An assorted group of us decided to travel to see Copper Canyon/ Barrancas del Cobre by train , plane and bus over a 5 day trip , staying in 4 different hotels .
Copper Canyon is longer than The Grand Canyon by several miles . It gets its name from the coppery green mountains
We went via El Chapo`s (the notorious Drug Lord( who escaped from prison via 2 mile tunnels on a Suzuki) hometown of La Fuente. The people there adore him , he is a bit of a Robin Hood to them as he helps the people , especially the poor.
In fact the original “Narcos ” are sorely missed as they were for the most part philanthropic , but the new breed of Drug Lords do not even hold fiestas for National holidays I was told in disgust .
Oh and guess what , Ajijic , my local town, and the surrounding area, are safe because the “gringos ” bring so much employment to the place that they are left in peace .
Back to The amazing Copper C :
Tectonic plates caused this huge movement of land mass , whereas The Grand Canyon, USA , was caused by the sides growing upwards whilst the river was going even deeper .
In fact , as a matter of interest ,Mount Everest is still growing upwards .
We took the The famous Chepe train . It snakes it`s way along one side , sometimes vertiginously , sometimes sinuously going in circles to reach ever higher . Apparently it took 80 years to build and was initially for moving cattle from Kansas City to the Pacific coast . Of course as soon as it was built it was redundant as refrigeration had bloomed .
One of our group Pierrette is a Yoga teacher , so we have been thanking the day ahead with an Ommm or two , planks and tree poses et al. Invigorating .
Whereas we all sweated away in the early morning of La Fuente , we were chilled in the mountain mornings, just some 7 hours away by ( a slow) train . The second morning Pierrette and I were in full downward dog looking out over the canyon when literally two local dogs sat down in front of us and curiously looked on . I kid you not …. .The pose became a little wobbly.
The morning , a small group of us walked/ ambled more like for 2 hours up through the National Park area to the main visitors area . It was very quiet and peaceful.The breeze shifting gently through the heavy and profuse downward hanging pine needles . Our guide a blue eyed Mexican ( his ancestors were French ) ” vaquero”( cowboy) sporting his summer stetson , cowboy boots , Levis and coloured shirt , Not a trace of hiking paraphernalia on him . He also as well as our guide picked up litter , plastic bottles , sweety wrappers etc and carried them until he could dispose of them..He is proud of this area where he was born.
Our destination was the Visitor Centre and here our hopes were dashed of a ride on the funicular and a whizz down the Zip Ride , as both were down for repairs .Had so wanted to have a ride but did think I might need plastic knickers .
Unbeknownst to Donald Trump , the Chinese had a delegation , staying in the Hotel Divisadero Barrancas , visiting this magnificent Mexican wonder , in ” brotherhood” as they also possess an enormous canyon , Enshi .Now the Chinese really know how to build a wall.
From the very hot and humid Los Mochis , where our journey began to the cool and dry air of the mountains . The train followed the sides and curves of the mountain , sometimes vertiginously , other times through tunnels and always with workmen , sleeping in hammocks or tents alongside the tracks , continually maintaining the rails , removing rocks and stones that tumble down .
Most of us train travellers put to good use their iPad , cameras, phones etc recording this incredible scenery . people are allowed to hang out the open half doors that were on either side of each carriage. No “Elf & Safety “. Just had to be a bit active when a tight tunnel hoved into view.
Indiana Jones was close to mind when we waited for the train at the station for the 2 nd part of our journey. .
You walked up a concrete incline with colourful stalls selling necklaces , fine wool scarves , belts and the usual touristic paraphernalia. Local women cooked on log fired stoves, with the smoke being sucked up aluminium chimneys poking through the corrugated iron roofs and sealed by concrete. Tortillas were being heated up on metal platters . All sorts of ingredients in bowls , to make up tortilla a la carte .There are only two trains a day . But the “cooks” keep the fires going even when the trains have long gone for any peckish tourist / local worker passing by . They were scrumptious , although I will admit I bought one for a very skinny , female dog with pendulous teeties , obviously nursing.
The local dogs potter about looking for the odd morsel
We then took the train again to Creel .
A sort of one horse , charming tourist town , with the locals buzzing around on small dune buggies.The funniest tiny train took us on a tour . The one “wagon ” we sat in was packed .Knees knocked knees. The drivers wagon area as well.
The first 10 minutes of our 50 minute jaunt was by way of the local petrol station to fill up. .The axles squeaked and squeaked, there was actually nothing to see but did we care ? Heck no. There was a band of ladies , Mexican ladies , from Mexico City . They were telling each other jokes . They sang individually .Then we all sang along at the tops of our voices .La Cucaracha and other such gems. It was charmingly nuts and very happy . The only dour point was a rather large wall painted with the 8 faces of local men who had been murdered in 2008 by the ” Narcos “.
Bought beautiful scarves in the softest wool on this trip. Highly recommend
Anyway the rest of the trip passed in a bit of a blur.
Flew home from Chihuahua to the balmy weather of Guadalajara and home .