Monarch Butterflies

Every year, millions of monarch butterflies undertake a great journey of up to 4,000 miles in their annual migration from Canada and the United States to their wintering grounds in Mexico.  Once in Mexico the monarch congregate in the Oyamel fir trees of Michoacán.
The Monarch butterfly biosphere reserve covers over 200 square miles. Within the biosphere reserve, a few areas are open to the public.
Our trip to the butterflies began at 6:00 a.m. with a 4 ½-hour ride to the little town of Campo. Our guides for the trip were Jorge Guzmán Orozco and his lovely wife Hilda.  Jorge is a very knowledgeable guide and entertained us during the trip with his knowledge of the areas we were travelling through and with stories of some of the Mexican traditions.



We arrived around 11:00 a.m. and walked up to the starting point of the reserve.  Along the way were several wooden ‘huts’ for vendors who were selling food and tourist trinkets.
We paid our entry fee to the reserve, which was approximately $3.50 cdn.   Because I have ‘exercise induced asthma’, I elected to ride a horse to the top where the monarchs were gathered. Thankfully, due to the warmer weather, they were not very far up the mountain.  The horseback ride was very interesting to say the least.  It was not a smooth road.  There were ruts, rocks, steep hills in both directions.  Nevertheless, it was better than walking.  The cost one way was approximately $6.00 cdn.
We had seen pictures of these monarchs clumping on the trees before but nothing prepared us for the wonder and beauty of it all. There were so many butterflies on the branches that they would bend. The dark clumps that you see in the pictures are hundreds of butterflies gathered on each branch.  We were fortunate to arrive when the sun was shining and saw thousands of butterflies all around us as we walked, or rode up the hill.
Once up the hill, the clouds appeared and the butterflies went back to the branches. We waited for the sun to come out again and watched them come off the branches.  There were so many that you could hear the beating of their collective wings.   It was a rewarding experience and well worth the long trip to the reserve.
After making our way down the mountain, we had a very nice lunch prepared by Hilda. She brought sandwiches, fruit and drinks.  All included in the cost of the trip.



the dark ‘spots’ are clumps of butterflies
the reddish colour are the butterflies


We arrived back home around 8:00 p.m., tired but immensely happy with our experience.
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