Wednesday 1 March – Tehuacan to Tuxtepec
Great day – six stops. If you search for Tuxtepec, you’ll find a few places with that or similar names. ‘Our’ one goes by the full name of San Juan Bautista de Tuxtepec in the state of Oaxaca (just) It was meant to be a reasonably short journey and we recognised places where we had been during the first part of Mexico 2017. Chris and Jonathan will remember stops such as the ‘walk through sugar cane fields’ stop and the ‘just in Oaxaca Stop’ where the lady serving at the snacks counter confirmed that we had found Ferocactus robustus in Oaxaca – just!
We only had one formal stop planned, for a plant of Fouquieria purpusii that we should pass close to, about 15 – 20 km, on our way to Tuxtepec. But first we made an ad-hoc stop (S3619) as we saw some Pachycereus weberi. There were many more Opuntia sp. Now covered in yellow flowers and some, that looked to me as the same taxon, with red flowers. There were a few trees around and in their shade were Ferocactus recurves, many more in flower now than when we visited the nearby ‘sugar cane stop’ weeks earlier (dates and stop numbers to be confirmed once I’m back home.)
S3620 was near coordinates provided by Eunice Thompson, who would have been on this, pt2, of the Mexico adventure, but who had other commitments that prevented her from joining us. We were looking for Fouquieria purpusii that probably grows at the Reserva de la Biosfera Tehuacan – Cuicatlan. Close to the coordinates given there was a large gate with a large lock and no one around. Following the wall with the gate, we turned onto a track that led to a warren or tracks and decided to make a stop (S3621) as we were seeing nice large clumps of Mammillaria. They appeared to me to be similar to each other, yet with sufficient differences to expect to see different names on labels in European nurseries. Yet all these plants were growing together in a relatively small spot – diversity within a concept of a single species? And F. recurves was also still around, including some very nice specimen, again usually growing in partly shaded locations.
We nearly got caught on a sandy climb as our little Chevvy was just not up to this off-roading. Alain found a way round the problem and soon we continued towards Eunice’s coordinates, now only 1.4 km away. SatNav showed that we were near a railway line although there were absolutely no signs of one until we found dismantled rails along the track and driving over the sleepers. We even passed through a short tunnel, not afraid to meet a train coming the other way as there were no tracks.
The nearest we got to the coordinates was some 30 meters, with a high rock face between us an the alleged plants – it seemed that they would be on that rock, but invisible to us. We took pictures of the spot, found some more F. Recurves and went back to the main road.
There we went through a village and out the other side, climbing into the hills. Twisting winding roads, at times with topez as we passed a house or school, large pot holes if there was no sign of people. S3622 was a scenic stop – it looked as though we were driving through the Swiss Alps in summer!
S3623 was to take images of trees bedecked with bromeliads. Great scenery, but a very slow road. Would we make it to Tuxtepec before dark?
S3624 were pictures taken as we got lost in the village of San Jeronimo Tecoatl – a case again of two SatNavs with different opinions of arriving at the same place along different routes.
It had just turned dark when we arrived at Hotel Tuxtepec – not the best we’ve enjoyed but more than adequate and with a restaurant that offered chicken or chicken. We had chicken.