Rancho Pint - The Mexico Page

Text and Photos ©2013 by J. Pint

unless otherwise indicated

Photo Gallery

Muddy Trail

When hiking during the rainy season be prepared for plenty of water and mud.


A Katydid in the Ahuisculco Wilderness.

 Well-marked trail in Ahuisculco Wilderness

Hiker Luis Rojas marvels to find a trail well marked with cable “railings” and obsidian stones.

Obsidian - Photo by L. Rojas

The trails of the Ahuisculco Forest are paved with chunks of high quality black obsidian. Photo by Luis Rojas.


rest stop

John Pint crossing the river - Photo by L. Rojas
John Pint jumps.  Photo by Luis Rojas.

"What will become of us?" ask the ants
"What will become of us?" ask the ants in Ahuisculco's Selva Negra.

Mario Guerrero
"Where's the lake?" says Mario Guerrero. "I wanna swim!"

Mantis - Photo by L. Rojas

Praying Mantis by Luis Rojas.

Walking in Ahuisculco Woods

Franky Alvarez, Alicia Crain and Luis Rojas, singing in the rain. Note the obsidian underfoot.

Waterfall by Luis Rojas

Selva Negra Falls, by Luis Rojas.


Caves beneath the dunes? Check out our Saudicaves page:







Legacy of Selva Negra and Rock Group Maná

By John Pint

El Bosque de Ahuisculco, Jalisco, Mexico

I usually consider FaceBook a great waste of time, but every once in a while it brings something worthwhile into my life. In this case, it was an album of photos taken by my friend Franky Alvarez in a place I’d never seen: el Bosque de Ahuisculco, located 30 kilometers southwest of Guadalajara, near Tala. “This is a beautiful woods,” commented Franky, “with two big cerros, one composed of black obsidian and the other of red—and the whole area is a plant and animal sanctuary protected by Selva Negra.”

Well, I knew this very woods had been in the news recently when the government announced they were going to construct a Macrolibramiento (bypass) around Guadalajara and environmentalists complained that this would cut off the Primavera Forest animals from a large wooded area beyond the village of Ahuisculco. The promised solution: a huge “animal bridge” over the proposed expressway.

One Sunday Franky led me and three friends through the maze of Ahuisculco’s streets to a dirt road heading northwest. This time of year “mud road” would better describe it, and a high vehicle like a truck is a must. After four kilometers, we came to a heavy iron gate where we parked.

We began to walk along a wide track paved with billions of small pieces of volcanic glass. It was literally an Obsidian Highway. Cuts in the hillside showed us that we were now on a mountain entirely made of obsidian—of the highest quality, I might add: shiny black and perfectly smooth, without a blemish. The road brought us to a huge tree where a bamboo shelter had been constructed. From here we had a magnificent view of green hills disappearing into the distance.

A Project to reduce the carbon footprint of ManáAt this tree, signs announced that we were in an area managed by Project Selva Negra (Black Jungle), which is financed by the Mexican rock band Maná. Sometime ago, it seems, Maná attempted to calculate just how much damage their world tours are doing to the good health of Planet Earth—for example the emissions of a plane carrying them off to Europe. Selva Negra represents their debt to the earth. Over the years they have, among other things, rescued thousands of caguama turtles in Oaxaca and Puerto Vallarta, raised money for indigenous communities in Chiapas and at Ahuisculco they are assisting the Federal Government and local ejidos in the conservation of a vitally important forest covering an area of over 1000 hectares.

The next trail we followed had obviously received a bit of sprucing up by Selva Negra. We were guided through the tall maleza (undergrowth) by cable “railings” and obsidian-lump “curbs” which made it impossible for us to get lost. “Are we still in Mexico?” we asked.

San Miguelito perched on finger -Photo by J. PintWe continued up a gentle slope, stopping every few meters to take pictures of mushrooms, wildflowers and all sorts of living creatures, like tiny frogs, praying mantises, katydids and a curious flying insect called San Miguelito to which children in Mexico are taught to say, “San Miguelito, ven, párate en mi dedito!” (Come sit on my finger). Well, I actually repeated that line and to my great delight, the San Miguelito really did land right on my finger and stayed there long enough for me to get some great pictures of it.

Our goal on this hike was a picturesque stream with small waterfalls which we reached after hiking for five kilometers. The water is a little cloudy (zarca in Spanish) due to clay content, but appears very clean and we were told people like to bathe here. But we could not tarry long because rainclouds began to move in overhead.

We headed back, but before the rain began to fall, we came to several anthills surrounded by thousands of tiny pieces of obsidian, all the same size. It’s been scientifically proven that the ants actually reduce chunks of obsidian to these bite-size bits with their incredibly powerful mandibles. Here we couldn’t help but think of a song by Maná which just happens to be called “En la Selva Negra.” The song gives some idea why these musicians are concerned enough to support conservation projects in such remote places as the Ahuisculco Wilderness:

I wandered lost
In the Selva Negra
And I came upon a little ant,
Deeply distressed,
And she told me a story
A story of men who would take away her land:
“What will become of me?” she asked.
“What will become of you?”
And the ants were wiped out
In the early morning light.
What happened in that anthill?
What happened in the Selva Negra?
What happened?

I’d like to give directions for reaching this beautiful woods, but I’m afraid getting through Ahuisculco is a bit too complicated for me to describe. In case you have a GPS, the iron gate, trailhead and parking area is located at N 20 34.888, W 103, 43.554 and the waterfalls at N 20 33.044, W 103, 43.949. Your best bet? Download the exact route, Ahuisculco to Selva Negra Woods from Wikiloc. Driving time to the parking spot from Guadalajara is about one hour and 15 minutes and is easily reached from Ajijic via Tlajomulco.

Waterfalls Picnic Site at Ahuisculco Woods


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