Category Archives: nature

As the day ends, at the land of the Coahuilteca.

Mobile photo I shot while hiking near the Rio Grande river banks.

The land of the Coahuilteca.

Under this vegetation knapped pieces and paleolithic tools lie since ancient times, once used by the native Coahuilteca people who used to live along the Mexico – Texas border.

A vast land which rivers are the only features and places for survival — the few streams one can find, at least. Not a grassland entirely, but also not quite a desert. Life does appear to survive at the land of bushes, cactus, reeds, and tall grass (like in the image).



For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years ago, this area was already a border area. Back then it was the limit where the Comecrudo (Carrizo) people (east of modern-day Laredo and Nuevo Laredo) and the Coahuilteca lived (west of the two cities).

A land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find, if you find one.

Our ancestors once lived along the Rio Grande. After all, this is a land where rivers are the only feature you’ll find — assuming you can find a stream or a proper river. And the mighty Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo, as the Mexicans call it) is the most important river in the part of the world, and one of the most important in the Americas.

Perhaps that’s why they called it Guanapetnan — which means Big River in Coahuiltecan indigenous language. It is quite understandable to recognize it as “the” big river if you ever travel accross all Texas towards it, or from Central Mexico to the north.

A border — back then and now.

There is evidence of antiquity in this area. I have been informed of many findings at the west side of the two Laredos (both sides of the border, that is). And I have identified a large site southest of Nuevo Laredo or South of Laredo, where the ancient ones once inhabited.

Chronicles from post-contact travelers and expeditions refer to this area as a border zone between the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo nations. Nowadays, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are still a border region, where the Guanapetnan or Rio Grande separate the United States (Texas) and Mexico (Tamaulipas).

Hiking where the Coahuilteca and the Comecrudo once hiked.

Although it is a rough terrain and the climate can be an issue in Summer or Winter, the experience can be as rich as hiking in a high mountain forest or a secluded beach — trust me, I’ve done it. To me, being as picky as I consider myself, the hiking trails of the border can be a handful. So you can’t be disappointed — unless you don’t like hiking or nature (or bugs, or the sun).

As with all thing in life, if done with caution hiking in the deep of South Texas or the Mexican side of border can be fun. One can see animal life, interesting plants, erosion formations along the creeks, and all kinds of pebbles.

Hiking in the actual Rio Grande river can be difficult if you’re a newbie, not because of its difficulty in terms of the terrain but because of the overwhelming vigilance of law enforcement. Hey, it’s a border, remember that. Don’t get me wrong… there are parks exactly at the Rio Grande — 2 parks, 1 resting stop and 1 golf course at Laredo, Texas, 4 parks and 1 zoo in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, and 1 park at Colombia, Nuevo León.

But hiking actual trails along the Rio Grande can be difficult, desolate, and expect to be stopped by authorities. I have been stopped by authorities on both sides of the border, and they just ask who you are and what are you’re intentions. Of course, if you’re up to no good, you’ll see it with them — in the US side you have the Border Patrol are omnipresent at those trails and parks, and in Mexico side you have the Mexican Army.

If you ask me, the most dangerous thing you’ll face when hiking in South Texas or Northern Mexico is the heat — hands down. And both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo are famous for their infamous hot weather. Winter is very cold, but nothing a good and sturdy clothing choice can help. But the sun of summer literally kills people every year. Again, if done with caution and at certain hours, you’ll be fine.


Worlds within worlds.

Mobile photograph I shot at a small patch of garden on the sidewalk, in Mexico City.

It is amazing how one can easily find worlds within our own world. As I was walking, an activity which I am so fond of, I discovered these mushrooms still with morning dew. Perhaps our own world is also embedded within a colossal one, one so large the entire cosmos wouldn’t suffice. After all, for ants their world seems large enough, ignoring there are supernovas and black holes bending space-time.

Worlds within worlds. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.
Worlds within worlds. Copyright 2015 Miguel Omaña.

Forest at Mexican volcanoes

Photo I shot in one of the valleys of the western flank of the Iztaccihuatl volcano.

Iztaccihuatl means White Lady in Nahuatl native language. Ancient indigenous people named her like that because of the feminine silhouette created by the snowy glaciers on the top, resembling a sleeping woman.

If you enjoy Mexican scenery and history you may enjoy my novel Till Stars Shut Their Eyes.

Forest at Mexican volcaones. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña. Forest at Mexican volcaones. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

At the keep of the wicked.

At the keep of the wicked,
snarling to face it,
rise and rise, not once but thrice!
Amid the darkness and its skid,
Lies the night of this land dry.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Photo I shot at the Northern Mexican border.

At the keep of the wicked. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña. At the keep of the wicked. Copyright 2010 Miguel Omaña.

Zumpango Lake nowadays.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Sunset at Zumpango Lake, which once connected the cities of old.

Photograph I took at the once capital of Zumpango, or Tzompanco in its original name in Nahuatl language. The lake was part of the super lake of Texcoco, it communicated all major powers and capitals of Ancient Mexico, the Anahuac. This lake once connected the realm of Zumpango with Mexico Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), Xaltocan (Jaltocan), Tlacopan (Tacuba), Cuitlahuac Tizic (Tlahuac), the Chalco Confederacy (Chalco), Tetzcoco (Texcoco), Huitzilopochco (Churubusco), Chapoltepec (Chapultepec), Mexico Tlatilulco (Tlatelolco), Tepeyacac (Tepeyac), Xochimilco, and Ehecatepec (Ecatepec).

Bridge-streets criss-crossed the lakes.

Native people back then traveled by water using an acalli, a boat similar to a canoe much wider and sturdier. Acalli literally means “water house”. Many cities connected each other with long and wide bridge-streets which at some point they criss-crossed the lakes. Many survived still today as modern-day avenues called calzadas. If you’re ever in Mexico City and encounter a street that instead of the habitual avenue or street designation begins with the word calzada, chances are you are cruising on ancient water avenues.

These waters saw wars of old, commerce unfold, and even the rise and fall of the earth spirits.

Zumpango lake, Mexico. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.
Zumpango lake, Mexico. Copyright 2013 Miguel Omaña.

Deer in Ancient Mexico

Deer was an important part of the Anahuac, Ancient Mexico not only as a source of food, but also the use of its skin and presence in ancient lore.

Photo and text by Miguel Omaña.

Although we know deer was hunted by several groups, its use was not only confined as nourishment. Deer hide was used as a canvas of the Mexicans of old. With its skin, maps and even books were produced. Even though paper existed (many pose the Chinese and Egyptians invented paper, but ancient Mexicans also used a paper called amatl) deer hide was used to paint cartography, history, genealogies, and numerous stories. Sadly much of it was lost.

Its presence was also important in the cosmology of the ancient peoples of the Anahuac and the Mayaab’. For instance, there was a day in the Mexica calendar called mazatl (deer in English). Because calendars where pan-Anahuac — used by different nations — the deer day was present widely. As such, the day was represented with the glyph or symbol of a deer. And if they appear in the also known as Aztec calendar, I pose they ought to be considered as one of the most mexican symbols (like eagles, snakes, and even earthquakes – which also appear in our calendars!).

White tail deer, at Laredo, Texas.
White tail deer, at Laredo, Texas. Copyright 2014 Miguel Omaña.