They are one of the great mysteries—and beauties—of nature. No one knew where the migrating Monarch butterflies spent the winter until 1975, when the mountaintop in Michoacan, Mexico was discovered by an American named Ken Brugger and his wife Catalina Aguada. The Bruggers had answered an ad in a Mexican newspaper asking for volunteers, placed by Dr. Frederick Urquhart who had been trying to find the Monarchs’ wintering place since1937.
Nevertheless the path up the mountain to the butterfly sanctuary was clean and paved with cement and stairs, punctuated by frequent benches. Once inside the gates, our group was assigned a local guide, Guadalupe, (men named Guadalupe are called “Jose”, we learned) but he scarcely said a word during our climb—it seems his only function was to watch us to make sure we didn’t harm the vegetation and the butterflies and didn’t get lost. We had brought our own guide from Morelia—Raymundo Solorio Vargas (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) who gave us a moving account of the deadly storm a year before.