Adventure by Rail in Mexico’s Copper Canyon

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The true test of Balderrama readiness loomed, as we disembarked the train in the wilderness. Photo by Carol L. Bowman
The true test of Balderrama readiness loomed, as we disembarked the train in the wilderness. Photo by Carol L. Bowman

Posada Barrancas

After six hours of these incredible vistas, we disembarked at Posada Barrancas. Here the true test of Balderrama readiness loomed, as other than a run-down deserted stationhouse and a few Tarahumara women sitting on the platform weaving palm and pine needle baskets, we stood smack dab in the middle of the wilds.

Not to fear, Balderrama is here! Within seconds of landing on the platform, I heard the familiar “Are you Bowman Carol?” and I knew we were home free.

Tarahumara Indians live in homes nestled into mountain crevices. Photo by Carol L. Bowman
Tarahumara Indians live in homes nestled into mountain crevices. Photo by Carol L. Bowman

Rugged looking cowboys scooped up our bags and placed them in the back of a pick-up truck. A waiting van collected its two passengers and ascended one bone-jarring mile, rut after rut, to our canyon retreat. What kind of hotel could be built up here, I wondered? We were ready for rustic, but we were not prepared for the surprise as we crested the hill.

These 40,000 square kilometers of uplifted, unforgiving volcanic terrain are home to 50,000 Tarahumara Indians, living in communities of about 100 residents each. From our perch, we watched three families who nestled their homes into a mountain crevice below. Tarahumara women sold intricately woven pine needle and palm baskets to travelers to sustain their families.

 

The Hotel Mirador Posada Barrancas. Photo by Carol L. Bowman
The Hotel Mirador Posada Barrancas. Photo by Carol L. Bowman

Hotel Mirador

Balderrama’s Hotel Mirador package included three sumptuous meals per day since there was not one hovel or hut anywhere nearby to buy food. The dining room also overlooked the canyon rim, allowing uninterrupted viewing of awe-inspiring vistas.

Hummingbirds that flocked to the sugary feeders hanging from the rafters added to the ambience. We hiked trails down the mountainside, meeting Tarahumara families along the way. Recently a cable car for daring souls that shoots across the canyon has been added to the list of auxiliary adventures to explore the area.

Tarahumara women wait patiently with their children to sell their baskets to travelers. Photo by Carol L. Bowman
Tarahumara women wait patiently with their children to sell their baskets to travelers. Photo by Carol L. Bowman

We inhaled the canyon air and majestic images one last time from our terrace, before heading for the nine-hour train ride back to Los Mochis. The Balderrama Santa Anita Hotel, where we could ease back into the world of email and traffic before returning to Guadalajara, served as our journey’s final stop.

The vistas on the return trip provided different perspectives of the tunnels, bridges, and peaks. We disembarked from the train at 10:30 PM, wondering if Balderrama Tours could have a perfect record.

A young man quickly approached, taking my suitcase in his hand. “Are you Bowman Carol?”

If You Go

Note: Independent travel can be booked through hotelsbal@mexicoscoppercanyon.com, or website www.hotelesbalderrama.com/en/coppercanyon.html . Call 1-800-896-8196 US or 1-866-780-2813

Author’s Bio: After a life-long profession of treating the mentally ill at a PA psychiatric hospital for 33 years and also serving as its Director of Admissions, Carol retired to Lake Chapala, Mexico in 2006 with her husband, to pursue more positive passions. Her family thought that she, too, had ‘gone mad.’ She’s been teaching English to Mexican adults for ten years, in a program operated by volunteer expatriates and writing for local on-line and print publications. Using her adventures experienced during visits to over 80 countries to capture a niche in travel writing, Carol also dabbles in ‘memoir.’  A frequent contributor to Lake Chapala English magazine, “El Ojo del Lago,” she’s won several literary awards from that publication, including Best Feature in 2010 and Best Fiction in 2014. She also netted a story regarding her psychiatric field work in the published anthology, “Tales from the Couch.” 

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