Mountain climbers mostly like to get to the top of mountains, but this is hardly necessary to do in order to envelope yourself in the majestic and sometimes strange landscapes of Mexico. I myself will probably--no, certainly--will never hike to the top of Pico de Orizaba. I have hiked to the top of Cofre de Perote where you find a tiny village of workers and a small forest of antennae. There are any number of at-least-as-interesting things below.
Having never been to the top of Pico de Orizaba (Citlatépetl in Nahuatl), I can't swear the same is true, but I do know that trips lower down are filled with their own beauty. Several months ago, we drove to Nuevo Potrero,about 32 miles south-southwest of where we live, on the eastern flank of the mountain to walk just a little way up to the peak five miles away.
Here is a map of the area from Coscomatepec where you leave the road for Pico showing Potrero Nuevo. Remember, you can click on it to make it bigger.
We did not spend much time in Potrero Nuevo, but you can find some stuff about it by googling Potrero Nuevo, Vereracruz, including some nice YouTube videos. It is, I believe, the highest town in the State of Veracruz at 10,637 feet. We parked at the edge of town near the church which is either under construction or being rehabbed and set out with our dogs. Below are some photos from our hike. It is arduous, not only because it is a sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy steep trail, but even more because of the altitude.
You can just see the summit through the clouds here.
The road up from Potrero Nuevo
We passed a man going down with his burro dragging some wood. This wasn´t a recreational trip for him or his beast.
Jocko posing on the trail.
The trail goes into a leafless forest.
A view across the top of Mexico, more or less.
Just some more of the trailwith mist drifting through.
Jim has some pics of the little town which I will post perhaps someday. I am hesitant because there are about ten thousand things I mean to post.