As accommodation in Rayones seemed to be a bit hit and miss, we decided to use Galeana as our base for some exploring in the Rayones region, having first replaced our punctured tyre with a second hand one at the local Vulka.
Keen to avoid more flat tyres, our journey was at a steady pace, allowing Ian to spot Thelocactus matudea in the roadside shrubbery – well, it was in flower! How could you miss it? (S3100)
Past Rayones, we headed to a location where in 2011 we had found Ariocarpus scaphirostris. The plants again looked very dry, with just the tips of their tubercles visible above the slatey mud stone. This time, Cliff was here with his trusted paintbrush to clear up this part of the Sierra Madre, revealing some nice mature plants, before they were covered up again. There was a very strong wind blowing, reminding me of cactus hunting in Patagonia! Fortunately the heavy digging machines spotted in 2011 had focused on repairing water management structures on the other side of the road.
We passed through Rayones again on our way back to Galeana with one more search in mind, for Aztekium ritteri. The gypsum hillside which is the favoured habitat was easily found but our first attempt failed to find a slope steep enough to satisfy their other habitat needs. Farther along, Ian disappeared into a narrow canyon and emerged triumphantly. He pointed us down a narrow track and soon we were seeing first one, pointed out by Ian, than others, found by ourselves. We must be doing something right, judging by the impressive list of choice plants seen on this trip.