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Climbing the slope of the canyon of Chavarillo

Thursday, November 2, 2006 | 0 comments

Read the previous part of this blog entry in The descent into the canyon of Chavarillo.

Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.
Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.

Esme and I climbed the slope of the canyon, which to us appeared more like a hill, covered with coffee plants. To the right we could see the huge drop the canyon made, and the tree covered canyon floor and slopes, a magnificent view.

Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.
Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.

Up the slope, the weather was more hot. There was less shadow, and no flowing water close by to cool the air a little. After a bit of walking on the steep sloop, we reached a more flat spot. The surroundings looked like a good habitat for Centruroides gracilis, a scorpion species that we see quite often on our walks.

Juvenile Centruroides gracilis hiding.
Juvenile Centruroides gracilis hiding.

And indeed, under a huge piece of wood I found our first scorpion of that day, an adult male Centruroides gracilis. And in a nearby stack of wood, I found a tiny juvenile Centruroides gracilis. When I made the above photo it had just ran inside a crack into the wood to avoid the bright sunlight.

Spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) on a piece of wood.
Spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) on a piece of wood.

We walked a bit more, and then I noticed a spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) resting on a piece of wood. I carefully got closer and made the above photo. We see this species a lot on our walks, I guess it might be one of the most common lizard in this part of Veracruz.

A big grasshopper on a grass stem.
A big grasshopper on a grass stem.

Esme called me, and pointed at a grass stem on which a big grasshopper was resting. Around this time of the year we see those big grasshoppers quite often. They are quite clumsy, can't jump far, and are easy to pick up. They can sit on ones hand for quite some time without moving, and hence are good objects for taking close-up photos.

A big grasshopper on a grass stem.
A big grasshopper on a grass stem.

We walked parallel to the canyon, into the general direction we had came from. I was hoping it was possible to go down the slope, and arrive at the river at the bottom of the canyon and somehow find a place we could cross in order to return to Chavarillo.

Juvenile spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.).
Juvenile spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.).

After some time we found a suitable spot. It was quite easy to get down. Close to the bottom there was a lot of plants and trees, so it was a bit harder to get through. We could see the river, but there was no good spot to cross. I decided to walk a bit ahead, but this was not easy. I had a good look at the river, and it was clear, it was close to impossible to cross it from this point unless we were willing to wade through the river.

A beautiful big green plant.
A beautiful big green plant.

So we decided to walk back the way we had come, and climbed back up the slope of the canyon, and started on our way back, but decided to take a different route. One reason was that I had seen some stones and pieces of wood into that direction, and I wanted to look under some.

A juvenile tarantula.
A juvenile tarantula.

When I turned over a piece of wood, part of a huge stack of wood and branches, I suddenly noticed a snake to the left of me. I had only time to have a quick glance, and then it was gone from view, under the many pieces of wood in front of me. All I noticed about how it looked was that it had yellow lengthwise stripes.

Since Esme was on the other side of the wood stack, she hadn't seen the snake at all. I looked a bit around, but the snake stayed well hidden, and it would take hours to remove all that wood.

Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.
Looking down into the canyon near Chavarillo.

After some time we arrived back at the canyon slope we had originally climbed. I took a photo from the edge, and when I reviewed it, I noticed that the pool at the bottom of the waterfall was partially visible in it (in the center of the above photo). From where we were standing we had a good view at the opposite fern and other plants covered canyon wall.

Esme picking coffee berries.
Esme picking coffee berries.

On our way down, walking between the many coffee plants, we picked some of the berries. They are nice to suck at once the skin has been removed, and a little refreshing.

Close-up of a coffee plant with many red coffee berries (drupes).
Close-up of a coffee plant with many red coffee berries (drupes).

On the way down I noticed a spiny lizard basking on a stone. When I came closer, it ran to the other side of the stone. So I carefully moved closer, and then leaned over the stone to take a photo. Those lizards are easily scared, and most of the time we notice them just because of the noise they make when they run away between dry leaves and twigs, and the sudden movement they make. Often when we stand still for a little, the lizard or lizards reappear and look around if the danger has gone, often bobbing their heads.

Spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) on a stone.
Spiny lizard (Sceloporus sp.) on a stone.

Read the final part of this blog entry in The walk back to Chavarillo.

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