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Hiking near Acultzingo (North)

Saturday, April 26, 2008 | 0 comments

After a nice breakfast in the nearby "La Braza", we went back to the hotel "Mediterráneo" to pick up the stuff for our planned hike near Acultzingo. Esme asked in the hotel for directions to Acultzingo. A friendly older man, probably the owner, explained to her that we should go down 6 blocks and take a bus belonging to the Chyc bus company.

A church in Orizaba near the bus stop for buses departing to Acultzingo and Maltrata.
A church in Orizaba near the bus stop for buses departing to Acultzingo and Maltrata.

So we left the hotel and crossed the street to take a bus 6 blocks down. Esme stopped a bus, and asked the driver if he did stop near the bus stop for buses departing to Acultzingo. The bus driver confirmed this. But after a few blocks, the driver turned to the left. After a short while Esme asked again the driver if he would stop near the bus stop, and he confirmed this. And a few minutes later he halted the bus and gave us directions.

The town of Acultzingo, Veracruz, Mexico.
The town of Acultzingo, Veracruz, Mexico.

But when we arrived at the place where the bus stop should be: nothing. So we asked again, and again we got directions, but didn't find a bus stop. So we asked again... This reminded me a lot of the time we went to Orizaba, when my mother was visiting us, and we were asking directions for a bus stop as well, to take a bus to La Perla.

Anyway, the third time we got the right directions, and we found the bus stop to the left of a very beautiful church with palm trees in the front (the stop is "behind" the church in the first photo). After about 20 minutes of waiting the bus departing to Acultzingo arrived, and we were on our way.

After about an hour we arrived in Acultzingo. The landscape before the town looked very promising for finding scorpions: quite dry, with rocks and cactuses. But I wanted to check the valley to the south of Acultzingo, since based on what I had read (Armas & Martín-Frías, 2003), that was where the Centruroides orizaba could be found; under stones close to maize fields. Since I had no clear idea when to get off the bus, after it had made a few stops in the town, we got off.

A traditional Mexican wedding walk and a Quinceañera walk passing each other in Acultzingo.
A traditional Mexican wedding walk and a Quinceañera walk passing each other in Acultzingo.

We went to a local shop to buy some water and grain bars, when we suddenly heard music. I went out of the shop to take some photos of a Mexican wedding walk to the church. While I took the photos, I also noticed that from the opposite direction another walk was in progress, this one a Quinceañera - the celebration of a girls 15th birthday.

A traditional Mexican wedding walk in Acultzingo.
A traditional Mexican wedding walk in Acultzingo.

It was really nice to see the wedding walk; the female singer was singing a well-known Mexican song: "Me gustas mucho". Esme, carrying Alice, came also out of the shop to have a look.

We continued following the main street to the west. Esme asked an old man for directions to Barrio Guadelupe Atitla, because this is where the holotype of Centruroides orizaba was collected by Ricardo Martínez, the 28th of Februari, 2002. The old man explained to Esme that we had to keep following the road. After some time, I decided that we would just take a street going roughly in northern direction, and start looking there.

A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).
A monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus).

So we followed the road to the hills, instead of going to valley roughly south of Acultzingo, where according to information I had found via Google Guadelupe Attitlo was located. I was thinking: if there are scorpions here, they are probably not restricted to one small part. So I started to look under stones if I found them, but nothing.

We did see a monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), however, and it was the first one I had ever seen in the state of Veracruz.

A large cactus growing at the edge of the local cemetery.
A large cactus growing at the edge of the local cemetery.

We passed the local cemetery (el pantéon) on our left and right. At the edge of the cemetery on our right was a huge cactus growing, so I took a photo of it. In the background you can see the hills north of Acultzingo.

After some time it was not clear to me if the road would end near a house or several houses or not. Nor didn't I see a clear track leading to the foothills, so we decided to go back, to the location we had originally planned, the valley south of Acultzingo.

The cemetery of Acultzingo. In the background Acultzingo, and the valley.
The cemetery of Acultzingo. In the background Acultzingo, and the valley.

On our way back to the main road I saw an old cactus cladophyll (a stem that resemble and function as a leaf) lying flat on the ground. On a part new growth was clearly visible, so I took a photo with the hills in the background.

New life starting from an old cactus cladophyll (Opuntia species).
New life starting from an old cactus cladophyll (Opuntia species).

Shortly after I had made several photos of the new life starting from old, the best shown above, I noticed a prickly pear cactus with several huge beautiful orange flowers. So I took my digital camera out of its protective bag, and started shooting.

Photos of a flowering prickly pear (Opuntia species). Click a thumbnail to see the entire and larger image.

Esme showed the cactus to Alice as well, and we both told her again: cactus, no. Alice is already aware that a cactus is not a plant one should touch, yet, sometimes she can't resist experimenting with the ones we have in our house. She's even already able to say "cactus".

PEMEX gas station, Acultzingo.
PEMEX gas station, Acultzingo.

After a short while we arrived back on the main road and kept following it, looking for a road going to the left that looked promising. On our way we passed a PEMEX gas station, and shortly after I noticed a road near a green house and said that we should follow it, into the valley.

Read the next part of this blog entry in Hiking near Acultzingo (South).

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