The Butterflies that Killed Me


“Are we there yet? How much farther is it?”

“We close. Very close.”

As we went speeding by hour 2 and approached the 3rd hour on our hike to the see one of Mexico’s marvels – the Monarch Mariposa (Butterfly) Reserve – I started to have my doubts about our guide. The Mexican “hour” promised to get to mariposa mating ground seemed like a sweet tequila filled dream at this point. Frankly, I was just worried I had misheard “un hora” for “uno hundred horas”. It wasn’t the fiftieth time I had asked the question, but certainly I had crossed into the whiny bitch territory. And believe me, I can complain more than an over indulged 7 year old if I am not pacified with results, or Pacificos, in a timely fashion.

Littered throughout two states of Mexico (the Michoacan and the Federal state of Mexico) lie butterfly reserves, where for 4 months a year Monarch Butterflies have a real life layover and procreate for hours and hours. It is beautiful, natural, and one of those things you must do before you die – and the seeing the butterflies is nice too. However, what the Lonely Planet doesn’t tell you – or what I didn’t bother to read and choose to blame my ignorance upon the traveler’s holy book – is that not all the reserves are as easily as accessible as one would think. And by accessible, I mean there are road signs more than every 100 kilometer and I roll out of the car, where butterflies immediately commence their magical, sexy ballad around me – But sage wisdom decrees, that with no pain and struggle, there is no glory. Well I say – Bullshitttt. I would feel tons of love with a two-minute saunter and a beer – so shame on you Lonely Planet for not mentioning the grueling two hour hike and the heinous exercise that would ensue. Shame.

My pain and complaints may seem trite (they are), but most travelers like hiking. Actually, most love it. Me – I hate it. It is hard explain an aversion to hiking like mine. I would liken it to a disease, but that would be just making stuff up, and my Attention Deficit Disorder is such that I can’t think long enough on a topic to even make up a make-believe illness like IFuckingHateHikingAndWantToKillPeopleWhoMakeMeHikePhobia. Can’t do it. So what we were talking about?

Ah the Monarch Butterflies.

This video was actually longer with a brief explanation into the mating habits of these bugs, but my Latina friend started to shout expletives excitedly, drowning out the information. Basically the abridged version is that the Monarchs are a randy bunch and marathon mate like sailors on furlough for 14-16 hours (easily surpassing my record by an incredible 4 hours).

So in the end was the grueling 3-hour hike and costly road trip to where these dainty little bugs mate worth the trip?

Gas and tolls to get to the mariposa reserve: 700 pesos. Entrance fee to the mariposa reserve: 200 pesos. Supporting the Informal Economy with an unnecessary butterfly guide: 100 pesos. Having a highly feminine Latina stare at you in contempt for 3 hours as you drag her in her high-heels up a mountain to see butterflies mate because your mom told you it was amazing and would nag you relentlessly for the rest of your life if you didn’t go while were you in the area: priceless. Fo real.

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

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