Monday, April 10th – Aerial Tram into the Copper Canyon
There are six individual canyons in the Sierra Madre Mountains, collectively known as the Copper Canyon or Barrancas del Cobre. It is located in Northwestern Mexico in the state of Chihuahua.
Gus joined us for breakfast, which was a generous buffet that offered up a combination of traditional and local foods.
A brief stop on the large hotel balcony/patio to watch the oversized hummingbirds before heading out.
An entire day to explore the canyon starts off with an introduction to the Tarahumara (aka Rarámuri) Indians. They are a semi-nomadic tribe who have lived in this area for many generations. Being fairly remote, and a reclusive people, their way of life has changed very little over thousands of years. Their ancestors lived for generations in the caves and overhangs throughout the canyon.
A simple dance was performed for us by one dancer with shell adornment on his ankles that rattled as he moved. He was accompanied by two musicians, one playing a violin he had crafted himself.
The women are notable for their unique baskets and other hand-made crafts.
I purchased one more small woven basket with a lid, again for $3.
Known as distance runners, the men would toss a wooden ball with their feet or hit it with a bat like stick and run for miles, hour after hour. This was a combination sport and entertainment called rarajipari. Women had a similar activity, but with intertwined cloth rings and a stick.
A morning visit to a local medicine woman was fascinating, and I will be writing an entire article devoted just to that experience as it deserves a post all its own.
Then, finally a visit to the rim of the Copper Canyon where we could step out onto a glass floor and peer straight down the side of the cliff to the valley far below.
There was a lot going on here from venders selling goods, to a world-class zip line (reputed to be the longest and highest in the world), to rock climbing, to the third longest Aerial Tramway in the world at 2800 meters.
We waited in line for a few minutes for our tram to take us across the canyon. They leave on the 1/2 hour. Descending almost 4,500 feet into the center of the canyon provides beautiful viewpoints and more opportunities to check out native artistry.
Pictures of the valley from the end of the tram ride:
Returning to our hotel in time for a late lunch, the afternoon was ours to rest, explore further, or take a one hour hike with our guide.
At 5:00 Manuel (our guide), gave an in-depth lecture on the Tarahumara people, complete with a slide show followed by dinner at the hotel and an early bedtime.
Overnight: Posadas Barrancas
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the opportunity to meet and interact with several of the Tarahumara people. They seemed to be shy, soft-spoken and rather aloof, yet not unfriendly at the same time. The basket weaving skills and speed at which they can create these intricate patterns impressed me.