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This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

Letters from Mexico


ExpatsBlog.com - Where Expats Blog

June 26, 2021

Mountain Hike/Retreat

in Tepoztlán

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. The midpoint of my hike/retreat. Photo by author

On May 31, I packed my backpack and headed for a mountain trail that starts fifteen minutes uphill from my apartment in Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. My aim was to climb the mountain, almost to the top, where there is a rock overhang that forms a cave. I'd spend the night there. It was much easier without carrying a lot of gear, like a tent, tarps, and cooking gear. I decided to do a cleanse, eating only apples for two days. I'd traveled this route a couple of times before. It's a rugged steep climb for an hour and a half to get to the cave. Close by is the midpoint in the image above. From there, I took a darker canyon trail, with more of a jungle type of vegetation, to go down for another hour and a half.

In this blog, I am going to document, mostly in photos, slideshows, and a video, the beauties along the way. Rainy season started a month early here this year, making the trail less dusty and slippery, and also providing a feast for the eyes--many different colorful wildflowers. The varied rock forms and views of distant unusual shaped mountains, characteristic of this central Mexico volcanic region, add to the splendor. I'll try to give you a feeling of the nature of the trail, and what it was like sleeping in the cave.

Hiking the Trail

The hike up was more difficult. The upper part of this trail was steep, and often very challenging to find a foothold or something to grab onto to pull myself up.  The slideshow below does not have any trail photos of this most difficult part because I was too engaged in the climb to handle the camera.

I took some photos with a zoom lens of the settled areas below the cave. My night in the cave was not as good as other areas I’d camped out, sleeping in a tent. The floor was piled with dead leaves, making a nice soft surface, but the leaves exuded lots of dust. The two bats I saw who lived there were not bothersome. What was troubling was a lot of noise from the town below—firecrackers, drum playing, dogs barking all night, and some traffic sounds in the daytime. I should have known that it would be this way as the cave faces directly to the town, whereas other areas I’ve camped were more tucked away.

At a flat area on the way down, I took off my pack for a rest, and did some filming. In the video, you’ll notice an orange painted trail marker on a rock, and a shot of the steep trail near the end of the video.

Rocks and Flora

The beauty of the mountainside during the rainy season is overwhelming. It is now green and wildflowers proliferate.
One plant of special notice was poison ivy. I am constantly on the lookout for it wherever I hike as I don’t like the two weeks of itchy blisters after it contacts my skin. I was fortunate to see very little of it on these trails. Another plant was a rare one: jack-in-the-pulpit. I'm including images displaying the variety of other colorful flora.

The typical three-leaved plant that causes many to break out in a rash when contacting its oils.
This rare plant is so named because it is an upward pointing trumpet capped off with a sort of hood shape and a large pistil under it at the "pulpit."

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Poison ivy (above or to the left); jack-in-the-pulpit (below or to the right). Photo by author

1. blue flower of three petals and five yellow stamens inside
2. violet flower with five petals surrounding a delicate greenish colored inside
3. A group of small yellow flowers

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Here are violet, blue, and yellow flowers. Photo by author

Photos of groups of flowers and closeups of individual ones of the same kind:
1. Red--A composite of upward pointing triangle shaped facets on tall stem
2. Pink-Groups of several tubular flowers coming from a single stem that points downward. The tips of these are green.

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Red and pink flowers. Photo by author

Three photos, one with the ferns dry and brownish, the other two green.

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Ferns growing on rock walls. Photo by author

Here's a slideshow of my rock friends:

The downward trail was through a canyon and had more of a jungle nature. I ended by meeting up with the tourist trail to the Tepozteco Pyramid.

Links to other articles on climate and trails

Many articles in Letters From Mexico describe the rainy season and trail adventures. FYI, here is a list of links:

The rainy season--

Trails in Tepoztlán--

I hope you have enjoyed the article and it has enhanced your understanding of why I love living in this area. If so, please let me know in the comments below.