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The adventures of the Mel

Into Copper Canyon

MEXICO | Saturday, 22 March 2008 | Views [695] | Comments [2]

I have just returned from the most amazing experience. I don’t know where to begin! When I left you last readers, I was headed into Copper Canyon for Easter. I caught the train at 7 in the morning for the (almost painfully) slow journey to the canyon. The scenery on the first half of the trip was essentially barren desert, devoid of colour though not life; the landscape was spattered with small communities, cattle, goats and the occasional tree. I spoke to a few people, including a lovely woman who knew a bit of English, and when the train stopped at Divisadero she took me out to see the native crafts and the spectacular view of the canyon which was hidden from the train tracks. In a word (or two): simply breathtaking. Or in three; wow, wow, WOW. We gazed out from a steep precipice (thankfully from behind a fence) and looked at the tree covered canyon(s), extending to the horizon. Just stunning.

After that the woman helped me order a couple of Mexican ‘burritos’, which were essentially a green capsicum covered in a batter-like substance plus cheese in a flour tortilla. Sounds not that appetising, but it was great. And it only hurt me a little bit! The train went for another few hours and I disembarked at Bahuichivo, the nearest station to the place I was staying.  I’ve also just realised that one of the best things about doing stuff and telling you about it is that my parents can’t really berate me. Well, you guys can try, but there ain’t nufink you can do about it!!

Anyway….the next part was a little scary. When I got off the train, I was expecting an American to be there waiting for me, but only scary little Mexicans. Many tried to offer me a lift, and I gracefully declined. Then the crowd starting thinning, and a scary little Mexican (okay, he wasn’t actually scary, but go with it for the story’s sake) approached me and spoke to me in rapid Spanish. I fumbled my way through saying that my hotel was going to pick me up, and he either said ‘no they won’t but I’ll take you’ or ‘no I’m here to take you’. Fairly certain it was the former, I tried to decline but he ushered me along to his pick-up truck, with his entire freaking family in it. I looked around frantically, but the family just smiled sweetly at the confused gringo and swept me into the truck. My consolation prize was the gorgeous toddler in front with me who thought I was hilarious. So we drove along this ridiculously ill-kept road for about half an hour to the lodge I was staying at, the Paraiso del Oso, about 7km out of a small, 1000-person town called Cerocahui. When I arrived I indeed found out that the guy wasn’t affiliated with the lodge in any way, just looking to make a quick buck. I guess that’s the one thing about this country – very rarely are you in any actual danger, but people just want to jib you for money. They charge you $30 for something that’s worth $10, but when you consider your wealth versus their poverty, it’s something that I can live with.

Anyway, I got in and the lodge paid the man and apologised profusely that they had missed me at the train station. Doug, the owner, should be arriving any minute because he rushed down to get me (the train was earlier than expected) but these scary little Mexicans had swept me up too quickly. When Doug arrived, he was a warm boisterous kind of friendly; apologised, swept me up in his arms and whisked me away for a margarita. Yep, he instantly won my heart. Physical affection + vivacity + alcohol. Could do no wrong. The guide books describe him as ‘loquacious’ and I couldn’t agree more.

The lodge was just beautiful; it had a ranch kind of feel, with a beautiful courtyard filled with trees and littered with hummingbirds, which I watched for a couple of hours later on. Inside the individual rooms were gorgeous little fire-stoves to help keep warm at night. Although it gets to around 35 degrees during the day, it falls close to zero at night (the beauty of deserts I guess), and (particularly in winter) you may often need the fire on at night.

The lodge is named for the rock that looks like Yogi bear (I shit you not – check the photos) [oso means bear], but if you ignore the humour of this part, the rock formation is stunning to look at. All in the backyard of the lodge. All this and meals included! I had the best meal I’ve had since being here, including an unbelievable soup, though I couldn’t tell you what was in it.

Over the course of the night, I found out that the trip into the canyon was overnight which meant that I’d miss the train and then the flight and all the reservations I’d made for the next few days. Crap! Rule number one: Things always go wrong. Ah well, I could go into town the next morning (there is no phone at the lodge) and try to change my flights and reservations so that I could join them on the trip. I didn’t come all this way for nothing! But I was forgetting rule number two: Things always work out. Turned out a lovely couple, Pablo and Norma, were driving to Chihuahua on Saturday anyway, so they offered me a lift, which meant I could attend the Easter festival AND eat my cake too.

Content with this, I snuggled down and went to sleep. For the first time in a while, I felt comfortable and looked after. Sigh of sweet, sweet contentment.

Got up in the morning and had the most unbelievably awesome shower – hot, good pressure…could this place get any better?? Packed up my gear and got ready to head into the canyon for the Good Friday celebrations, which are worthy of their own post…..

Copper Canyon photos



Hey booboo lets go find us a picinic basket... tehehehe, u should of went on a picnic right in front of that rock and indulged in the irony that he couldnt take it

  jordmans_quest Mar 23, 2008 6:59 PM


You're right Mel, your father is going to freak when he reads this entry!

  Gloria Mar 23, 2008 10:36 PM

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