“Every great story begins with adversity”

This is a quote that our friend (Dan Weatbrook) shared with George at some point.  Every time things start going wrong by his doing in some way, he throws it at me.  Theoretically, I agree, but it irks me to no end when things are buggered up and he says it.  Case in point – Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca.  George had read about the place.  The reports lead us to believe that it would not disappoint.  We had some issues finding a place to stay the previous night, so we were already running on half empty.

We were driving pretty slow as we approached the parking lot.  Some local boy managed to hop on and hold onto the back of the truck to hitch a ride up to the parking lot.  George caught a glimpse of him as we were driving up there.  He was very clear in his demands when we stopped. “money” (to watch the truck while we were gone)… — “no”, “cookie”…–“no cookies”.  repeat x 3.

You had to hike about an hour to get to the butterflies.  We had heard that it was a requirement to pay a local guide to come with us up the well beaten path.  We started the hike up, but didn’t encounter any guides (clue #1).  We assumed this was due to the fact that we had arrived early.  As we were walking up, we passed some local venders which was a good sign, and then started hoofing it up the hill.  Very quickly, it was not clear which path we should take as there were roads and paths going everywhere (clue #2).  I wanted to turn around, but G was persistent.  Very soon we started to crisscross with a fence (clue #3), most likely a boundary fence.  Eventually we made it to “the top” or what we thought was the top.  We heard some noises, and then realized that it was a chain saw (clue #4).  Considering that they enforce silence around the butterflies, this could not be our final destination.  G went to ask for directions from the man cutting down the tree.  It turns out we had hiked in the exact wrong direction.  As we headed in the right direction, I got a little frazzled (yes, tears).  This was followed by the inevitable line “every great story begins with adversity” and George laughing maniacally at me which was not well received.  The backstory is that we didn’t have any time to waste.  Every day was precious since we were hauling ass across Mexico to surprise my younger sister.

We walked for a few miles and finally came to such a well beaten path, we knew it had to be it.  We had also started to see more butterflies, a very good sign.  I had given up hope at this point, so a very welcome sight.

We found the butterflies and a few odd looks from the guides since we were flying solo.  It was awe inspiring.  They were clumped so thick that they looked like leaves and bark.  When the sun was hidden by the clouds, there was a flurry of activity as thousands of the butterflies flew about.  For your information, up close, butterflies are kind of mean looking things.

So, we saw the butterflies and avoided the park entrance fee.  Success – it would be a great story.