Approaching the volcano's caldera
tequila, the Mexican national drink, is produced. The drink got its name from the small town of Tequila which sits on a plateau nestled against the northern flank of the mountain. Only the liquor produced in this area can legally be sold as "tequila." From the outskirts of the town of Tequila, the cobble stone road winds up the mountainside through innumerable turns and switchbacks. It took us nearly an hour to reach the gate where we left the cars. From there, the cobble stone road continues to the cell towers perched on the caldera's rim.
Wildflowers and Plants of Central Mexico for this identification and his help in identifying the other plants in this posting. Ron always comes through for me, and usually on short notice.
Rio Grande de Santiago runs. The Santiago, one of Mexico's longest rivers, begins on the northern shore of Lake Chapala, cuts around to the north of Guadalajara, and then runs to the west through rugged mountains before finally emptying into the Pacific near San Blas. It's total length is 433 km (269 mi). The area you see above was a pre-hispanic transition zone between the settled and civilized cultures of Central and Southern Mesoamerica, and the wild, nomadic, and definitely uncivilized Chichimec tribes who inhabited the mountains and deserts to the north. Chichimec attacks plagued those early civilizations, just as they plagued the Spanish from the earliest colonial days until well into the 18th Century.
white pine (Pinus flexilis) is found widely in the U.S. and in the western Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico.
circular pyramids called Los Guachimontones, which were built in a late stage of the Tradition. In addition to its unusual cone-shaped pyramids, the Tradition is marked by the use of Shaft Tombs. These unique tombs are found extensively in this area, as well as in a large arc which includes Colima, southwestern Jalisco, and Nayarit. The Shaft Tombs were dug vertically into the ground as deep as 20 m (60 ft) using only wooden or bone tools. At the bottom, one or more bulb-shaped chambers were cut, extending off from the shaft. Bodies were arranged in the chambers like the spokes of a wheel, with the feet at the center. What we know about the Teuchitlán Tradition and its Shaft Tomb People comes largely from the artifacts left in their tombs as offerings. These include many fine sculptures, including women preparing meals, parents cuddling with a child or pet dog, and people playing musical instruments or dancing in a group. The sculptures provide a deeply touching window into a vanished past.
Guadalajara, 66.7 km (41 mi) to the east. Such smog can be a problem during the dry season (November - June). Guadalajara is Mexico's second biggest city, with 7 million people. However, smog prevention policies such as mandatory emissions inspections have been implemented and, with increased enforcement, the smog may eventually be brought under control.
Carlos Slim, a Lebanese-Mexican who, with a reported net worth of $72 billion (yes, that's with a "b"!), is one of the world's richest men. Visible in the photo are Jim B (left) and Gary (right). The dog in the foreground is Matty, belonging to Chuck, another hiker. Matty is an enthusiastic hiker, loved by all for her sweet disposition.
Inside the caldera
lava plug which formed in the mouth of an eruption. The soil surrounding the cooled lava wore away over time, leaving this giant monument as a reminder of the volcano's power.
Nevado de Colima. At 4282 m (14,050 ft) it is Jalisco's highest peak. Keep in mind that none of the people you see above is under 60 years old, and some of them are well on the far side of that.
Cirsium thistle is part of a genus with 60 species. It is also called a Plume thistle, for obvious reasons.
This completes Part 1 of my two-part series on our climb of Volcan Tequila. I hope you have enjoyed joining us on our adventure. I always appreciate feedback and questions. If you have any, please leave them in the Comments section below, or email me directly. If no one else has preceded you, it may say "no comments." Just click on that and it will open the Comments window.
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Hasta luego, Jim