Along with the Hower and O’Brien families from our ministry team, we traveled 3 hours (one-way) down into the mountains of the state of Michoacan to one of just a few butterfly sanctuaries that are open to the public. The name of this particular butterfly reserve is “El Rosario.” It is considered by many to be the best of all of them. We’ve not been to the others, but we were duly impressed. We hiked up a mountain about 2 miles to where these beautiful creatures have been wintering since about November and are just a week or two away from departing for the U.S. and Canada.
Some people have this visit on their “bucket list” and so we are blessed to live relatively close enough to make a day of it and see it for ourselves. It truly is an amazing scene. It was rather chilly at about 8,000 feet in altitude and it was cloudy with a few sprinkles at times. What a pleasant surprise we had when the sun broke through for a bit and the monarchs took to flight all around us. It was simply amazing.
[EDIT: Our guide told us that we began our hike at 7,500 feet and ended at the top around 10,500 feet. No wonder we were a little winded. Actually, the altitude had nothing to do with it. We’re just out of shape. We also learned that when these butterflies arrive, a portion of them are older and will die there on the mountain. A portion of them are younger and will mate in Mexico and fly up as far as Canada where their eggs will be laid up North. Those butterflies will die up North and their offspring will make the trip back to Mexico. Thus, some of these will have a life cycle that begins in Mexico and others will have a life cycle that begins in Canada and the USA. Some were dying and some were just beginning to practice their flying. They’re still studying these creatures and are still learning about their habits, instincts, and who knows what else. Our guide works with PhDs/researchers from around the world as he makes observations and has helped correct some of even their misconceptions about the monarch butterfly.]
Here are a few pics from our day today.