Page:Appleton's Guide to Mexico.djvu/196

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day-laborers, barns, stock-yards, blacksmith and carpenter shops, etc. There is also a quaint little church, which bears the date of a. d. 1773 on the belfry. The hacendado, or proprietor, employs a priest to officiate, and also to teach the children of his peons, who number several hundred. There are a great many horses, mules, cattle, and sheep on the farm, and the owner uses plows of American manufacture.

The traveler has an excellent view from Esperanza of the volcano of Orizaba, which rises behind the Sierra Negra. The mountain can be ascended from this point. It is difficult, however, to procure horses here, and accordingly the tourist is recommended to make the ascent from San Andres, about six miles distant by trail, but fifteen miles by the railway.

The peak of Orizaba is 17,200 feet above the sea-level, and is the highest mountain in Mexico, with the exception of Popocatepetl. There were violent eruptions in 1545 and 1566, but the volcano has been quiet ever since. It was reported to be smoking in April, 1883. There is no difficult climbing on the mountain, but the ascent is exceedingly laborious on account of the steepness of the snow-clad cone. It is almost impossible for the traveler coming direct from Vera Cruz to ascend Orizaba. He should spend several days on the table-land, and accustom his lungs to the rarefied atmosphere, before starting out for the summit of the peak. The tourist can ride to a cave just below the timberline, which is about 13,500 feet above the level of the sea, and pass the night there. Guides, blankets, and provisions for two days must be taken. As the clouds rise and often cover the mountain early in the forenoon, the traveler should leave the cave by 4 a. m. if possible. About five hours will be required to reach the summit. Very few persons thus far have climbed Orizaba.

An excursion to Oaxaca and Mitla may be made from