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Oaxaca’s Huautla Cave: deepest in the western hemisphere and said to be “the most magnificent cave on earth”

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Photos courtesy of PESH and Bill Steele, unless otherwise indicated. For die-hard cave explorers around the world, Mexico has long been considered “the new frontier of caving.” Here cavers have a high likelihood of being among the first human beings ever to boldly set foot where “no one has gone before.”  Maybe the best example of Mexico’s magnificent caves is the Huautla Cave System located in Oaxaca's Sierra Mazateca mountains. Exploration began in 1965 when a group of cavers from Austin Texas arrived at the village of Huautla de Jiménez. They soon discovered three beautiful and challenging caves in the area: Sótano de San Agustin, La Grieta and Nita Nanta. In time It became clear that these and other caves they kept finding were interconnected, all part of one big cave system, which became known as Sistema Huautla. The hills housing America’s deepest cave. Photo: Dave Bunnel. Numerous expeditions took place over the years and more than 65 kilometers of passages were mapped by ca

The Remarkable Miss Adela Breton: Explorer extraordinaire of 19th century Mexico

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  In 1894, a man living near the famed ruins of Teotihuácan, 50 kilometers from Modern Mexico City, discovered a small, pre-Hispanic house whose walls were covered with beautifully colored murals. The place was called Teopancaxco or “La Casa de Barrios.” The paintings were the first of their kind found at Teotihuácan and visitors considered them spectacular. Watercolor painting of the mural at la Casa de Barrios, Teopancaxco. Weather and time eventually did their damage to the murals and today we would have little idea of how they once looked if it were not for an extraordinary Englishwoman named Adela Breton who had fallen in love with Mexico's ruins and who painstakingly reproduced these murals as watercolors. Mary Frech, author of Adela Breton, a Victorian Artist amid Mexico's Ruins, says, quoting James Langley:  “Adela made the most comprehensive record of the murals at Teopancaxco. Her re-creation of the colours of the murals is unsurpassed compared with the few colour rep

How nature-based wetland treatment plants can help solve Mexico's sewage disposal problems

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  Hidden away in rural Mexico are majestic waterfalls, meandering rivers and sparkling lakes. These are the pride of local people and their favorite places to go for a carne asada on a Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, the water in many of these streams and lagoons is contaminated and every rancher or campesino picnicking nearby laments the fact that they are being polluted by aguas negras pouring into them from the nearest town.  When you suggest they build a sewage treatment plant, they almost always give you the same reply: “We already have a planta de tratamiento , sí señor! The government built one for us 10 years ago, but sad to say, it's no longer in operation. The building is over there at the edge of town, locked up and abandoned.” Building a plant, I learned, is one thing and maintaining it is quite another. A small community cannot afford the high operating costs and even less the salary of an expert to run the place. Having heard this same story again and again, I was

Al Aire Libre en las Cercanías de Guadalajara 3

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Al Aire Libre en las Cercanías de Guadalajara 3 Por John & Susy Pint 207 páginas, 25 mapas. 2021,Tente Editorial, Monterrey, N.L.   Este libro está escrito tanto en español como en inglés. Está disponible en pasta suave (250 pesos) o en pasta dura (350 pesos).  En el tercer volumen de Al Aire Libre en las Cercanías de Guadalajara,  vas a encontrar 25 nuevos lugares para caminar, acampar o  hacer un día de campo, y todos no muy lejos de Guadalajara. Puedes escoger entre aguas termales, montañas cubiertas de pinos, cráteres extraordinarios, ríos serpenteantes, selvas cubiertas de enredaderas, géiseres sibilantes y ruinas arqueológicas olvidadas.  Todos estos lugares se encuentran dentro de "El Círculo Mágico” alrededor de Guadalajara, una zona en la que convergen los cinco ecosistemas de México. ¡Simplemente abre este libro y disfruta el aire libre! Si deseas una copia de este libro, la podemos enviar a cualquier parte de México o del mundo. Si vives cerca de Guadalajara, puedes

Outdoors in Western Mexico, Volume 3

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Outdoors in Western Mexico 3 Al Aire Libre en las Cercanías de Guadalajara 3 By John & Susy Pint 207 pages, 25 maps. Tente Editorial, Monterrey, N.L. México, 2021 This book is written both in Spanish and in English. It is available as a paperback (250 pesos) or as a hardcover (350 pesos). In volume three of outdoors in Western Mexico you will find 25 great new places for hiking, picnicking and camping, all within a day's drive of Guadalajara. Take your  pick of hot springs, pine covered mountains, otherworldly craters, meandering rivers, vine covered jungles, hissing geysers and long-forgotten archaeological ruins.  All of these sites are located inside "The Magic Circle" around Guadalajara,  an area where all five of Mexico's ecosystems happened to converge. Just open this book  and enjoy the great outdoors!  If you would like a copy of this book, we can mail one to you, anywhere in Mexico or the world. If you live near Guadalajara, you can come pick up a copy fr

Cómo las plantas de tratamiento de humedales basados en la naturaleza pueden ayudar a resolver muchos de los problemas de eliminación de aguas negras en México

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Por John Pint  En las zonas rurales de México hay majestuosas cascadas, ríos serpenteantes y lagos formidables. Son el orgullo de la población local y sus lugares favoritos para ir a comer carne asada un domingo por la tarde. Por desgracia, el agua de muchos de estos arroyos y lagunas está contaminada y los locales que hacen un picnic en las cercanías lamentan que están siendo contaminados por las aguas negras que se vierten en ellos desde los pueblos y ciudades cercanos.  Cuando les sugieres que construyan una planta de tratamiento de aguas negras, casi siempre te dan la misma respuesta: "¡Ya tenemos una planta de tratamiento, sí señor! El gobierno construyó una para nosotros hace 10 años, pero lamentablemente ya no está en funcionamiento. El edificio está allí, en las afueras, cerrado y abandonado". Construir una planta, aprendí, es una cosa y mantenerla es otra muy distinta. Una comunidad pequeña no puede permitirse los elevados costos de su  funcionamiento ni, menos aún,