Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pictures of the Moment - 2012 Mexico Field Work

Mexico is so much more than just beaches. My travels to the interior, particularly in remote or rural areas, exposed me to fantastical landscapes and a cultural experience as rich as anything I've had in more traditional tourist areas, anywhere.

Valle del los Cirios, Baja, one of Mexico's largest protected areas. The boojum tree or cirio (Spanish) is essentially endemic to the Baja California Peninsula. It is related to the ocotillo. The moniker "boojum" is from Lewis Carroll's poem The Hunting of the Snark. The English translation of cirios is "candles."
The northern Baja desert flora includes cirios, mesquite, cardon cactus, cholla, agave and bichnaga (and ocotillo, a relative of the cirios on the right). The cholla were near lethal if you kicked one; the thistles go right through leather.
Cardon cactus, the tallest cactus species in the world  (up to 19 m, with a  trunk up to 1 m in diameter). I was quickly corrected that they are not saguaro! It differs in the location of blossoms, fewer ribs on the stems, heavier branching from the base of the stem, and in the location of the blossoms.
Baja California Norte traffic jam.
"El Gato" mining claim post near San Fernando, Baja California Norte.
Near La Huacana, Michoacan, Mexico (Inguaran valley). This fellow was guiding us around some old mine workings. He went back and forth from his home to the Inguaran minesite on the donkey. Strangely, he's carrying the drive-shaft to a car on his lap. I loved how he was wearing all his mining personal protective equipment during the commute. All he needs are the safety glasses.
Near La Huacana, Michoacan, Mexico (Inguaran valley). I loved this home-made saddle hand carved from wood and using rice bags to hold the stirrups. The folks here do not waste anything useful.
This small python (maybe 4 feet) was under the shade of a large boulder at the prospect. The small squirrel or chipmunk in its coils has seen its last sunshine.