Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Trekking the remote reaches of Sierra Gorda

27 January, 2014 - 14:17 -- World Land Trust
A tent pitched in a hollow close to the top of a ridge with a view of mountains in the background
A pink flower with petals half closed and long fine leaves.

Funds from World Land Trust (WLT) supporters Travel Republic and SaladStop! have recently extended Cerro-Prieto Cerro de la Luz reserve in Mexico’s Sierra Gorda. On a trip to the reserve in 2013 Roberto Pedraza, Technical Director of Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda (GESG), sent us this report.

“Finally was able to climb and camp in the Cerro de la Luz, northern border to Cerro-Prieto Cerro de la Luz reserve and one of the highest peaks in the eastern part of Sierra Gorda, rising up to 8,858 feet (2,700 metres) above sea level, and really a wilderness spot.

“I began the hike from La Trinidad, along with my father and a local guide. I was the only donkey available so I had to carry all the gear (cameras, camping gear, water and food and plenty of clothes because it’s freezing up there) during a steep, long and almost vertical hike. Once we reached the top my father cleverly went back to the nice lodge and warm food and left me there. The summit is very rocky, so I had to choose the ‘flattest’ spot, just by a nice shallow cliff. Luckily it was a peaceful night and I didn´t roll down the mountain.

“Despite complaining a little, it was a very special experience. I wanted to go there because of the micro-endemic Pinguicula calderoninae, which grow only in the north face-cliff of this mountain. It was quite an honour to find them, and luckily they were in flower. They have incredibly long, tentacle-like leaves, which are useful when moths and files are on the menu. There were supposed to be almost none there, as in the dry season they become smaller, so I was very fortunate.

“Sunrise and sunset are spectacular in that empty place, home of Jaguars and Pumas and you can see clearly the karstic terrain and jagged rocks, many of them quite a bit taller than the big pines and cedars.

“An extra special gift was a flock of Maroon-fronted Parrots, endangered birds endemic to a northern portion of this same Sierra Madre, which were first recorded here back in 1998. It was incredible to hear their parrot voices well above 10,000 feet. Just before sunset a flock of them headed to the forests of the new reserve, so a quite unexpected beneficiary, and extra nice to know that we are protecting their food source, conifers and their cones! Again thanks to the WLT on their behalf.”

More information

Roberto made the journey in February 2013 and has recorded other rare butterworts in Sierra Gorda »

In 2013 Roberto was awarded a medal of honour for conservation and photography »

In early 2014 a land purchase to extend Cerro-Prieto Cerro de la Luz Reserve was possible with donations from WLT's corporate supporters: WLT saves area of Mexican wilderness »

WLT supports GESG through Buy an Acre and Keepers of the Wild, and you can help conservation efforts in Sierra Gorda by donating to either of the appeals. 

Buy an Acre »

Donate to Keepers of the Wild »

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