About half-way up the fourth-highest peak in Mexico on Sunday, we spotted these intrepid hikers. This is the Nevado de Toluca, a dormant volcano that reaches more than 15,300 feet. The sight was a humbling reminder that Mexican grandmothers don't play. They'll go anywhere in the name of family and fun. Anywhere.
Now, if this senior-citizen couple could do it, and did, damned if we couldn't. Huffing and puffing, but let's go.
This was our first view of the Nevado on Sunday, coming up after a drive through downtown Toluca, capital of Mexico's most populous state (the one with the most flummoxing name for a state in this country -- Mexico).
It's about a two-hour drive from central Mexico City to get here.
When we saw that old couple, we were just under the point far in the photo above where the green belt of trees ends and the frigid high-altitude snowy part begins. We didn't make it to the crater lakes atop, with traffic backed up heading up the road, but next time, seguro.
The Nevado de Toluca craters, as might be expected, were ritual sites for pre-Hispanic peoples. Sculpted pieces of copal were recovered by divers that have been dated at 1,500 years, and still maintaining copal's distinctive smell after that long underwater, INAH reports.
Deep, deep breaths.
(Click on any photo for a larger view.)
* What is that moonscape alien flower? Anyone?