November 10, 2013
Although the weather is somehow unusual, since meteorological phenomenons coming from the Pacific and/or the Gulf of México continue hitting our region causing rather low temperatures (around 10 Celcius) and daily bright sun in the mornings but dark-cloudy afternoons with intensive rain with hail sometimes, Monarchs are now reaching their final destination to their overwintering sites in the Sanctuaries of El Rosario and Sierra Chincua in Central México in spite of the weather conditions.
The Sanctuaries are not oficially opened to the public yet. The official opening at Sierra Chincua will be November 22nd. El Rosario is already allowing tourists to come in as you will appreciate in the photos.
On the way to El Rosario, we saw rather few and scattered Monarchs heading uphill to the Sancturary. However, to our surprise, once we reached the site where they were concentrating we found a considerable number of them. They were clustering at the top of about 10 trees. (Monarchs are rather scattered in the forest right now. We seemed to reach the main concentration point today, which is located between Llano Cruzado and Los Letreros, according to our guide Salvador, a native of the area.)
It is an unusual start of the season regarding the levels of moisture this year since it has rained so much this season since the end of May. Today, while walking along the path to reach the site, Javier and José Alberto found different kinds of mushrooms. They know really well which mushrooms are for human consumption and which are not. I was surprised at their knowledge about distinguishing different kinds of herbs, teas, and mushrooms, besides their ability to walk in the forest.
The Sanctuaries are "regaining life" one more season this year. Natives—adults and children—come and go as they enthusiastically prepare themselves to welcome visitors. The entrance fee this year will be 45 pesos for adults and 35 pesos per child. The parking fee will range from 25 to 50 pesos for big buses. Tickets are not yet ready for official receipt against payment.
Small restaurants are starting to open. Children play a traditional marbles game at the parking lot while waiting for a client to take care of his car or even clean it. This is how they make so some money during the day as a temporary job for the season while their parents simultaneously make a living for the family.
The big news for visitors this season: The segment of road leading to the entrance of the Sanctuary arriving from Angangueo-La Salud Community side has now been paved. Visitors will be able to reach the sanctuary in their own cars enjoying excellent road condition plus the impressive, wonderful view of the town and valley at almost 3,000 meters high!
Welcome Monarchs to their Overwintering Home in México this one more season!
Erika, Rosa Isela, Javier, José Alberto and Estela Romero Official Monitorers and Local Reporter