Yesterday we used Google Earth and a map of Puebla to make a decision of where to go. We wrote down 3 place names and wanted to decide in Perote, since some places are hard to get if there is no bus going. When we arrived in Perote, San Luis Atexcac was the easiest to get to, we could just take the bus down to the city of Puebla. On the way we passed Laguna Alchichica which we have visited twice so far.
When we got out of the bus, Esme said she wanted to climb the big hill just behind the town of San Luis Atexcac. So we followed a dirt road to the town, and next the main road in the town to its very end. Then we got off the road to the right and started to climb...
The climb was quite steep, and in very short time my ankles started to hurt because of the steep and unstable ground. Good shoes are certainly recommended if you want to try this, and if you fall, don't try to grab at the plants. On our way up we saw many lizards running away from us, looking for a place to hide, now and then scaring us with their sudden movements. We also saw many rabbit droppings, but didn't see any rabbits.
We needed to rest 3 times, and at times I took pictures. Esme asked if the growth we saw in the few pine trees on the hill was Spanish moss. I doubted her, but when I got a close look it turned out that she was right, meaning that there has to be quite some moisture in the air. Later it became clear what provided the moisture.
Esme pointed to the left (facing the hill), and asked if that was some kind of huge hole in the ground. It looked like a volcanic crater, and suddenly I remembered that I had seen a small lake on a map of this part of Puebla. Could it be a crater with a lake, one of the axalapascos, like the one near Alchichica?
After a long struggle we finally managed to reach the top and had a magnificent view. We could see the Derrumbadas (the collapsed ones), twin rhyolitic domes, which really dwarfed our recent heavy climb.
The environment on the top of the hill was quite different from what I expected. There where several pine trees, and it looked more like a forest floor. We had a short break, and after that I looked for scorpions but found none. Then we walked in the direction of the crater...
Then we saw the lake, beautiful! So indeed we found one of the axalapascos. The many shades of color of the water were astonishing, especially close to the left shore. I took several more picures.
We decided to follow the ridge that after some time became part of the crater rim. We kept looking at the beautiful lake, and wondered how to get down. Today we wouldn't be able to get there, but we were already making plans for a next visit. Esme spotted what looked like some kind of road leading down.
After some time we reached a small elevation with crosses on it, probably used for religious celebrations. From there it looked like an easy way down to a road, and back to the village. On the way down I kept looking for scorpions, but again found none.
We followed a very dry and dusty road back to the village and reached a road that led to the main road. When we walked on that road I saw suddenly something big running away. Esme spotted the culprit, a big lizard, hiding between the bare roots of a huge tree. Sadly I couldn't take a picture, but the lizard looked some kind of spiny lizard.
However, later I managed to take a picture of a much smaller similar kind of spiny lizard. And under a nearby stone I found a black widow.
It got slowly more dark, and the sun hid a few times behind some clouds, showing only a few rays of light, which was wonderful to watch.
In the picture below: the highest hill in the center is the one we climbed. In the back you can see one of the Derrumbadas. We walked the ridge that goes to the left. The nearly horizontal part is the crater rim. In the foreground: the town of San Luis Atexcac.