Saturday, April 18, 2009


January 27th and 28th

Areponapuchi is a small village just 5 miles along the lovely, lovely smooth tarmac road from San Raphael and it‘s the closest you can get to the canyon rim. So after the torture of all those dirt racks, we celebrate a return to proper roads with our shortest day on tour.

This is what it has all been about, copper canyon - a region containing 20 canyons in an area 4 times larger and also deeper than the grand canyon. This is an 1800 metre drop in to the abyss - that's about 4 Empire State Buildings and an Eiffel Tower! Sue stands at 2300m (7700ft) amongst conifer and pine where the ground freezes at night, and looks down on the hot sub tropical climate at just 500m (1650ft) altitude, way below…

It’s dizzying stuff as a teeny tiny Sue tries to establish some sense of scale….

Whilst pondering just how close she came to a luxury hotel on this tour….

One man and his dog - I am adopted by a local pooch who follows me everywhere…

The eye grapples with the mind to take it all in….

Amazingly people live here and there are huts dotted amongst the creases of rock, hundreds of metres below…

Hiking down, deep into the canyon you feel the temperature begin to rise as you lose altitude. We find a school house with tracks radiating out in all directions from it, connecting up the valleys and linking the building to homes; a web of knowledge fanning outwards. Presumably the tracks fade in and out of existence as children reach and outgrow school age. The climbs these children make for their daily lessons is astonishing…

An indigenous tribe of Indians- the Raramuri , pushed ever further in to the mountains by the 16th century advance of the Spanish call this inhospitable place home. The name means “those who run fast” and refers to their legendary abilities during the hunt, chasing down deer on foot by simply exhausting the animal over a period of up to 20 hours. Nowadays they compete in punishing foot races up to 100 miles through brutal canyon terrain. Seriously impressive stuff!!

Simple dwelling, but what a view….

We climb back up to the rim as the sun begins to tease an amber glow from the rocks….

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