40 Day Mexico Copper Canyon Jan 2010 travel blog

We’re back in Los Mochis after 3 nights and 4 days in the Copper Canyon. Here’s the details

Day one – We board the train at 6 AM, yes 6 AM, and start the ride up the canyon. The first couple of hours are traveling across the fertile crop lands before arriving in El Fuerte. This is the base of the Sierra Mardre Mountain range. That’s kind of the equivalent of our Rocky Mountain range. Then we entered the canyon and started crossing the 37 bridges and 86 tunnels along the rail. The train doesn’t travel very fast so don’t think of this as a high speed ride. Sometimes the train rock or sways a little much but it’s bearable. The windows are large and view is great while we just relaxing in very comfortable chair. If you want the really clear picture, you go between the cars and stick your head out the top half of the loading door. They leave them open. You have to be careful and watch what is coming down the rail or you might get hit by a branch. The lower part of the canyon is mountainous and covered with tropical vegetation. However, you can look up the canyon and see beautiful sheer cliffs and mountain tops. We follow the river (always up on the mountain side) as it winds its way up the very long valley. The train is a first class Mexican tourist train and it stop several time dropping off and picking up passengers along the way. We hopped off at Posada Barrancas for the bus ride to the El Mirador Hotel. A cold front had just passed and it was cloudy and cold. We felt sorry for the Tarahumara Indian girls that were waiting for us with their baskets outside the hotel. Then the group went on a small canyon walk to stretch our legs and work up an appetite and thirst for later. This is the hotel where every room has a gorgeous view to the east of the canyon. The hotel sits right on the western canyon rim at about 7000’. Our Happy Hour was lead by a wonderful solo guitar player and singer. He was real good and had everyone sitting around the fireplace dancing and singing by the end of the hour. We all had a great time. That was followed by great dinner and off to bed for the night.

Day 2 – A full buffet breakfast at 8 AM and off by bus to our tour of Divisadero. Before leaving we were able to spend a little more time with the Tarahumaras Indian girls and let the basket shopping begin. See Martha later for details. Our bus made several stops along the rim of the canyon giving us plenty of time to shop for more baskets and enjoy the magnificent views. We had opportunities to walk out onto a small platform over the canyons edge, cross a walking bridge over part of the canyon, and watch our guide rock a big bolder that rested on the edge of the canyon. It’s referred to a “Balancing Rock”. Here we also visited an interesting market where one of the specialties was eating a Tortilla filled type pie that you get to select what goes inside it. Oh, it’s cooked on a modified 55 gal barrel. There is not just one of these but, I’d guess, ten vendors. So if you don’t see what you like, just mossy over to another. Then the bus took us to Creel were we checked into our individual cabins.

All of the places we stayed on the tour are owned and operated by the Balderrama family hotel chain. They specialize in tourism. All first class places. Well, at least for Mexico. These are the top of the line accommodations for the area. After a box lunch, we headed off on the bus to tour a Tarahumara Cave, view unusual rock formations and in general get many more opportunities to buy more baskets. See Martha for details. Back at the hotel we watch TV and get caught up on the news before going to Happy Hour and Dinner. This time our 3 man band wouldn’t stop playing until we tipped them. I could have done without this group.

Day 3 – After our Breakfast at 8 AM we walk about a mile to the downtown area and wait for the train to take us to Bahuichivo. This is a jumping off spot where we pick up the bus and head on down a dusty road to Cerocahui. Yes, I can actually pronounce all of these names now. After putting our bags in our room we go next door to visit the Tarahumara girls at the Catholic Mission. We have all been lugging school supplies and other stuff for them since we left the States. They sang a couple of songs and we had a great time seeing them. Off to another Happy Hour and dinner. Both were very good. The new 3 man band was so-so, and again, I could have done without them.

Day 4 – After a night of “keeping the fires burning” (I mean that literally as our heat for the night was a stack of wood and a pot belly stove), we are off on another bus tour to the rim of the Urique Canyon. The road was a former mining road and sometimes we were looking over the sheer edge of the Clift. They say they haven’t lost a tourist yet. This tour location still needs a little work but the views are spectacular. Before heading back to the train we all walk around town and visit the 300 year old church next to the hotel. About 3 PM we board the train and arrive back in Los Mochis at our RV about 10 PM. Were all really happy to be back and enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep in our own bed. I know I’m leaving out a lot of details, but you get the idea.

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