The writer, Erik Vance, explores a patch of cloud forest near El Zapotal, Veracruz. (Dominic Bracco II / Prime for Biographic)
 

A Forest Hidden by Fog

for bioGraphic

Photos by Dominic Bracco II (For the full story, click here)

Mexico is a land of dazzling landscapes. From the jungles of Chiapas to the deserts of Sonora, from the freezing 18,500-foot peak of Orizaba to the tortilla-flat Yucatán, from forests filled with butterflies to the underwater abundance surrounding Baja California, Mexico’s ecosystems are easily as diverse and wondrous as those of its northern neighbor.

But there is one landscape I had long wanted to see more than any other—the cloud forest. I’d seen photographs: bizarre and hypnotic places, worlds of mist and mystery, haunted landscapes forever cloaked in fog and secrets. Places where, if you allowed your mind to drift, you could easily imagine trolls and forest sprites wandering under primordial boughs. And yet, beyond these forests’ appearance, I couldn’t really say much about them.

Year after year, I tell myself I will visit the fireflies of Tlaxcala, climb Orizaba and see the cloud forest during the rainy season—and each year, I run out of time. This year, determined to experience these fantastic foggy forests once and for all, I bought a ticket to the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, in Chiapas, for the beginning of the rainy season in May. What I learned shocked me. When it comes to this enchanting ecosystem, it seems I am not the only one running out of time.