“Sierra Madre, Copper Canyon 2018”

#61
PART 1
Ace, you want photos. Well here are some of the 944 that I took on the trip. The full trip report was just posted on my blog along with a lot more photos. It is hard to summarize in words what a great trip we had. Yes there were some vehicle mechanical issues as well as a few weird situation, including one with a dog, but they were minor compared to the fest of the 16 wonderful days we all sent following Frenchie up down and around Barrancas del Cobre. I have been asked not to share my GPS tracks, so please do not ask.

In the 16 days we traveled about 1,400 total miles with about 600 being dirt roads. The 11 canyons and six major rivers that make up the Copper Canyon area are beautiful to drive through. Some of the roads seem to go straight up or straight down. Very tight switchbacks that rapidly change elevation as you get around them are common as are off camber switchbacks.

The van acting as shade on the Rio Chinipas.
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We stopped at an adventure park on the edge of the Rio Urique Canyon.
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Satevo Mission: burned twice, rebuilt twice, still has bullet holes from the revolution and scotch marks.
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The road to the bottom. This one use to be dirt, it is now paved to the bottom. Just watch out for the boulders that fall off the hillsides. According to Frenchie they paved it in section over seven years.
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View from the cable car at the adventure park. The park also has a 1.8 mile long zip line across the canyon. A 1.5 minute ride.
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View from the Basaseachic Falls overlook. The falls, to the left of the photo, was hardly visible because of the low water year.
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Cave of the Serpent, well worth the hike.
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On the Sea of Cortez
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Bruce's Jeep on the suspension bridge
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Road to the another bottom, this one is dirt.
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#62
Part 2
Got a tour of Hacienda Del San Diego. The owners are in the process of restoring it.
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Train from Creel to El Fuerte
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Sunset over El Fuerte
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The train to El Fuerte winds through the mountains as it clings to their sides.
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Got to visit several cliff dwellings. This one is Cueva Grande
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Mynor's turn on the suspension bridge
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Waupoco Hot Springs. It was great to soak after a long day driving dusty roads.
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Yet another dirt road to the bottom
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View from the cablecar over the canyon at the adventure park
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The ruins at Paquimé
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#63
Those photos bring back so many memories with the exception of the Adventure Park. Never been there and I probably would not get up the courage to take the rides.
Thanks for sharing.
 

FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#64
We get up for our family style breakfast. We settle up our bills and pack our bags as the roads are calling.

We are about a half hour out of town and we pass the campsite from out first adventure. I always look at this site with the memories of us swimming, doing laundry in the river and placing coins in the train track to be flattened by the train.

We do not stop, I just make a comment as we drive by to the others on the radio. This was a long drive back in the old days to our next town. This was a town we did not know much about as it was so remote people did not go there. The original trip took us about 8+ hours to get to the town of Chinipas.

We were on pace to do it in about 6 hours drive time. That was until we hit the once small town of Guazapries for a lunch stop. It was on this route about 12 years ago that I saw a rare black panther running across the road in front of me. I guess that by going this way again I may see the same type of siting again. I have since repeated this route a number of time and it has never happened again. The next thing we know we are handing out small bumper stickers, pencils and stuff to the school kids. If you should ever be in this town you will see small bumper stickers with the word “MOAB” in it. You will know we were here.
We were also able to find vanilla flavoring in one of the stores at a bargain basement prices. We had been looking for this in the big towns and could not find it. Well with stickers and pencils handed out it was time to move along.

We are now headed for the lowest point in Chihuahua, Chinipas. We had to drive through the mining operation and take the newer route the mining company put in to get us out of the center of the mining operations. The road takes us along the ridge where we have great views into the mining operations. It also has views into the canyon and the old narrow guage railroad route with tunnels we used as the road into town, back when.

The rail line went from the mine into town of Chinipas to haul in supplies and ore out to be processed. The rails have long since been removed and some of the tunnels have rocks from the ceiling now on the floor. Eventually we pick up the old rail bed for many miles into town. We make the fuel stop and store our first stop in town. We make our way through town and along the river where we pick a place to set up for the night. Swimming for some others cleaning the vehicles and still others just relaxing while some people go back into town to explore.

The night is warm and stories new and old are shared until we hit the sacks. The stars light up the night as clear skies let the soft sounds from town flow into camp.

Peasant dreams everyone,

Da Frenchman
 
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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#65
PART 1
Ace, you want photos. Well here are some of the 944 that I took on the trip. The full trip report was just posted on my blog along with a lot more photos. It is hard to summarize in words what a great trip we had. Yes there were some vehicle mechanical issues as well as a few weird situation, including one with a dog, but they were minor compared to the fest of the 16 wonderful days we all sent following Frenchie up down and around Barrancas del Cobre. I have been asked not to share my GPS tracks, so please do not ask.

In the 16 days we traveled about 1,400 total miles with about 600 being dirt roads. The 11 canyons and six major rivers that make up the Copper Canyon area are beautiful to drive through. Some of the roads seem to go straight up or straight down. Very tight switchbacks that rapidly change elevation as you get around them are common as are off camber switchbacks.

The van acting as shade on the Rio Chinipas.
View attachment 452061

We stopped at an adventure park on the edge of the Rio Urique Canyon.
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Satevo Mission: burned twice, rebuilt twice, still has bullet holes from the revolution and scotch marks.
View attachment 452063

The road to the bottom. This one use to be dirt, it is now paved to the bottom. Just watch out for the boulders that fall off the hillsides. According to Frenchie they paved it in section over seven years.
View attachment 452064

View from the cable car at the adventure park. The park also has a 1.8 mile long zip line across the canyon. A 1.5 minute ride.
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View from the Basaseachic Falls overlook. The falls, to the left of the photo, was hardly visible because of the low water year.
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Cave of the Serpent, well worth the hike.
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On the Sea of Cortez
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Bruce's Jeep on the suspension bridge
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Road to the another bottom, this one is dirt.
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All I’m seeing is blank spots. But Tapatalk has been acting up lately. Keeps telling me to log in but I already are logged in.

Just after I posted this they started coming in to view. Great photos and thanks for posting.


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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#66
I can't see the dust ...... because if the dirt in my eyes.

We leave our camp in the morning for a day of the last big climbs and out into the flat land of the Sonora Desert.

We will have a climb that takes over a hour to reach the saddle. The road is narrow and the dust is the worst on the whole adventure. The area is a climb through a unique blending of the different eco zones. This has the lower Sonoran thorny scrub, desert scrub, grass and oak, upper Sonoran, Madrean forest. In other words catus, oak, palm trees, pine trees, ferns all growing side by side in a mixed up pot.

We make the first very dusty climb and continue to additional climbs and drops into valleys. The volcanic ash is lighter then talcum powder, The tires sink in up to 8" deep. I watch out of the window as the tires roll along. Every once in a while as the air that gets trapped under the tire it gets a soft spot to escape, it is like a explosion shooting out the powder. It is not to bad if it always blew away from the vehicle BUT that is not the case. I dislike eating others dust but when it is mine I just can not get over it.

Each climb is getting shorter we finally get to the last major 2 mile down hill into the Rio Mayo. From here it is rolling hills and flat valleys into Alamos. The area is very dry at this time of the year. That is bad the fine silt dust/dirt it gets everywhere, if it was wet it becomes the glue, slime and very slippery mud. The good news is we have only 20 more miles of dirt, additional bad news is only 20 more miles of dirt on this adventure.

We have left the mountains and canyons behind us and we are on the cusp of culture shock. Alamos is a historic town built on the supplies that were need in the mines of the Sierra Madre Mts. There were many large homes built here from the money of the mines.

The town is similar to El Fuerte with the style of construction. The similar style town is surrounded with the world of today. For the near future I believe it will be the colonial town of old, but I have watched the new creeping in slowly.

We get settled in at the hotel/RV park for the night. The decision to use the same reaturant from 2015 adventure for our dinner is made. The food is great as is all Mexican food (in my opinion). After dinner we do a walk around both squares in town and enjoy the beauty of the Spanish style of the town.

The walk around town, makes me think of the past. I start talking to keep the tear from showing up. I am able to control myself back to the hotel. Just to be clear we had the special room at the hotel. I will let the other person post up what room this was. Let me assure you it was not what you think!

Good night,
Da Frenchman

XXXXXXXXXX

In reading this I see that I forgot to add in ond days adventures to the post. This is what is missing.
Good Morning Everyone,

We are leaving Alamos behind us as we head north closer to the border. We will be on pavement today. We leave town and leave the past behind us. We are entering the 21st century with stop lights, traffic, fast food and sedan type of automobiles.

The availability of fuel stations, grocery stores surround us as we become adjusted back into our real world. Is what we left behind so bad or is it a picture from the past? Is what we have in front of us better, just different or worse? We all have our opinions, but what ever they are we are here. The toll roads are faster then the free roads, but are they better.

We drive past big cities with modern buildings and back out into the desert of piece and quiet. We get off of the toll road and take the smaller roads out to Bahia Kino. Minor has a place he has stayed at that he has got reserved for our group. We get in the pool and walk the beach as we wind down. Minor has a reaturant picked out that he likes, where we get our great dinner.

We have our last group dinner together as a group of people from many different places and backgrounds. We came together with a common love of overlanding and a desire for adventure. Everyone had different expectations of what they wanted, expected or just wanted to see what was out there. I believe that most of these were met, but maybe not everyone as time controls some of what we could do.

Some very touching words were spoken and shared with the group. We had a challenge in front of us and we met the challenge. We all learned and shared from this experience and have become changed from what we were when we started this adventure.

Returning back to the accommodations, we finish up with a late night around the pool.

The sound of the waves on the beach, like the ticking of the clock relax us as we come back to our quiet place.

Good night

Da Frenchman
 
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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#67
At the wisecrack of the morning I stare out at the glassy water in the sea of Cortez (Gulf of California).

Once everyone is awake and moving around we head into town for breakfast. From here some of the group head up to the Suri village about 20 miles from town. While the others relax. On out return the group dose some splitting up. We are going different ways, some to rocky point, others to the west and others to the east. The adventure is coming to a end in Mexico.

George Marie and I head to the east for the crossing back at Naco completing the circle. We did this as of the time of the day and shorter time to get across the border. We then took the US road Hwy. 80 into Doughlas. I believe that we only had 5 vehicles in fron of us and it was a very quick crossing. We decide to push on through and head for home. It is a 300+ mile additional drive home.

As I finish out this adventure report I have looked at the number of views (on the forum) this has had and I am surprised at the number of people reading it. If I could ask that if you have read the story if I could get you to do a post that says “I have read it!” if it stinks you can say that as well. I am just curious who is reading or following the thread. Do not worry you will not win a free, no expenses paid vacation or a new anything. I am just interested. I will not sell your name, give it away or any of that stuff.

As I wrote this last trip report post, I wanted to pass along some ROF advice. It is free so you get what you paid for.

The adventure into the Barrancas del Cobre has come to a end and we are all safe back at our homes. Just for the record, I worry more about the drivers in the US then the ones in Mexico.


This was a epic adventure for myself and I believe for all of the others. We had a great group of people and we had the natural beauty of the area, the wonderful people who made us feel warm and welcomed to their country, the group dynamics with personalities that blended into a family. We had exciting times, funny times, we had minor mechanical problems all of which we took care of.


I would like to thank all of the people who gave me support and motivation to do this last adventure. There are still mountains and valleys that I have not seen and I will keep chugging along as long as I can. My story and this adventure was more personal this year for me. As I tried to incorporate some of the memories, old routes into this adventure. I actually had different routes for the different adventures I led. Granted they all overlapped at different locations. For me this had been work at times and fun at others. All of the adventures I have led over the years the people that you surround yourself with make the adventure a success or a bust and this was a success.


It is amazing the amount of fascinating and interesting history there is in the Copper Canyon area. When you look at a mountain or canyon without any information you will see just a mountain or canyon. With the handouts and information shared on the radios I feel that everyone got so much more on this adventure, Much more then someone just driving through the area. Each mountain and canyon had a story for us and we listened.


While at the Expo in Flagstaff I had so many people who expressed interest in going to Copper Canyon, that it should be getting crowded in the future. If this ever happened you would not really notice outside of the towns as it is just so big you may never cross paths with another outsider, away from the cities.


Do I wish that it would become more popular? Yes, for the friends and people who depend on the income from the tourist. Yes, for the opportunity to see life in the basic style of existence without the extra STUFF we think that we need. No, for the influx to the First Nation peoples homeland. The once bashful Tarahumara are being forced into a culture they have fought to stay away from. No, for the raping of the land for the minerals and leaving pollution. No, for the development of the outside world forcing change on the people who do not understand the outside world. The 300 year battle is coming to a end, without any winners.


Do I recommend this adventure for everyone? NO! It is not for everyone! It is for the people who want to immerse into the world as it once was and will never be again. It is not for the people who hear things and become afraid and never find out the truth. It is getting you out of your comfort zone and into the world of discovery.


A little about me and some old persons advice. If you are younger you do not know what it is like to be older. If your older you know about what it was to be young as well as older. In my option, Waiting to do this when your older is not the best way, for some people. When you get older some people develop problems that make independent travel more of a challenge. I know this personally as I have had my share of challenges. Most of these would stop most people from continuing on. I was able to do overlanding in my mid 30's and I could not stop the travel. Maybe I am a slow learner as I have just kept going. I have thought that doing this prior to all of my situations was a bit of a challenge. Well nothing like it was during the 7 year period where I had 23 major surgeries. The doctors and wife were upset with me for doing what “I had to do”, but they could not stop me. I remember telling one surgeon the operation they were doing the next day would have to wait until I came back from Copper Canyon. The wife and doctor were not happy with me, but as the doctor said “I can not stop you”! What I am saying is do it now, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. For tomorrow will take care of itself.

May God bless you and all of your adventures where ever they may take you! You may never know what is around the next corner until you go around the corner.

Truly, Thank You for all being a part of the adventures (in person or as a reader)!

Da Frenchman
 
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#68
A little about me and some old persons advice. If you are younger you do not know what it is like to be older. If your older you know about what it was to be young as well as older. In my option, Waiting to do this when your older is not the best way, for some people. When you get older some people develop problems that make independent travel more of a challenge.
Words of wisdom Frenchie. Not all who make it to being "older" remember to apply the wisdom that time and experience have provided them. You on the other hand always have a bounty of experiences and wisdom to share and we are grateful for it.

This trip looks to have been just as exciting and memorable as the many made prior to this year's excursion south. Some terrific narratives and photos have been shared. (Like Mr. Wittman, I wonder about the zip lines myself ;).)

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to record and share another of Frenchie's travels to Copper Canyon.
 
#69
Frenchie, I read all the posts and loved it all. I wish I could have gone on this trip. But the memories of the trip we took to copper canyon with you will last a long time.
I am honored to call you my friend and hop to see you out and about in the future.
Your friend Chuck.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#70
Of course you know I have read and enjoyed this report. In fact I probably read most of what you post eventually. Sometimes it’s just randomly coming across some thread you’ve started, but invariably I’ll stop and read it through, even if it’s too windy.

Love the reminiscing about the old days and ways. As we get older the looking back can be a very long view, of course that is limited by our memory. Looking forward can be a guess; do we have ten more years, or maybe thirty?

Always loved sharing adventures with you, even if I’ve heard your campfire tales too many times. I really hope you will find your way back to the righteous path of the Retired Ol’ Farts. We all miss you.

Ace


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#71
Frenchie

Good read on this being your Last Adventure. That you plan to lead, into Copper Canyon.

I feel so blessed to have gotten to do two of them with you. Also know, that Sharon feels the same.... CW
 
#72
Frenchie, I have followed pretty much all yours adventure whether in person or reading them since I have known you. This last trip to Copper Canyon was just as special as the time I went with you.
I am going to be brutally honest and tell you that the first time I met you, I did not like you very much. You were just a little too chatty for my taste. Fortunately, I went on a few more adventures in which you participated. I learned quickly that you are a wealth of information and have a heart of gold. You have so many stories (true and otherwise) that I don't think I could ever hear all of them in my lifetime. I even learned to appreciate the chattiness. I know we are all unique individuals but calling you unique does not do justice to your extremely rare individualism. I feel very privileged to have shared a number of adventures with you. I hope to share many more.
 

Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
#74
In post #66 I see that I skipped a days adventures and have edited it to be included in the same post.

Da Frenchman
Glad you posted that addition. I remember reading the first version and wondering how you jumped to the Sea of Cortez.


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FrenchieXJ

Expedition Leader
#75
Hi Again Everyone,

I would like to thank the people listed below that have posted or following this adventure. This makes me feel as if the time I spend writing up the story is not lost without being read.

I am sure that there are many others who are reading this also as well, but do not care to post.

Thanks! 4x4x4doors, Ace Brown, ar4me, Asnton, bruceboogaard, cw90yj47, driller, DetroitDarin, gnel, GraceK, Gwittman, kmcintyre, LexusAllTerrain, Luinil, MountainBiker, nagami, Roktaxi, Scott B., texasnielsen.

Thank all of you for being a part of the story. If I did not have people interested in reading my bad grammar and misspelled words I would not be telling my version of the story. Then the off the wall one-liners that pop up and to this day I do not know where they come from.

Is there a empty spot in my heart? Yes! It is not bad as it has moved to my memory where I will always have it, when ever I want to recall it.

I have additional adventures for the future and hope to see my old friends and my new friends join me on them. I toast to the future, since the bread got dried out and I need to do something with it.

Da Frenchman
 
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