The Incredible Maple Forest of Talpa
The lovely village of Talpa, east of Puerto Vallarta, is a wonderful getaway for a weekend or midweek for those of us without constraints. Though we have driven through, stopped for meals, shopped and even spent a night or two, it was a great surprise to learn about La Cumbre, a forest that is only a short distance above Talpa. Unexpectedly, we came across a fir, maple, conifer wooded area that has puzzled botanists for some time, due to their strength of survival, and mysterious location. Trees and plants in this setting have been traced back to the Pleistocene and Tertiary eras. This flora has survived and integrated itself into its surroundings for millions of years. La Cumbre can be found in the El Refugio arroyo, deeply veiled by the growth around it.
This is an adventure for medium to serious hikers. Long pants and sleeves are advised, as well as sturdy shoes. Going this time of year is ideal because the rains will have washed away dust and fed new growth. To get to there from Puerto Vallarta, travel from Mascota, then southwest through the town of Talpa, and follow the paved road to Tomatlán. Keep track on your odometer and when you are approximately 27 kilometers up, look for a sign; not highly visible, that says Bosque de Maple. It’s a dirt road and you need to proceed for about five kilometers to a trailhead that has no evident marking but you’ll know when you see it. You are now in the cloud forest; carry on in a northeast direction. If you do some scouting around and you’ll easily find the camping area. It’s a dreamy space with evidence of previous visitors.
Remember to not leave a trace. Whatever you pack in, you pack out. Respect the wildlife. Be considerate of other visitors, but this is Mexico, so you can expect most people to be friendly. We can’t stress enough how unusual it is to find Sugar Maples in a Cloud Forest in Mexico! Botanists have ventured into the region since this discovery in the late 1990’s to marvel at what is ordinary in Vermont, Wisconsin and Ontario but seemingly miraculous such a short distance from Puerto Vallarta in the mountains of Jalisco. It is unfortunate that the area remains unprotected by the government and some activism could help to change this, especially with a new administration. At this time it is victim to everyone from the CFE (Federal Electric Commission) to wandering cattle, illicit marijuana farmers, vandals and loggers. There is really nothing the likes of this enchanted hiker/botanist’s dream. It has survived mother nature and human ignorance but we recommend planning a trip, before someone decides it’s off limits.
Que cómo es es.
Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article! (opinions expressed are his own)
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