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Spanish moss, mammoth bones & Montezuma Cypresses: a journey up the Passion River

El Río de la Pasión forms part of the border between Jalisco and Michoacán. It rises from high in the hills of Mazamitla and flows due north to the little town of Tizapán where it pours into Lake Chapala.

pg8aTizapán has not been known for much since the 1800s when it was a port of call for steamboats offering tours of the lake to curious visitors.

When I passed through Tizapán in the late 20th century, the steamboats were long gone, but I stumbled upon El Río de la Pasión, and its very name, I felt, was just odd enough to warrant a look-see.

And that is how I came upon my first Montezuma Cypress, Mexico’s national tree, popularly known as ahuehuete (old man of the water). This river was full of them, with their interconnected branches forming a kind of roof shrouding the rio in semi-darkness, offering a cool, shady place to escape the heat on a sultry summer day.

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