“Sierra Madre, Copper Canyon 2018”

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#16
The last of the adventures into the Barrancas del Cobre I will led with groups. The body is getting old and the other things that come with age are here.

The getting to our meeting location was a bit more of a job than I had planned. The winds were coming straight at me for 90% of the drive to Arizona. My average was 12 miles to the gallon (I normally get 16 to 20 MPG) on the highways. I was planning on a night along the way in the desert and splitting the drive up. I got about 300 miles behind me and found a place to stop. Well the plan was a bust as the winds kept me rocking and rolling in the RTT. I figured that after trying to sleep was not going to be a solid plan, I would move along. I got to town and went to the motel where I was planning to spend the next night anyway. I grabbed the key and headed to bed.

Getting to town gave me a bit of time to take it slow for the day. I did some last minute chores as I waited for the group of adventures to show up in town. I got everything set for our formal (Suit and Tie) dinner. We may be overlanders but we are still civilized at meal time.

I had the money changed, insurance, personal and vehicle paperwork ready. Everyone came into town little at a time. Some had done overlanding routes to get to our destination.

The time for dinner came as we went to the formal get acquainted dinner and meeting. We covered the general information and smaller details as we had dinner. To answer your question in your mind did Da Frenchman have a suit and tie at dinner? Yes, he did! I am sure that photos by others will confirm this.

When the information was given out, with maps, history we called it a night. We had a early morning time to cross the border set. This sent everyone to bed early, as we had a full day planned ahead.

Da Frenchman
 
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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#18
Hi Everyone,

I have got word that everyone got back into the US safe and sound. Some headed off on other adventures as others headed home.

Our first day was with a stop to get our Visas and Temporary Vehicle Import Permits. That took about a hour and a half for the group of 11 people. The next stop was to get out of town and on the road. We headed through town with the normal problems of not everyone making the traffic lights. We made it to the highway and got underway. With a gas stop and some 10-100 stops we made it to our first goal. The ruins and museum for a interesting visit into the pre-Spanish culture.

The next goal was to get to Mata Ortiz for our accommodations. Getting settled in the locals brought in some of their gorgeous pottery for us to see. With some walks through town and visits for adult supplies and food we got to visit some potters making their wears. We made arrangements to get pottery demonstrations in the morning. We learned the secrets to making exquisite thin wall pottery. Watch for the new artist making a appearance on the scene.

With the skill learned we head out to Hacienda San Diego for a private tour of this great Ranch. With history lesson we get a better understanding of the more recent past.

The next stop is we head to the Valley of the Caves. On this leg of the adventure we get out first and second delay. We stop to help a local family with a flat tire. In short order we have then patched up and going again. It happens in less then a hour I hear a banging coming from my vehicle. I stop and jump out for a quick check and seeing nothing I ask for help locating the sound. As I start moving a screw with a wire attached to it appears in my tire. With a quick plug replacing the screw we are back on our way.

The delays have set us back in time so we miss the property owner where we need to get access to the valley. The gate is locked and he is not at his home so we fall back to the back-up plan we did not have in place. We checkout another camping location that the owner had just left and left it all locked up. We talk to a lady next door and with her son we find a different lady who is in the process of building a campground. She comes and takes us out to the property and we get settled in for the night. They even bring in enough wood for a fire for 3 nights. It is a nice evening and the stars and moon give us a great show. Let me be more specific the moon is the one in the sky, not ours.

With that Good Night!

Da Frenchman
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#19
Are we their yet?

Hi Everyone,

With the call of the morning we brush the sleep from our eyes and hear the call to moooow over. The cows with the Bull stuff we get to making some coffee.

I inspect the tire and it is still holding the air. We actually did not need to add any air when we got the plug in and it was holding solid.

We have relaxing morning and continue on our route. This route was one of my old routes I used for many years. Because Charlie (who was on the CC trip in 2015) had not taken this route I decided to use it. The route has a little used road for about 15 miles before eventually rejoining the other route. I like these routes as the towns with scattered farms and ranches is Mexico.

What is Mexico? Mexico is people just like us living each day. They work to put a roof above their heads and food on the table. They are hard working, friendly and kind. We smile and wave as we pass by. I try to take time to say hello! We share a few questions and we are on our way. You never know who or what you may learn along the way.

Our first goal for the day was lunch at a basic restaurant, I have used for years. Good basic every day food. I was a little surprised the federal police did not stop by as we ate lunch. This has happened the last 3 years we stopped there. Maybe they are getting to know me or?

Back to the road we get pavement for a couple of hours as we reach the next larger town. That means food restocking, fuel, banking stop lights. With these chores behind us we make out way back to the dirt.

Over the higher mountains and around many sharp corners we dodge logging trucks. This is one of the benefits of being first in line out of the dust but in the sights of the trucks. With the cleaner (not dust free) air you also have to drive, grab the mike to notify the others as you try and let the truck driver know how many other vehicles are behind you. Driving can be exciting!

We arrive at the hot springs where we will spend 2 nights. We pull into the group camping site. We have the whole place to ourselves. As the group looks around we decide to move to the area with the shade and tables set-up. The pools are calling and we get into the warm soothing water we go. For most it is a cold beer and a hot water spring fed pool to sooth the soul.

The zip line is out of order with harness problems. This is not something you want to have a problem with. Which is good for me as I am not a zip line person. Everyone gets to the relaxing mode as we setup next to the river with the sounds of the water flowing by.

I think of the many times I have been here with different groups. The warm water and sound of the river make my mind wander more. Will I ever be back here again?

So, Are we their yet? Yes and No! For some people the Copper Canyon is only Urique Canyon. Then again to others it covers the 3 or 4 canyons west of Creel. Then again others include the additional canyons up to Basaseachi Falls. Then the all encompassing group extend the area to all of the canyons in this area of the Sierra Madre Mountains (extension of the Rocky Mts. of US and Canada). The name “Barrancas del Cobre” or the area of the canyons. Then you have the area called the “Sierra Tarahumara” this is the area that the Tarahumara Natives moved into when the Spanish arrived to what is now Mexico. They were very shy and did not want anything to do with the invaders. They went deeper into the canyons for privacy.

The retreating into the canyons where they would find solitude would be short lived. The search for treasures to be sent back to Spain and Europe brought the new people deep into their land. With the finding of silver, gold and other minerals the invaders came into the remote lands. This meant mines and the need for labors to work them. The invaders would have slave raids to get the workers they needed. The shy quiet people were pushed into a world they tried to avoid.

Back at the ranch. They have shower rooms, rest rooms with flush toilets. The best showers are in the open where they have 3 large pipes with hot spring water shouting out on the concrete slab with a large drain. I take my showers their as I have this feeling that I should try and turn off of the water (I can not waste water). It comes out of the pipe with such volume , but gentle, it sure feels so good, I take a extra long shower, it is like getting a massage.

With more to come.

Da Frenchman
 
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#20
Another great adventure captured and now recorded for the Chronicles of Frenchie!

Wish I could have gone this trip my friend. The manmade canyons of NYC leave a lot to be desired in comparison to CC of MX.

Glad to hear everyone returned safe and sound with only great stories and wonderful memories of the journey. Looking to read more....as soon as you can post it.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#22
Hi Gary and Gary,

Maybe since the 2 of you have been to Copper Canyon you could put together a adventure your self. It would be a bit quieter, bur still a good adventure.

As with any adventure their are great stories to be told.

Da Frenchman
 
#23
We'd love to hear the great stories! Can you share/provide a basic route you did too? Any mishaps? I saw mention of a tire plug.

Gary & Gary... if you ever go down, let me know. I might be interested. I just didn't think my truck, etc. would meet the requirements for this last trip. Would love to find a bit "easier" route.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#24
Hi Gary and Gary,

Maybe since the 2 of you have been to Copper Canyon you could put together a adventure your self. It would be a bit quieter, bur still a good adventure.

As with any adventure their are great stories to be told.

Da Frenchman
I might like to do it again some day, but if I did it would be a few more years.


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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#25
The Caves!

Hi Everyone,

Today we have some waking up for a dip in the hot springs, showering and others to hot coffee. Our plan is to visit some of the remarkable caves in the area. We finish our breakfast and get our legs warmed up as we head out to the first Gigantic cave. This cave is so large that the buildings are 3 stories high. Still in the center of the cave they do not reach the ceiling.

After the short drive to the suspension bridge as I get set to take photos of the group suspended high above the river..... a logging truck is headed our way. The narrow single lane road requires us to move quickly to get out of the way. Standing and watching the bridge shift and sag as the truck crosses, gets your attention. OK! Yes it sags and wiggles when I get on it also, but I am trying to make it do that. We pass on the bridge shot until our return.

We push on up the climb to the turn to the cave. The drive is mainly down to the parking area. Arriving we start getting our gear ready for the hike. Heading down the trail into the side canyon we push on. It is warm at this elevation as we have dropped down from the almost 7,000' summit to close to 3,000'.

The walk to the cave is through trees loaded with “Air Plants” (Their true name are Tillandsia). There are many with beautiful flowers showing off their beauty. They just like hanging around the area, on the tree trunks and branches. They take in the broken sunlight and shower us with flowers.

With the extra dry season they are having in the Sierra Madre Mts. I was surprised that the waterfall over the mouth of the cave still has a trickle of water dropping down. During the rainy season it is a gorgeous waterfall dropping about 80' to the pool below.
The long gone people who occupied this cave had shelter, water and river for fishing and challenging terrine for planting but they had all that they needed.

The rooms with the original ceilings, and coated black from the small fires inside the rooms. The ceiling of the cave has a thick coating of black from the fires. There are small sections where the rock is flaking off and taking the black soot with it. The floors for the rooms above and the rock tools are as they left them. Granted the years have had erosion effect them and as usual modern man destruction to some of it as well.

We enjoy the views that the first nations people must have enjoyed many thousands of years earlier. This may not be a million dollar ocean view it is of the canyons and mountains, it is worth far more.

We return back to the vehicle and hydrate ourselves. We need to do a crossing of the bridge and a 3,500' climb back up the other side of the canyon to access the other caves. With the logging trucks fresh on my mind I set out to the next location. High on the side of the mountain the bench looms out into the canyon. From here you can see for miles up and down the canyon. It is a long way to the bottom of the canyon.

The changes made by the park service, to access for the last 10 years makes the access more difficult for most of the group. I have a solution to shorten up the walk. The old road to a ranch at one point is only feet away from the hiking path. We shuttle people up and down from the parking area. The hike is harder with the steps that they tried to make in the old road leading to the old parking on the flat bench.

The 3 caves are all a bit of a challenge to get to. The largest is only accessed with ropes and ladders, so you hike to a view point across the sheer cliff wall from the site. This is much like the caves and ruins of Mesa Verde in Colorado. The Serpent cave is unique in the steep access to it. It was constricted in a natural arch with a narrow passage way through it. Off of the passage way are rooms. There is a snake serpent section carved into the floor of each room going from one room to another. The last cave is the cave of the mummy where a actual mommy was discovered. They know the mummy was places their on purpose as it was placed with treasures. The mummy is in a museum in Madera.

With the shuttle getting people back to their vehicles we drop back into the canyon and the refreshing waters at the hot springs.

The frogs, dogs and vultures (I am sorry it dose not rime) are all watching us very closely. The tinny frogs which make a nice soothing background sound. The dogs chime in on key. The vultures just look over the group with a smile on their face (Like they know something) we do not.

The evening like most have stories from our past. We all have past, some good and not so good. The stars are in the sky and chairs sitting around in a circle. I could tell you what we talked about in detail, BUT ....... I would not have to kill you, I would just have to remember the stories first. All I remember is the smiles, laughs and wit. The wit is catching with the one liners I give out, that the others are giving it in return. Now that is cool!

Tomorrow is another day and new adventures awaits.

I will be loading up and heading to the Overland Expo. West on Sunday. I have a slight 1,500 mile detour getting their, so I will be on the road until Thursday when I get to the expo to set up. Please stop by the Autohome booth at the expo and say “Hello!”. I will then pick up my sister at the airport on my way home. I will be busy for another week and will post if I get a chance. Be sure and watch for the stories and photos by the others from the adventure.

Good night,

Da Frenchman
 
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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#26
Frenchie, with each post it triggers a memory, like Gary said for him, but most are only partial recalls for me. I struggle to fit your description of events and places with my weak memory. Example being the steps in the old road bed to the caves. I did not do the full hike but did do a section near the top and vaguely recall some oddly spaced steps. Is this what your referring to?

I am enjoying your report and look forward to more chapters.

See you in Flag.

Ace


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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#27
Frenchie, with each post it triggers a memory, like Gary said for him, but most are only partial recalls for me. I struggle to fit your description of events and places with my weak memory. Example being the steps in the old road bed to the caves. I did not do the full hike but did do a section near the top and vaguely recall some oddly spaced steps. Is this what your referring to?

I am enjoying your report and look forward to more chapters.

See you in Flag.

Ace


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hi Ace,
Those are the steps I was referring too. Some times I put in a little to much color in my stories, which should be the truth!

Da Frenchmn
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#28
We'd love to hear the great stories! Can you share/provide a basic route you did too? Any mishaps? I saw mention of a tire plug.

Gary & Gary... if you ever go down, let me know. I might be interested. I just didn't think my truck, etc. would meet the requirements for this last trip. Would love to find a bit "easier" route.
I picked up a screw in a rear tire. It had a wire attached to it and the wire hitting as the tire spun made me stop and search for the cause. I got a plug ready and un-screwed the screw and inserted the plug with less then a 1/4 pound drop in tire pressure. The other situations will be posted as they happened.

Da Frenchman
 
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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#29
We'd love to hear the great stories! Can you share/provide a basic route you did too? Any mishaps? I saw mention of a tire plug.

Gary & Gary... if you ever go down, let me know. I might be interested. I just didn't think my truck, etc. would meet the requirements for this last trip. Would love to find a bit "easier" route.
I picked up a screw in a rear tire. It had a wire attached to it and the wire hitting as the rire spun made me stop and search for the cause. I got a plug ready and un-screwed the screw and inserted the plug wit less then a 1/4 pound drop in tire pressure. The other situations will be posted as they happened.

Da Frenchman
In other words you unscrewed your tire.