Conifer-Hunting in Mexico
We rose reasonably early after a very sound night's sleep to the cacophony of tropical birds, mainly boat-tailed grackles, which seemed to be the local equivalent of crows. We soon found that we were locked into our hotel, but before long the innkeeper appeared and woke up two other guests who were parked behind us, and they moved their cars, and by about 0800 we were on our way. We took it easy, stopping often on our way through the rainforest to wonder at the plants (most of the wonders being found in a dazzling variety of ferns) and the scenery. The only conifers were Pinus chiapensis, which appeared at about 1650 m and persisted in wet forest to maybe 2800 m; Pinus ayacahuite var. ayacahuite, which appeared at maybe 2500 m on the wet side and continued well onto the dry side; and Pinus patula, which appeared first as a planted tree and at some point as a native, and also persisted well over onto the dry side. As the day wore on we made many stops to look at trees, and especially to try to sort out the pines, but we still made it back to Oaxaca town by about 1600, where we checked into the delightful Hotel Casa Arnel. Like our previous Oaxaca hotel, the Posada del Centro, it was a quiet place with a central garden courtyard and a rooftop terrace, but it was ever so much nicer, with a dense profusion of garden foliage, a stable of parrots, a library, and a cool terrace with a lovely view of an old church. Unfortunately I was too sick to appreciate it. I came down with an upset stomach during the day, partly brought on by the relentlessly twisty Highway 175, and I was also incredibly weary. After a short and little-appreciated dinner, I spent the evening on my back in a dark hotel room. The good thing is, it led to a full recovery.
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Last Modified 2011-05-22