cactuses.

I took several pictures of cactuses. After some time we decided to walk back. I originally wanted to walk to a section of the crater wall that had red parts on it. But it was already past four o'clock, and it would probably take over one hour to even get close to it, then about one hour to get down, and then we had to walk back to the bus stop. So Esme and I decided to walk back to the town of Laguna de Alchichica.

Close up of a cactus.
Close up of a cactus.

Another reason for me to walk back the way we had come was that I wanted to see if I was able to find another scorpion where I had found the two we already got. So when we arrived back at the place, which I recognized because it looked a bit like a dry river bedding, we both started to look for more scorpions. It was a lot of luck that we just reached the crater rim there in the first place and found the first two scorpions.

Another picture of the scorpion habitat.
Another picture of the scorpion habitat.

When I lifted quite a small stone, not expecting to find anything, I found our third scorpion. This one was about the same size as the first one I had found. I took a photo of the stone the scorpion had been hiding under. For reference, the plastic cup in the above microhabitat photo, has a top diameter of 12 cm. With three scorpions, we decided to call it a day, and followed the crater rim towards the small town of Laguna de Alchichica.

The ground underneath the stone the scorpion was hiding under.
The ground underneath the stone the scorpion was hiding under.

We were very lucky, because when Esme and I reached the main road, a bus just turned and we could take it to Perote. In Perote we took the bus back to Xalapa.

Xalapa, taken from the bus.
Xalapa, taken from the bus.

I took a few photos from the bus to Xalapa. In the above photo you can clearly see the dead volcano, Macuiltépetl, which is located in the middle of the city of Xalapa.

In the evening I discovered that I should have used some sun block, because my face was quite sensitive to the touch. So if you plan to visit the crater lake of Alchichica I recommend to take with you good strong walking shoes, extra warm clothes, and sun block.

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