Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Copper Canyon - Creel Tours, Days 2 & 3
We went back to the tour booth located in the town square in Creel the next morning. On our way we ran into this guy(the picture is a bit blurred). There are two groups of Tarahumara. One that lives on the rim of the canyon and make their living by farming and tourism. The other, like the guy in the picture, live down deep in the canyon, don't speak Spanish, and wear the traditional dress. Those that live around the tourist areas, especially men, wear modern dress:
We chose to tour the cave dwellings where the Tarahumara actually live. After touring the caves, we came realize that what we were being shown is an actual dwelling, but is probably not inhabited 365 days a year. As you look around the canyon, best with binoculars, you can see that there are many who still live in the caves. One great place to see this is from Divisidero on the opposite side of the canyon looking towards the hotel. You can see the cave homes underneath(look closely, off in the distance you can see the hotel).The first tour we took was to Cusárare. The tour guide has his own vehicle. Most are 10 year old suburbans. We drove through a Tarahumara ranch where young girls were tending the sheep. We had to pay a toll to pass through their land and arrived at the church. We passed ancient burial grounds and toured the church. It has undergone major restoration. An interesting point about the Tarahumara is that the government, missionaries, churches and private organizations have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the area over the last 60 years. As with the indigenous people of the U.S., you can't change a culture. To date, it appears that the government programs attempt to retain the culture, yet provide basic needs and education. The education system includes bilingual teachers. Nearby is the Museo Loyola which houses over 30 rare and authentic 17th century paintings.

The guides have their own take on what goes on around the Copper Canyon. I guess you need to take it all with a grain of salt and sift through the information for yourself along with observations. As we were passing through the ranch and we saw young girls tending the animals we wondered where the boys and men were. As the days past, we realized that you only see women and children selling souvenirs. We went on to the "cascadas" or waterfalls. The weather was dry and it was April so there wasn't much water falling but it was still a great ride and conversation. We arrived at the waterfalls and there were quite a few tours. Most people went down the canyon to the bottom of the falls and took photos.Right, a picture of me in front of the waterfall :) Off we go to Divisidero and the greatest boondocking spot of all time. Level, quiet, and complete solitude as we sleep over the edge of the canyon.

Today I have to have some a/c work done on the car and I want to spend the night in Allende to see if I can resolve the 12V problem I am having. I'll try and post some pics as I go throughout the day. Have fun, enjoy life!

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