Thursday, February 16, 2012

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl--Mexico's Second and Third Highest Mountains

Popocatépetl the active volcano on the right and Iztaccíhuatl on the left

A Traverse of Ixtacihutal

An account from "dos piche gringos" of their amazing(and mostly true) accent of Ixtaccihuatl in 1995

Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Iztaccihuatl - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Legend of Popocatpetl and Iztacchuatl - Mexico's Volcanes ...

My day starts at 4 AM when I head out to the balcony with a pot of coffee to partake of my favorite pastime, watching the sun come up. Yesterday, I was treated to one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen. Since we have in Ixtapaluca which is surrounded by beautiful mountains, it has been cloudy and very overcast, but yesterday I could see it was going to be a very clear, bright day. As the sun rose, I noted a white shape in the far distance, I hadn't seen before and thought "that's odd, it looks like snow on that mountain." As the sun continued to rise two of the most beautiful mountain peaks appeared. I ran back into the room to get my cell phone and took the two pictures above. By 7 AM both of the mountains had disappeared behind a cover of clouds, photo below. When I went down to the front desk, I told the girl that I had seen, but had no idea what it was. She told me it was Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, and even she was excited because apparently to see both of them at the same time is a rare occurrence, with Iztaccíhuatl normally being the most often seen. Guess where I am going Sunday? I made arrangements with a taxi yesterday which can get me within 8 miles of Iztaccíhuatl where the Aztec peoples once walked. He assured me there are a few farms in the area that most likely could supply equine power. He didn't know if there were any horse's were available, but most assuredly there were quite a few donkey's. If all that is available is a donkey, I guess I won't be pretending like I am riding with Villa and Zapata on this trip...........

Below are a couple of photographs from the internet.

View of Iztaccíhuatl from Chalco, Mexico(2006) 40 miles from Ixtapaluca where the show is currently playing.
I unintentionally went to Chalco. A week ago I got in a cab and when the driver asked "donde?" I replied, "circo" as I always do. That nitwit thought I said, "Chalco," and he replied "Si, Chalco." This nitwit didn't know what "Chalco" meant but wrongly assumed it was another way to say "claro" which means "clear, or I understand" The lot is only 5 min. from the hotel, and as we got to the OXOXO(Mexico's 7-11) store where we were supposed to turn around and head in the direction of the circus, this nitwit pointed and said, "vuelta aqui deracho circo"(turn around here straight for the circus). That nitwit said, "Si, Chalco deracho"(yes, Chalco is straight) as we drove past, and this nitwit thought that nitwit understood or "claro" and was going a different direction to the lot. I sat quietly for a half hour, before I finally said, "Where in the F are you taking me?(I don't know how to say that in Spanish.) That nitwit replied, "Chalco" as he pointed to the sign announcing our arrival at outskirts of the town of Chalco. This nitwit said, "Chalco!!!!!! I don't want to go to Chalco, I want to go to the circo. Circo, circo." That nitwit replied, "lo siento, Creí que había dicho Chalco"(I'm sorry, I thought you said Chalco). This nitwit replied, "why do you think I was telling you to turn around at the OXOXO store?" We both started laughing, and this nitwit said, "I glad your having a good time, funny man. Don't expect to get tipped for this hootenanny. We'll see if it is still funny then, bendajo." That nitwit mumbled something about "pinche gringo" as we turned around to head back to Ixtapaluca. I love Mexico, and the people are some of the finest I have ever been around. I do hope I can make my home here some day.

Johnson Space Center 2003

Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, 17,126 feet are part of the Trans-Mexico volcanic belt. First known ascent was by James de Salis, 1889. Archeological evidence indicates it was climbed much earlier, probably by Aztecs. Iztaccihuatl is a dormant stratovolcano. The volcano began forming about 1.7 million years ago. It grew in two phases. The older phase built a shield volcano topped with a caldera and additional cones on the sides. The younger phase, beginning 600,000 years ago, bulked out the mountain with lava flows from the summit and vents on the volcano’s flanks. The volcano ceased to erupt 5,000 years ago. Popocatepetl(on the left, on the right in my photos) on the other hand is still active. The faint plume emanating from Popocatepetl’s 250- to 450-meter-deep summit crater attests to the significant, ever-present hazard the volcano represents to the 25 million people living in the region.

Popocatepetl has produced small, intermittent eruptions since 1994. In contrast to Popocatepetl’s well-defined symmetrical cone, Iztaccíhuatl is formed from several overlapping smaller cones that trend north-northwest to south-southeast. Glaciers and year-round snow are also present on Iztaccíhuatl (white regions along the peaks). Deep valleys have been eroded into the massive apron of ash and pumice deposits, glacial outwash, and alluvium to the east of the volcano. Despite its close proximity, similar age, and similar geologic character to Popocatepetl, Iztaccíhuatl has not erupted in historic times. This has encouraged the establishment of numerous agricultural fields, or "donkey remount stations" as I prefer to call them, on the eastern flank of the mountain.


Bruce the Clown said...

Saw your comment on the History Channel . . . Paul Kaye died?

Wade G. Burck said...

Yes he did, unfortunately. A good man, who produced the circus I was on in 1983 in Japan, and I enjoyed many a jackpots with him when we shared a dressing room at Evansville.
Bruce send me your email at


Mireille said...

Wade Cherie.The 2 Volcanions ..are also call.LA MUJER DORMIDA. Y EL INDIO QUE LA CUIDE...The sleeping ladie and the Indien washing over her.they told me that... wen I was there with the Ataydes Circus in1947......somany moon's is a lovely place...enjoy it...mi Amigo...

Wade G. Burck said...

Mireille Cherie,

What I find so fascinating about Mexico is the diversity. It has changed so much since I first came here in 1975 for Frank Brown Atayde. They have some of the most expensive mall's you will find anywhere, with the park lot's filled with Escalades, Mercedes, BMW's etc. You can go 30 miles and walk into a town that hasn't changed in centuries. A middle class is almost non existent in Mexico. You are either wealthy or poor, no in between. In America our cities/towns tend to have an "affluent" area and a "poor" area. In Mexico, a city/town is one or the other. I am still amazed when we will leave a tired, run down city, move a half hour away to a modern city with Starbucks, cinemas, etc., then drive a half hour in the other direction, back into poverty. More amazing is the people in the poorer communities don't think they are poor. Their life is wonderful, and they have made do magnificently. They are also the most wonderful people to be around, so cheerful and friendly. Not to be missed are the historic old towns which have been given the government designation of "Puebla City" or City Beautiful, completely restored grandeur from the Colonial day's of Kings and Queens. Truly a trip backwards in time.