11. Copper Canyon (Part Two)
Buffets are dangerous. We have no concept of feeling full and we want to try EVERYTHING on offer (that appeals), so we always come away ready to burst. Even when it's a simple breakfast buffet of cereal, toast, eggs and refried beans, we go to town. When it's included in the price of the room and it means we can save money on food later in the day, there is no saying no. We never, ever learn our lesson.
This morning we walked into town (a.k.a. the two streets with small, rundown buildings lasting all of 200m) and hired a scooter. We wanted to explore the canyon and this seemed the easiest and cheapest way to do it. 45km later we arrived in Divisidero, our destination for just one purpose: the world's longest zipline (at the time). Two and a half kilometres, up to 100km/h, straight across the canyon. I'm a bit of a thrill seeker and when I saw this advertised, I knew I wasn't leaving until I had ticked it off the list. Danny took one look at the ride and backed out. I was all in.
The zipline was set up so that I was sitting in a sort of swing, which was a little different from most ziplines I had experienced. Going over the edge was definitely nerve-racking, but after this it was as peaceful as a hot air balloon ride, although a gazillion times faster. The views of the canyon were incredible, the best I saw on the whole trip through the area. At the end I had to walk 700m uphill to the cable car, which took 30 minutes to arrive to take me back to the other side. There was absolutely no one else around, so I have no idea why the cable car made me wait so long.
The following day was another adventurous day on the scooter, although this time it was probably more forgettable. We hired a different scooter, hoping it would be more comfortable than yesterday's. This scooter was so good that it had no speedometer, no fuel gauge, no rear brake and needed to be kick-started as the key didn't work. Plus we were given bicycle helmets to wear for protection. We obviously found the Rolls Royce of scooters.
Our destination was Humira, 60km away from Creel, the very bottom of the canyon. We were looking for a different perspective of the canyon and were pleasantly surprised with warmer weather too. The area was stunning, with a river running alongside us. We stopped for our packed lunch, an apple and a capsicum (did I mention that Danny is a chef? And this is the best I get) before heading back. We jumped on the scooter, tried to kick-start it and nothing. Nada. Zip. Danny did everything he could, including trying to push start it, but it was well and truly dead.
Stuck at the bottom of the canyon.
Hiding the scooter on a dirt track we started walking back towards Creel, hoping to find some help along the way. The only problem was that we were on an extremely quiet road with hardly any traffic. Plus we had no phone service and we still spoke no Spanish. In the next half an hour only three cars passed us. We stuck out our thumbs, waved, jumped around like idiots and thankfully the third car stopped. All we could say was "Creel" and that was all they needed to hear. We jumped in the tray of their Chevrolet pick up and started the one hour journey back to town.
About half an hour into the ride two people got out, so we climbed inside the car where it was so much warmer. The first thing the driver and his friend did was offer us a beer. Danny obliged. I really, really hoped our driver was sober. My eyes were glued to the road, ready to alert him if his concentration appeared to waver. We made it back to Creel alive (obviously).
After finding our scooter-hire man and disjointedly explaining the situation, Danny jumped in a car with him to head back out and pick up the scooter. I felt sorry for Danny but I was so glad not to have to go out too - a 2.5 hour round trip was the last thing I was up for. Luckily the man was understanding and we had no problems getting our passports back.
As beautiful as the Copper Canyon was, I was happy get back on El Chepe the next day to head to Los Mochis. This part of the train ride was far more picturesque than the first section from Chihuahua, and I spent much of the trip on the platform between carriages, taking photos. The canyon, waterfalls, a still lake with clear reflections, rocky mountains and a stunning sunset made the 10 hours fly by. At our stops we endulged in some Mexican snacks, including hot tamales and gorditas straight off the hotplate. Way better than our planned dinner of dry biscuits, peanuts and a V8 juice (my daily "vegetable" intake).
Los Mochis was not worth writing home about.
Views from the train.
Sunset on El Chepe.