Rancho Pint - The Mexico Page

Text and Photos ©2016 by J. Pint

Virtual Interpretive Trail - click for Printable map

Click for high-resolution version of map, which you can print.

Photo Gallery

 Miguel Muñoz with Crownsbeard (Capitaneja)

 CUCBA botanist, Prof. Miguel Muñiz with crownsbeard (capitaneja), a member of the sunflower family.

Pinus oocarpa

You can recognize the Pinus oocarpa from its short needles and egg-shaped pinecones.

Maria with pumice
María with lightweight pumice rocks. In the Primavera Forest, you can find pumice blocks 8 meters in diameter!

Silverback fern
The Mountain Silverback fern (Pityrogramma ebenea).

Richard with Quercus resinosa leaf
Richard with a Quercus resinosa (Yellow Oak) leaf.

high slot canyon wall

This slot canyon has high walls!

Learn the names of some common trees and plants

By John Pint
WOW on the Carbon Loop
Sabius is a unique, Guadalajara-based organization that assists senior citizens who want to offer talks or courses in their field of experience.

Recently, Sabius found me 13 hikers interested in testing out my “Virtual Interpretive Trail” through Arroyo el Carbón Slot Canyon, located at the northern edge of the Primavera Forest, just south of the town of La Venta del Astillero.

This three-kilometer loop has no physical signs explaining what you are seeing. Instead, the route, photos and explanations are all online and downloadable into your smartphone. For this hike, I also passed out to each participant a printed map of the trail with descriptions of 22 points which either present trees, plants and geological features, or ask the hiker to identify what he or she has seen earlier on the walk. This system helped participants recognize some of the trees commonly seen in the Primavera Forest, such as the yellow oak (Quercus resinosa), the clethra Tree (Clethra rosei) and the extraordinarily beautiful Michoacan pine (Pinus devoniana), along with native plants like the Agave guadalajarana, maidenhair ferns and wild sage.

Kristina and Cristhian with Michoacan Pine Tree

Kristina and Cristhian with Michoacán Pine Tree

Also marked along the route are geological features such as the huge blocks of pumice common to this area and various contact points between the Giant Pumice Horizon and the bottom of a lake which once filled the Primavera Caldera. The identification of flora was done on an earlier hike by a CUCBA botanist, Professor Miguel Angel Muñiz, while Canadian geologist Chris Lloyd identified the rock formations. To both I am eternally grateful.

An unexpected plus on this particular hike was the spotting of a rattlesnake on the trail side. Fortunately, the snake was in good humor and didn't even wiggle its rattle at us, allowing the hikers to catch a glimpse of it and even take a few photos. This was only the second rattlesnake I've seen the Primavera Forest over many years of hiking there.

The floor of the slot canyon was wet in some places and the walls were rich in ferns, moss and fungi. The group completed the loop in three hours, accompanied the entire way by Lisandro Baeza, a first-aid expert which Sabius found for me, on loan from a Tec de Monterrey student group called AUXILIATec.  Commented hiker Laura Badillo: “I learned everything about trees! I didn't have a clue before, and this turned out to be a good way to start learning.”

If you would like to experience the Carbon-Loop Virtual Interpretive Trail on your own, just download “si2 Arroyo el Carbon” from Wikiloc.com to the Wikiloc app on your smartphone. Then  print the map shown on this page. You can also download photos of the trees and plants (with numbers corresponding to the map) from the same site.

How to get there
Take Avenida Vallarta west out of Guadalajara. Ten kilometers past the Periférico, make a U-turn in La Venta del Astillero and, immediately after the Pemex station, enter Pinar de la Venta. Follow Paseo de los Fresnos south 1.1 kilometers to N20.72098 W103.53413 where you can park under douglas pines next to an unused Gate House. Go through the gate just below you and head south, following the trail using Wikiloc and the map you downloaded. Driving time from the Periférico to the trail head: 20 minutes.

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