Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies


Office work is office work, and so there isn’t that much more exciting to tell about right now.  So we will mention what we did for our Preparation day a few Saturday’s ago, with 5 other couples.  There is a place not too far from here where the Monarch Butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada.  They are here in Mexico from November through February.  The day we went was beautiful and sunny, perfect for the butterflies to be flying about and sunning themselves as they prepared for their long migration North in a few weeks.  It was a 3 hour drive from Mexico City.  We took 3 cars, with 2 couples in each car.  When we arrived at the butterfly reserve, we parked, then had to walk a ways, then climb on horses and ride for another 45 minutes!!  Craig went a bit slower on his horse than the rest of us so not to injure his back. We were both a bit worried but the Area Medical Advisor is one of our missionary group and he knows Craig well. Actually, by now, we are very good friends with him and his wife. He thought that it would not be too difficult for Craig. And, we have photos to prove he rode the horse! Craig explained his situation to his guide (guides actually lead the horse along the path up the hill) and he was so good to make sure he was careful and he kept the horse going slowly enough so as not to bump Craig up and down hard against the saddle. In fact, he and Craig made friends and at the end Craig gave his a pass along card because he had talked with him about the church on the way up and back. We failed to mention that the trickiest part of all whole horse adventure for Craig was getting up into the saddle and then getting out of it again. Thankfully, there were tree stumps and such that we were able to use to get him up high enough, then help shift his leg over the saddle.


At the end of the horse ride up the mountain you have to get off and again walk from there to the spot in the area where the butterflies are congregating that day, as they can change locations from time to time. So, from there we had a little bit of an uphill and ad then downhill hike to see the clusters of butterflies.  WOW!  At first we saw a few flying around and landing on bushes.  As we went further into the forest they were everywhere.  It looked like the trees had autumn leaves on them, but they were butterflies hanging from the trees in clusters.  Thousands of them.  They completely covered all the leaves and some entire trees.  It was such an amazing sight to see.  There were some butterflies that didn’t survive and there were wings lying in the trails.  They have two natural predators, mice and a bird that eats the bodies of the butterflies, but not the wings.  When it is cold some fall from the trees and can’t fly, that is when they become vulnerable. But plenty survive and live to travel that long trip back north.  In a few weeks they will be gone and on their way. 


The story of the monarch butterfly migration is one of those quirks of nature that only God knows and understands. It is especially interesting because these butterflies, of course, are insects and do not normally live all that long. The butterflies that leave here now will never be the ones returning, in fact. It is the fourth generation that will come back here and come to the exact area where their great-great-grandparents came from. The fourth generation is often called the ‘Methuselah’ generation because they live about twice as long as the other generations, and they are the ones which make the journey back to Mexico. It is their ‘children’ that fly north and the cycle begins again, with two generations in between those that will return. It is an amazing story. Google it to find out more.


OK. Enough for this update. Just like you all to know that we do some nice, more touristy things, along with the work at the office. Our very best to you all!!
The orange that you see are clusters of butterflies grouped together.  Notice how they are on the tree trunks.
Just a close up of a few butterflies enjoying the sunshine and flower nectar.
More clusters of butterflies.  It was like that for all around. 
 Craig did ride a horse, slow and steady.  He made it.
The group of missionaries that went on the butterfly excursion. 
 Lunch after our horse back ride to see the butterflies.  Tacos for all.

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