Getting from La Cruz to Vallarta Botanical Garden is a commitment to practicing patience AND worth every bit of a full day! Utilizing local transit the journey entails taking a collectivo around Banderas Bay, a metro bus through the tunnel to a dedicated bus that travels up through Cabo Corrientes. Waiting for the third bus, we enjoyed one of our best meals to date at Macareno. The final bus stretch took us uphill along a narrow road reminding me of a jungle version of Independence Pass. The mountains are dramatic granite slabs draped with wide ribbons of green. My imagination went kind of crazy contemplating the rainy summer season, it must be dramatic, perhaps harrowing, to witness.
The Garden presents many options to start but at that point we were thrilled to find access to the longest trail that wound up, across and down jungly slopes. We started out through the Vanilla plantation. Jalisco region's vanilla is second only to Madagascar vanilla. Cultivation of this orchid plant is very labor intensive. We now savor the flavor with new awareness. Leaf growth is pinched back to encourage larger beans, the flowers only bloom for one day and then are hand pollinated.
And then all the lush plants and flowers! Growing from the air, pushing out from rock heaps, floating in shallow waters, and dripping from beams and crevices. Architectural structures only attempted to frame explosions of color, the various array of flowering plants would not be contained. All the variety came into view as birds and butterflies constantly drew our attention from one resting place to another, both cultivated and wild.
Further along, the Los Horcones river receives the water of many streams from surrounding canyons. The water is pristine and swimming is allowed. However, water was not the primary. It's been a very long time since I have experienced my Mountain Mondays on Mt Lemmon. The huge, hot granite boulders of Rio Los Horcones offered my senses deep refreshment. Navigating cool water in bare feet, I found my spot and draped myself over a large, warm boulder indulging my inner lizard. While there is vastness and density in the oceans, there is different vastness and density in rocky mountain slopes. I had not realized how much I missed the grounding and stabilizing effect of stone.