Conifer-Hunting in Mexico
Its evening of the day after, February 15, I think. Yesterday, after spending the night in Ciudad Guzman, we got up real early in the morning and headed up Nevado de Colima. By the time the sun rose, we were actually climbing up the mountain and we had a great time. The road went up the mountain to a pass at about 3,600 m and from there we did some hiking around. That was all Pinus hartwegii and maybe some Pinus rudis, and there was a particularly large multi-trunked Abies religiosa near the entrance station at 3,164 m. I think I got some notes that talk about possible differences between the two pines, which Perry regards as distinct species but Farjon and Styles place into synonymy. We parked at the pass and hiked up to a microwave tower station at 3,800 m, just a few hundred meters below the summit of the volcano. We were kind of pressed for time so I didn't continue on to the summit, which looks like it would be a fairly interesting 3rd class hike, supposedly about 90 minutes from the microwave station. There was a juniper up there as well, Juniperus monticola. It was a gorgeous day. After our walk, we started a long and leisurely drive down the mountain. We stopped and looked at various trees along the way. There was a good bit of Abies religiosa, Pinus montezumae and Pinus pseudostrobus, both below and scarcely overlapping with Pinus hartwegii, and still farther down near the lower forest border there was a good bit of P. maximinoi. Scattered throughout (below the Pinus hartwegii) was Pinus leiophylla, and from the bottom of the dirt road we went west a few kilometers and added P. devoniana to the list. The Abies religiosa occurred from the lower Pinus montezumae zone up to the middle Pinus hartwegii zone, and we also saw a really big madrone (Arbutus spp.) in the Pinus montezumae zone. There were some good oaks in there too. It was gorgeous, and a very interesting area that deserves a lot more exploration than we gave it because Nevado de Colima has strong elevation, temperature and precipitation gradients due to its relative closeness to the Pacific coast and its low base elevation. From the microwave towers, we also got some nice views of Volcan Fuego, Colima's sister peak, about 400 m shorter but an active volcano.
We made it back to Ciudad Guzman in the early evening. It being Valentine's day I wanted to take Bonnie to a nice place, but in ended up that we had kind of a strange dinner in a little restaurant off the plaza, a restaurant that didn't actually serve Mexican food but instead served Mexcicanized versions of popular American dishes. The décor indicated it was trying to be a ritzy place, as did the prices, which were out of the reach of most Mexicans. However, they didn't have a very good chef or bartender and the service wasn't particularly good, so it added up to an undistinguished dinner. After that we wandered around the plaza some and had some more fruit juice. There's an old guy with a fruit juice stand there who makes the finest fruit juice I've ever had. It's a delight to watch him work. He's like an old Japanese craftsman who has done his work a million times and has achieved perfect economy of movement. He made us some fruit juices for the next morning, except that we then went back to our rooms at the Tlayolan Hotel and Bob and I polished off the pineapple juice with a little tequila. Then we hit the hay.
go back to "Conifer Hunting in Mexico"
Last Modified 2011-05-22