We arrived to Creel in the intention of staying for a few days, fill up with town-y things, grocery, water, catch up with things on the internet and do some hiking and biking.
We found the highly recommended 3 Amigos tour shop, where we can hire mountain bikes, get advice on tours and road conditions around the canyon. We found Ivan the bright, friendly and very helpful owner of the shop there. His deep love for and knowledge of the Copper Canyon radiated through his views and recommendations. He is also an excellent (professional) photographer and we could enjoy his work in the office. After hours of enjoyable talk we rented a couple bikes for the following day.
Then I got ill. Some bug that knocked me completely out for 3 days. Well, luckily we were at a place where it was cool (rainy season just started so there were showers every day), we had water and food (though I couldn’t eat for 3 days) Apart from the ever-barking stray dogs (and the sight of them! Man, some were in a real poor state), it could’ve been a worse place to stuck. John had a few hikes on his own, did some tweaks on BURT and did some shopping while I was just sleeping all day and all night.
A few days later (still slightly weak but) I was getting better so we went for our bike ride. It was beautiful. The area has wonderful hills with amazing rock formations and a few indigenous villages. It was very nice biking though this area.
We have been in Creel for 10 days so when I felt strong enough and we had the chance to catch up on our emails, shopping and fill up with water, we were ready to move on. Taking Ivan’s advice and Mario’s satnav coordinates we finally left.
After a few hours smooth drive we arrived at the Parque de Aventuras Barrancas del Cobre (the Copper Canyon Adventure Park) Where we stayed 2 days, amazingly parked up (for free!) by the very edge of the canyon. And did some really amazing hikes down to the bottom of the canyon and back and tried the zip-line adventure.
John wasn’t entirely impressed with (mainly) the zip-line crew. To be frank, they were slightly cocky and unfriendly almost grumpy. Considering the lack of tourists (and the price of the tour) a bit friendlier attitude wouldn’t hurt. But what can we do…? Tried to focus on the activity, and that was actually fun.
Next day we moved on towards Cerocahui where we knew where we could stay (still from Mario’s coordinates) This was a out of town ranch-hotel, Hotel Paraiso del Oso with large area of land and a river. We had the choice to park up behind the hotel or by the river. We chose the obvious and stayed there about 3-4 days.
After a few lovely days with hikes we set off for Urique. We knew it will be a slightly demanding drive so woke up relatively early and made a move. The paved road long left us a few days ago before we got to Cerocahui but this was much narrower, steeper, plus we had to cross rivers and had a couple trucks packed with the machine gun guys passing us by. (by this time we heard that sometimes they are actually un-uniformed police force) Anyway, we got the same reaction which was absolutely nothing. They whizzed by without looking at or care for us.
The GPS predicted 40 minutes for the 36km drive…. Ahem, it took 5 hours but we finally got to Urique, only to find that it had subtropical climate (sticky heat again!) with tropical trees. Lovely looking but not good for us. We got ourselves into a pickle driving in to town through the relatively narrow streets with branches far too low for us. So we found that the campsite, we thought we’d stay at, had a tree in front with a low branch that stopped us getting in. I felt a bit uneasy because it was getting late in the day and this was our only shot. We are 5 hours away from Cerocahui, where we came from, and at least 5-6 hours away from the next town (where we’re going tomorrow) The only thing we knew that we have to leave this town as it’s too low for us. We were just hoping that we’ll find a safe place for wild-camping. For our surprise there was small village just 5-6km from Urique on our way. Spotted a village shop with a relatively large area at the back so I jumped out and asked if we could park up for the night. The friendly owner said yes so we stayed there. We ended up sitting outside of his shop with a few beers and some of his family members (wife, kids, brother-in-law and his wife, kids, father and mother!) We had an entertaining few hours chat in Spanish! Which was fun because John and I have all together 15 words of knowledge of Spanish, but somehow, the few words and a desire to understand made it.
We had an early start. We learnt the previous night that the drive ahead of us is more difficult than the one we came down to here. Starting with a river crossing due to an unfinished bridge.
Then roads like these…
Again, our GPS predicted just over an hour for this 63km drive. Now, one might enjoy the off-road experiences of these unforgiving roads but It took us 9 hours with constant concentration, with only a half an hour lunch stop so I was very happy when I saw this:
Hurrah! It only lasted for 10km then back to the unpaved road for another 15km before we arrived to La Bufa…
Next La Bufa, Sherry and Carol.