Tuesday, January 24, 2012

shadow and light

This is the way to start a day.  Any day.

The sun rising over Copper Canyon.  Watching the morning light play over the canyon walls was worth the price of this trip.  I could have stayed in our hotel for a week -- just to indulge in photography.  I have always wanted to be Monet at Rouen.

This was another travel day with various stops along the way.  But our first choice of travel was a change of pace.  A cable car that takes gawking tourists from the canyon rim on a 1.8 mile cable to a platform about 6600 feet lower.

The views, of course, are amazing.  Being suspended over the canyon helps tourists to realize just how magnificent this site is.  What took Nature millions of years to dig, we take in within an hour or two and are on our way.

Of course, this is what I would have preferred.

The combination of ziplines at Copper Canyon is the longest and fastest in Mexico.  Those superlatives were enough to tweak my adrenalin and quiet my better sense.  Unfortunately, we did not have time to complete a full run and make it to Creel on time.  So, there was no sense in starting.

Maybe next trip.

I did get to put some of my adrenalin to good use, though.  On each tour, the guide climbs out onto balancing rock that rests at the end of a narrow cliff shelf.  He then rocks back and forth to the applause of the tour group.

Well, I had to have a piece of that.  I wandered out onto the shelf, but I did not climb up on the balancing rock because of the wind gusts.  (I do have some sense.) 

But it was a thrill.  What you cannot see is that the three of us are standing inches away from a precipitous drop of thousands of feet.

My adrenaline having been sufficiently burned, our group climbed into two vans for a trip to Creel.

Along the way we stopped at a lake, an eighteenth century mission church (Mision San Ignacio), and two rock formations (Valley of the Mushrooms and Valley of the Frogs).  At each stopped we were greeted by Tarahumara women and children selling hand-made crafts.

Yesterday, Kathe suggested a lunch place in Creel.  I love birria.  She said there was a small restaurant one block from the train station.  Our guide recommended the same place.

And a good suggestion it was.  The name of the place is El Tungar.  Two young women serve up every imaginable dish that a working Mexican might enjoy.  Some I have never heard of.

Tonight we will rest in Creel.  Then we are off to the Mennonite Camp in the morning with an overnight stay In Chihuahua.

For some reason, I suspect my sunrise in Creel will not match the one I watched this morning. 

But isn’t that just a theme and variation on life in general?


Don Cuevas said...

Back in the early 90s, while in Creel, we'd eat at a little joint that looked like El Tungar, in the same position to the railroad tracks. It was run by an older woman named Graciela, and the burritos, if I recall correctly, were excellent. 

We noticed small bottles of soy sauce on the counter, and when we asked what hey were for, she told us that Thursday evenings were comida China time.

That inspired me to schlep ingredients for Hot and Sour Soup in my pack around a wide ranging loop of northern Mexico the following year. Then, on arrival, I cooked up the soup at her house.

Most of my enjoyment of visiting the Copper Canyon came from interactions with local people and other travelers. The scenery was always secondary for me.

Saludos,Don Cuevas 

Kathe said...

I have been eating birria there since 1994 so I bet it's the same place. I didn't really connect with the owners in any way, but do remember how gracious they were to my succession of little boy beggars whom I would take to eat there instead of giving them money.

I'm glad Steve found it. How was the birria, Steve?

Felipe Zapata said...

Good that you passed on the zipline.

Nita said...

The zipline I'm sure is great. I saw the canyon the old-fashioned way: climbing down one of the rickety ladders bolted to the cliffs. Quite an experience, especially with short legs and a tall rise between rungs.Glad you are enjoying the trip!

Steve Cotton said...

And I would have liked to do that, as well.

Steve Cotton said...

Maybe.  I'm not so certain.

Steve Cotton said...

The birria was some of the best I have ever eaten.

Steve Cotton said...

It sounds as if it may be the same place, but without the former owner.  No soy sauce was on view -- even though lots of hot sauces were.

Steve Cotton said...

It sounds as if it may be the same place, but without the former owner.  No soy sauce was on view -- even though lots of hot sauces were.

Steve Cotton said...

It sounds as if it may be the same place, but without the former owner.  No soy sauce was on view -- even though lots of hot sauces were.

Steve Cotton said...

It sounds as if it is the same restaurant, but without the former owner.  The Chinese food seems to be gone.  At least, there was no soy sauce.  Just lots of bottled hot sauces -- and a few fresh selections.

Don Cuevas said...

I imagine that Sra. Graciela has by now passed on to her reward.

It was one of those simple places with tasty, satisfying food to which we returned multiple times.

Saludos,Don Cuevas 

Steve Cotton said...

And, if I get back to Creel, I will stop again.

Paty said...

I have looked into a horse-packing (mules actually) trip into the Canyon.  A nice, slow way to see, hear and smell the Canyon.

Steve Cotton said...

An interesting approach.