Copper Canyon Part 1

Our early introduction to Copper Canyon already had us smitten, but our first full day in Posada Barrancas with our new friends would prove to be an absolutely classic day of travelling. Yet again, Mexico was providing some truly stunning natural beauty. Thanks to the fairly recent addition of an adventure park to the canyon, we would be admiring this natural beauty from some rather unusual view points.


Parque de Aventura Barrancas Del Cobre

Our first full day in Posada Barrancas began as the previous evening had finished (minus the beers), with a hike along the canyon’s edge. Once again, with one of our four legged friends in tow. If this hike was all that we had done for the day I think we all would have considered the day a success. However, at this stage, the day had barely even begun.

After some confusion when we first arrived at the park, we arranged to do the all inclusive package at the Parque de Aventura Barrancas del Cobre. It was a dent in the budget, but over the next two days, Kim and I would be experiencing the canyon from the worlds longest zip line, a Via Ferata course along the canyon face, a 7 Tirolesa (zip line) course around the canyon and a cable car.

First up, we tackled the Via Ferata course, the start of which was a 45m abseil down the face of the canyon. From there, we tracked our way along the canyon face along a series of obstacles, stealing glances of the canyon behind us whenever we dared.

One section took us up through a crevice and into a small cave. The ability to stand on solid ground and take in the view was very much appreciated at this stage, particularly as the next obstacle was a Tarzan swing across a 35m gap! In truth, the jump was easier than it looked, but there was certainly a moment when I was swinging across the canyon that I didn’t fancy my chances of holding on to the wall on the other side.

The Tarzan swing successfully negotiated, we crossed a rope bridge and began our ascent to the top. At the top, we rejoined Mat, who had understandably decided to sit out the activities on account of his vertigo. After a brief stop for a drink, we were straight back out for our next activity, a 2.5km zip line across the canyon.

At 2.5km, the zip line is the longest in the world and the signs mentioned top speeds of 110km/h. Had we had any time to dwell on all of this, it may have been slightly daunting, but within a couple of minutes of handing over our ticket we were ready for our descent. There was very little in the way of safety briefing and I don’t remember a countdown. We were asked if we were “listo” (ready) and when we answered in the affirmative the doors in front of us slid open, something clicked above our heads and we were off!

The acceleration at the top soon had our faces flapping about in the wind as we rapidly built up speed. After the initial thrill, it was actually quite a sedate experience, with plenty of time to experience the canyon from above in the two minutes that it took to complete the crossing.

Safely on the other side, we hiked up a short but sharp section of trail up to the cable car that would return us rather more slowly back from whence we came.

Back at the visitor centre, we tucked into a much needed hot meal. We were yet to find an open restaurant near where we were staying, so there was no way we were turning down the opportunity to eat something more substantial than basic provisions from the local shop.

That evening, back at the cabins, with the temperature once again falling rapidly at night, we all wanted nothing more than a quiet night by the fire. But first, a trip to buy a few beers from one of my favourite beer shops in the world. Normally, to enter that category a shop would need to stock some seriously good beers. This was not the case with this one, the choices were Tecate, Tecate or Tecate. This shop makes the list purely on simplicity. It is signposted from the other side of the village and sells only two things, petrol and beer. “Fuel” either way. A small window at an uncomfortable height, looks into what is essentially someone’s living room (with some fridges). Behind the window the family were going about their daily life, only interrupted by the occasional request for beer or petrol. We never did find out where they stored the petrol…

The next day, Kim and I returned for the last of our activities – the 7 tirolesas. As we had now come to expect, we were escorted by one of our canine friends. Back at the park, we got kitted out in our gear and were back in the thick of it in no time.

Unlike the zip rider the day before, this was back to basics zip lining and all the better for it. Each of us carried with us our own “trolley” that provided our contact with the zip line. At the first zip line, our guide clipped us on and off we went, the simplicity of the setup definitely adding to the thrill compared to the day before. The views were no less spectacular too.

As we made our way around, the tirolesas were interspersed with rope bridges. Whilst these may have lacked the thrill of the zip lines, they did offer a rather more sedate opportunity to take in our surroundings. They also offered some fairly spectacular photo opportunities.


Divisadero

Our activities complete, we once again took the opportunity to grab a hot meal at the visitor centre before we continued on our way to the train station at Divisadero where we could continue our journey on El Chepe. Like clockwork, we were joined by a dog as we set off! This time a large, but dopey looking Alsatian followed us.

The hike along a new section of the canyon was every bit as impressive as the other section.

At Divisadero, we had plenty of time to wait until our train, but a train going in the opposite direction stopped shortly after we arrived. This sparked a flurry of activity from the food vendors at the station (eating at the visitor centre earlier had been a tactical error, the food looked delicious) and rather more lethargic activity from the vendors outside the station.

With stunning vistas and people watching opportunities galore, the time flew by. Soon enough we were rejoined by Cam and Mathieu and were boarding for the next leg of our journey on El Chepe.

By all accounts this leg of the journey is less spectacular than the stretch that precedes it, but is pretty nonetheless. I am unable to corroborate these accounts however, as I slept for most of the journey. All the hiking and adventure adventures over the past few days had left me rather sleepy!

My power nap meant that when we arrived in Creel I was raring to go. It was still a sleepy little mountain town, but compared to our previous stop, it was a heaving metropolis! A choice of restaurants and a small craft brewery were welcome sights when we arrived. A tasty dinner of sopes and tortas followed by an evening drinking a locally brewed porter felt like real luxuries even after a few days in a tiny village. Just to make sure we were all confirming to national stereotypes, as I supped my pint, Mathieu and Cam drank from a glass of red from Baja California. Whatever we were all drinking, we were all excited at the prospect of more days to come exploring the Copper Canyon.

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