Friday 24 October 2014 – Matehuela to Galeana
Just a minor blip in this morning’s departure, our tyre pressures were down on the rear left hand tyre, according to the on-board diagnostics, so off to a garage to check them out. Conclusion: tyres fine, diagnostics dodgy.
We headed east to Dr Arroyo, much quieter now than when we tried to get rooms here a few days ago – it seemed there was a Policia Federales convention in town and all rooms were taken.
We missed the turning to La Solidad, La Trinidad and Sandia – no wonder, apparently they were sign-posted to Monterrey! So while Ian realised what was going on and turned around to try some brief stops along that road, we blundered on towards La Ascencion – Ariocarpus Hill, where in March the idea had come to my mind to see this Ariocarpus covered hill in October, during the flowering season.
But first an ad-hoc stop along NL 61 with some large Ferocactus pilosus and some clumps of a Thelocactus multicephalus to entertain my camera shutter finger at S3173.
On to S3174, just north of La Ascencion. Although the Ariocarpus retusus were as densely packed on to the hillside as I has expected, the mass flowering I had expected to see did not come off. About 25% of the plants had already flowered,, some were in bud, some 25% were in full flower, but the hilly terrain and the plants’ tendencies to grow very flat to the ground, among grasses and annuals did not produce the anticipated mass flowering shots. Still plenty of individual plants in flower shots, plus a couple of crested plants (without flowers)
Alain, Bart and I had taken all the images we needed, and more, progressing on to the higher ‘Hill #3’ for the first time – same plants as hills #1 an 2.and it was still early, so we decided to head on to the Geohintonia mexicana site (this time S3175). Again did not know the tract that we were on that leads to the location, trying to send us down a a non existent track. I stuck to my guns and we arrived safely at the spot. The cacti that had previously caused us a head ache to ID looked very pumped up this time, but no easier to give them a reliable name. Are they Coryphantha sp? Neolloydia sp? or a Thelocactus?
The narrow canyon where in March we had seen the best Geohintonia was now flooded so rather than getting our feet wet, I risked broken limbs by climbing a low gypsum rock face to take pictures of the Geohintonia there: