» Archive for the 'adventures' Category

13th annual Mushroom Fair in Senguio, Michoacán

Sunday, September 5th, 2010 by Marie

We traveled across the state to spend two nights in Senguio, Michoacán, for their annual mushroom fair (La Fería de Hongos).

Senguio is a small town close to Ciudad Hidalgo.  Once a year its residents host the mushroom fair.  They set up a long table full of identified wild mushrooms.  Several stands sold spores of shiitake and oyster (seta in Spanish) mushrooms.  Town restaurants cater the event with a wide variety of mushroom dishes including tamales, posole, tostadas, soups, burgers and more.  One table was set up with over 20 filling choices for mushroom quesadillas!

The fair was tastefully organized with events and educational workshops throughout the weekend.  There were tours of the area, workshops on medicinal mushrooms, even a hot air balloon making workshop.

We felt warmly welcomed by the town.  The director of the fair, Carlos, was busy the entire weekend coordinating events and activities but still took time to chat with us.  The owners of the restaurant “El Coyote” were so kind, offering to take us mushroom hunting after the fair.  We were stuffed again and again with mushroom treats.

Senguio was decorated with mushrooms!  Mushroom trash cans, mushroom posters, even little kids dressed up in mushroom suits.  The drawing on the fair poster was the winner of a drawing contest among the children in Senguio.  We loved looking at all the entries.


For anyone interested in mushrooms, this fair is very impressive.  It was well organized and attended by some of the most respected mushroom experts in Mexico, including Pátzcuaro resident and author of our favorite regional mushroom book, biologist Horalia Díaz-Barriga Vega.

So we send a big virtual thanks to the lovely people of Senguio.  We’re looking forward to next year!

The Mushroom Fair / La Fería de Hongos photoset on Bosque flickr

The Malpais

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 by Marie

The Malpais, or “bad lands” is an area covered with volcanic rock near the Bosque.  While nearby, the malpais is very different, providing a fun field trip for those interested in hiking around the area and enjoying a different ecology and somewhat surreal landscape.

The malpais is protected by a spirit named Maringa, who protects the area and she will cause those who wish to harm it to lose their way.

walking into the malpais

Today Brian traveled with a local guide and a couple of our visitors to explore a bit of the malpais.  The guide, from a local pueblo, takes us to a rock, called piedra campana, that sounds like metal when you knock on it, as well as many caves that we climbed inside.  There is also a spot with hundreds of carved stones related to the giant people said to inhabit the area before the arrival of the Purépecha people.  One of the names of this place is huaraches, for the carved designs in the stone representing the footprint of these giants.

There are two volcanic peaks to climb.

La Peña is a peak which the Purépecha kings ritually climbed every year.  The Purépecha mythology tells of three moros who dance on the textured stones at the peak.

The area called Coyotera is one of many which has caves to explore.  It is equipped with a zip line to cross over a small canyon.

Allison in the cave

On previous trips to the malpais, we have discovered an amazing amount of orchids, bromiliades, epiphytic cactus, and eucalyptus trees.  A guide or GPS is necessary to avoid becoming lost in the complicated trails that weave through the area.  There are many spiky plants to watch out for, some which cause irritation.  Watch out for poison ivy!  The terrain is a bit rocky (perfect for ankle twisting), so it’s important to wear good walking shoes, and the climate is a bit hotter and less shaded than the Bosque, so sun protection is a must.


Cerro Chivo

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 by Marie

Yesterday we woke up at 5am and headed out on a hike to Cerro Chivo, one of the highest spots on this side of the lake.

We met our friend in La Zarzamora, who wanted to help us find a cave that is somewhere near Cerro Chivo where a bearded serpent lives (or so they say…).

We drove up the mountain until the road got too bad for the van, and then started out on foot. It was about a four mile hike to the top of the mountain, through beautiful green forest. The climate at this higher elevation (10,650 feet) was just different enough to allow it to be much greener than the Bosque throughout the rainy season. Tall oaks and pines mostly, with a few tempanos (sp?). We need to head back when the tempanos have seeds so we can try growing that near-native here.

Some maps of where we hiked:

Map of hike

map of hike

We also discovered this cool plant (fideo, or noodle):

noodle plant

We need to head back in a month or so to get seeds for that plant. Is good to use as a decoration! And it looks really cool crawling up the plants.

Unfortunately, we never found the opening to the cool cave that’s supposed to be up there. But we were thrilled to find such amazing views of the lake and surrounding towns. It was a bit hazy, so the photos aren’t as spectacular as they could be on a clear day, but we got some good shots. Lots of Mexican grass to tromp through on the way up to the summit, and probably the best view we’ve found yet on this side of the lake:

grass and view

summit view

Exploring the Malpais

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 by The Bosque

Today we began our exploration of the Malpais, or “Badlands”. The Malpais is an area very close to the Bosque that is covered by volcanic rock - therefore the ecology is quite a bit different than here in the forest.

The entire place is covered in windy trails, and there is a spirit there who tries to make you walk around in circles and get lost (or so they say…). Our goal is to map the area so that it is more easily explorable by visitors to the lake area. Had we not had our GPS, it would have been very difficult to hike around!

We discovered a grove of Eucalyptus trees, and tons of magueys everywhere and bromiliads hanging in the trees and other cool plants.

Bromiliad in the malpais

Lots of bromiliads in the trees

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