PW Travels

Putney Westerfield's Trip Reports

Mexico - January 2001

Mexico’s Copper Canyon

Mexico offers travelers so much: the St. Miguel Allende, Quanajuato, Zacetecas, Morelia and Monarch Butterfly area; Cancun and the Yucatan; the Pacific Coast; Oaxaca; Baja California; and the Mexico City area itself. However, it seems that few yearn for the majesty, the romance, the excitement of the Sierra Madre (remember Humphrey Bogart and "The Treasure of..."). The real treasure is the region's Copper Canyons: five canyons, four larger than the Grand Canyon, plunging from the 8000' plateau down a breathtaking 7000', from freezing nights (and occasional snow) in a cliff-hugging hotel to tropical palms and fruits in the river valleys. The deepest canyons in the Western Hemisphere. The three largest canyons join in one awesome geological formation - though visible only after a long mule ride. Long before the eons of erosion, ancient volcanic explosions formed the plateau. Way back then it was all south of the equator, meaning south of Ecuador! (But, as we know, India was once part of Antarctica).
Then add to this panorama the Indian tribe, the Tarahumara, who have lived in the canyons for at least 1200 years, defiantly isolated, unwilling to intermarry with Mexicans, uninterested in working for them, happy with a rich spiritual community that has no room for greed or wealth or envy. They are Mongols who came across the land bridge of the Bering Straits over 15,000 years ago and who are now almost certainly cousins to each other, all 60,000 of them.
All this and more lured Frank Wheeler and me to this less traveled area of Mexico....
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Mexico 2001