Copper Canyon Train Ride, Copper Canyon, Mexico
2007 August

The Chepe Train winds its way through the canyons on the Copper Canyon train ride. 

Copper Canyon train ride.

The seats are comfortable with plenty of leg room and the seats recline.  The seats are assigned. 

Copper Canyon train ride.

Divisadero

Divisadero and Posadas Barrancas train stops  Here the Barranca de Cobre (Copper Canyon), the Barranca
Tararecua and the Barranca Urique converge.  Tarahumara Indians have stands there with arts and crafts to sell.

 

First class train riders can stand between cars and enjoy open air viewing. 

The luckiest horses and cows in the world.  The grazing is very good.  Horses are usually tethered,
but cows, burros and goats range free.

View from Divisadero into Copper Canyon.

Chepe (Chihuahua Pacifico) at the Divisadero train stop.  It is the only passenger train in
Mexico. The Tarahumara Indians sell their crafts and also food at the train stop. Copper
Canyon train ride. 

Yes, this is the way they dress all the time. The train only makes one stop a day, and they
walk here from several miles on the other side of the mountain to see their wares. 

Train riders prepare to board.  There is plenty of help getting bags on. 

We caught the train at 5 a.m. in Chihuahua.  The day before we visited the Pancho Villa Museum.

"Pancho" Villa (Francisco Villa) (1877-1923) was a Mexican revolutionary leader.  The museum says
"the only man to invade the United States".  Originally named Doroteo Arango, he was born in Rio
Grande, Durango.  At the outbreak of the revolution in 1910 against Porfirio Diaz, Mexican dictator,
he offered his serves to the rebel leader Francisco I. Madero. He served under the Mexican general Victoriano Huerta and was sentenced to death for insubordination. (Our guide said Villa was
"bipolar.")  He escapted to the US and when Madero was assassinated and Huerta assumed power
in 1913, he returned to Mexico and joined the opposition under Venustiano Carranza. Then they
had a falling out and when Carranza seized power in 1914, Villa led a rebellion against him.

Here is his home, now a museum.

Our first train ride in Copper Canyon ended at the town of Cerocahui.  Our hotel, the Paraiso
del Oso in a mountain valley near the town of Cerocahui in the state of Chihuahua near the train
stop of Bahuichivo.  Doug "Diego" Rhodes is your host.  Here guests enjoy dinner in the dining
room.  Gas lamps are used at night.  Attractions include the17th century mission in Cerocahui
and access to the town of Uriqui on the canyon bottom.  The view of Barranca Urique from
Cerro Gallegos is one of the most spectacular. 

Enjoying lunch in the dining room at Paraiso del Oso.

Hosts Doug Rhodes and Ana Maria Chavez de Rhodes

Courtyard at Paraiso del Oso

 

In the town of Cerocahui

 

 

 

 

Girls' dormitory at the boarding school at the Mission for Tarahumara Indians. 
About 60 boarders, 100 day students are taught by the sisters.

Spectacular weather ... go in August.  Off season, resorts are quieter, rooms more available.

Enjoying a rest in the town square at Cerocahui.  Coke seems to have the monopoly in Mexico!

View going down the mountain

We drove down the canyon to the town of Uriqui.  The views are spectacular, and the pressure
on the vehicle's brakes, equally spectacular.  It's about 30 miles and takes about 4 hours.  Out
guide said there had only been 3 deaths on the road since it was built. 

Cerro Gallegos overlook on the way down to Uriqui.

 

 

A herd of goats at the overlook.

Outhouse at the top

Tarahumaras farming with oxen(?).  See the rows of corn.  They live spread out over the
mountains, preferring not to gather in communities.  They receive free health care from the
government, and are the only ones allowed to burn wood fires in the mountains. 

Butterflies all over the place and here is one!

The Sierra Madres become the Rocky Mountains in the U. S.

There is a cow resting in the shade by the side of the road, a common site.  Lots of little calves, too.

Lunch at restaurant in Uriqui, a veritable tropical garden.  Fresh fried fish, tortillas, some
kind of meat, Cokes and avocadoes.  See the parakeets in the cage on the left?  There is
"good" water everywhere, bottled or purified.

 

Back at the Paraiso del Oso, a walk to the River where there is a swinging bridge for the Indians to
cross.  It ends right at a steep climb into the mountains.  The Guadalupe suspension bridge is 400' long.

 

She's blogging this!

 

 

A spring is discovered!

Stopping at ??gas station?? to fix transmission and get more Cremas (sugar wafers)!

The town of Uriqui

Transmission trouble ... and burro crossing the road.

Propane tanks just sittin' there ...

The room at Paraiso del Oso

View of courtyard.  At night, the most beautiful display of stars and Milky Way.  Go there
August 12th for the Perseid meteor shower.  I bet you know people who have never seen the
Milky Way.

Preparing for the trail ride and Cinnamon the dog sticks close!  Helmet for ATV ride.

 

 

Cinnamon leads the way.

 

The cave of the white crosses, also a symbol to the Tarahumara Indians who lived there. 
There were lots of bones there. 

Relaxing in the lobby at Paraiso del Oso.  There's a python in that cage to the left.

Time to get on the train at Bahuichivo and head south toward La Fuerte, in Sinoloa.

There's an armed military man on each train -- see the machine gun?  This is because someone got on the
train, then stopped it to let his 'gang' board and they robbed everyone.  No more!  Bastante!

We made a new friend, Jose Martine.  All the little boys ran to get the baggage when we pulled up.
The bigger guys picked on him. 

It got hot waiting for the train.  There's a nice station inside though, with restrooms and a
pop machine outside.

On the train you can relax, read, look out the window.  It is quiet.  There's a bar and dining car as well.
But don't expect syrup for your hotcakes.  If you get Jose Maria for a waiter ... you will have an
experience. 

 

Next we arrive at Hotel Torres del Fuerte, in the town of La Fuerte.  First it was the owner's
home and they converted it to a hotel.  Each room is decorated individually with beautiful
objects from around the world.  There is a beautiful courtyard with a mamma duck and 10
ducklings, a bar with classical music and a lovely dining room with great art.  We arrived just
as the sun was setting.

Bedroom at Hotel Torres.

Really exceptional.

Dining room art. There are a lot of satyrs in this painting.  Know the painter's name? 

Waiting for a ride to Chihuahua.

Waiting at the La Fuerte train station.

At last we are on our way and more beautiful scenery.

 

 

Many bridges, many tunnels. 

 

 

 

 

Hitchhikers are allowed to ride between the cars of the freight trains.  The guy on the left
is sitting right over an exposed wheel.

Do you think it would be safer to hitchhike on the top?  Well, there are tunnels ...

There are no restrictions.  If you want to hang out (between cars) and take photos, you sure can! 
The door is closed, but not locked, and goes up halfway. 

 

The Tarahumara Indian women and girls rush along between trains getting ready to sell
their wares to passengers.

Tarahumara girl selling baskets.  She stiffed me for 20 pesos!

Here they come, ready to sell as the train nears the station.

Buenas dias, Gustavo! 

Watch your head!  I can't tell you how beautiful, cool and non-humid the air is!  Some of the
Copper Canyon train riders are native Mexicans.  We met Germans, Italians, French and
other Americans.

Ola, amigos! 

 

Now we arrive at Posadas Barrancas and are driven to our hotel, Mansion Tarahumara.  It is built like a
medieval castle (sort of).  Dining room walls are decorated with mace-like things, pictures of madonnas.  We had Christmas placemats, Frank Sinatra was playing at lunch, and a Mexican singer at night (not mariachi, just guitar).  As is the tradition, we asked him to play La Llorona for Samuel Chester Dunn, I,
God rest his soul in peace, and, as is tradition, he said he did not know it.  :-)  Que le vaya bien Chot, wherever you are.  IN HEAVEN THEY ALWAYS KNOW HOW TO SING LA LLORONA.

Dining room

We were joined by a convention of doctors. 

Our room - 2 BR, 2 full baths, kitchenette completely furnished.  Store on premises that sells postcards,
Immodium and Cokes, LOL.  Tarahumara women sitting out front selling their wares.  Fantastic electrical
storms at night (also in Chihuahua), and needed a heater.  They cannot burn wood fires any more due to
government restrictions.  :-(

Hiking at 8,000 feet - we were up to it.  Went to visit a Tarahumara home.

Lunch was buffet.  Dinner was served.

The walk to the dining hall.

 

Martine on the left, the world's best waiter, and a new dad. 

These dogs were inseparable.  The yellow one sleeping on the Rottweiler.  The Rottweiler always
carried an empty water bottle in his mouth.  It was neat to always have animals around. 
We saw no cats!

Lobby of Mansion Tarahumara, el Castillo.

Now it's a day trip back to Divisidero.  This is the hotel there.  That beautiful painting is
the door. 

 

 

 

 

 

Retail therapy at 8000 ft.

Frontier home

 

Back for another look.  Tarahumara home - isolated.  They scatter out and do not live in communities.

Guess who ... on balancing rock.

 

 

 

Gustavo does the macarena ...

At end of platform is plexiglas so you can really get vertigo.  See my foot there?

 

"This is what my son woulda been doing ... trying to climb over the thing."

Las Tres Amigas

Back to the hotel, there is one of the cows (or burros) always crossing the road.

There is a big indoor pool and a hot tub.

Dinner guests at the Mansion Tarahumara.

Street scene in Posadas Barrancas

Driving back to Chihuahua past apple tree orchards.  Each tree is individually covered with
net to protect it from hail and insects.  These are maintained by the Mennonites who migrated
there in the 1920s.

IS NO ONE IMMUNE FROM THE LURE OF EASY MONEY?  [ article in magazine].  That's how customs' agents have come to view human nature. Witness one of the most unlikely drug rings allegedly operating south of the Mexican border--Mennonites from a community established in the 1920s to dodge conscription and school regulation in Canada. Inspectors who had routinely waved Mennonites through the checkpoints were shocked in 1989 when a dog found more than 200 pounds of marijuana in a truckload of the group's traditional furniture. Now Canada-bound Mennonite farmers in bib overalls get the same once-over as everyone ...

The Mennonites are also doing the tourist thing.  This Mennonite boy is selling cookies and
rolls from the family garage.  They also had bologna and cheese.

The farm in the back

A visit to the Mennonite museum, where the guide spoke fluent Spanish, English and German.

Drive back to El Paso.  These round bushy things become tumbleweeds.

The sun sets as we approach the border.

And lest we forget ... at the border, we waited one hour in line.  It can be 2 hours or more.
What are they looking for?  Drugs going north, and arms going south.

Copper Canyon is larger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

MAGNIFICENT!

SEMIRAMIS, psychic reader, Tarot and astrology
Spiritual path chart, birth chart, help with money, love, lost love, career.