January 20 – 24, 2019.
Remember Minerva? In addition to helping establish the Joshua Tree and Anzo-Borrego reserves in the US, she worked with Mexican president Rubio in 1931 to establish a 10K acre preserve near Tehuacán. Now the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere has expanded to a 1,800 square mile UNESCO World Heritage site (one of Mexico’s 35).
This warm semi-dry, semi-tropical region, bounded by mountain ranges, is considered the birthplace of Meso-American agriculture. Over 35K people live here now, mostly in small agrarian communities. But the attractions for us were the cacti and fossils.
The first place we camped in the biosfera was in San Juan Raya. This desert community of 2K rests on a thick layer of marl. Erosion in nearby arroyos has exposed many fossils. Fossils can be seen at the local museum, and by talking guided walking tours.
I don’t think our first candidate for guide had ever seen such a heavy white-haired gringo before. He was scared he’d have to carry me back out of the desert. So he pawned us off on Profino.
Profino had spent three years doing construction work in Manhattan. He was unafraid. He could speak English. He was great.
Now one of the things we enjoy about Mexico is the general sense of freedom. People, especially drivers, do whatever they want. In months I’ve only seen one traffic stop. I hate to even imagine what heinous acts those three kids in that red car committed to get pulled over.
But, when it comes to natural resources, Mexico can be very protective. Here in the Biosphere, you must be accompanied by a guide for everything — even a trip through the museum.
Our second stop was Botánico Helia Bravo Hollis. We explored around the campground here. But didn’t hire a guide for any trails.
From Helia Bravo, we veered northeast through the mountain town of Tehuacán. We didn’t try to locate the newly found temple of the flayed god. But we did splurge, and drive through the Biosphere toward Oaxaca on the toll route. It was one of the nicest rides we’ve had in Mexico.
* Click on pics to enlarge and view in a slideshow.