The Adventure Continues! Bikepacking the Copper Canyon // 15

The Adventure Continues! Bikepacking the Copper Canyon // 15

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Holy what?? What After a year cycling from Alaska to Mexico, we took a nice long break in Chihuahua over the summer to wait for the heat to cool down, catch up on editing and enjoy the home comforts for a bit. And after five months, it was time to get back on the road. Our plan was first to head west towards the Copper Canyon, nestled in the remote Sierra Tarahumara mountain range. Deeper than the Grand Canyon, with crazy little roads wiggling through it and small villages dotted in unlikely places. Look at that little town down there! It’s a place we've both long dreamed about exploring.

But although we were excited to get back on the move, leaving Chihuahua would also mean Victoria saying goodbye to her friends and family without any idea of when she'd next be able to see them in person. So it was bittersweet, to say the least. How are you feeling? (I already know how she’s feeling) It's weird. It's like I feel like it didn't feel this hard when we went to Alaska because it was just like, It's crazy.

Like, I just came here to say bye. Like, I'm going to Alaska, you know? And then now I feel like after five months and then with my nephew it’s like just feels so hard to like to know that I'm not going to be here to see him grow. Yeah. Even though I really want to do this and really I feel very excited and I love it. But it's like, yeah, I feel, I felt it much more hard this time.

But it’s part of it. Sweet, sweet home, goodbye. Victoria’s Brother One of the hardest things about long term travel like this is being apart from the people you love. We both knew that with heading south, it could be years before seeing them again, which, even for the adventure of a lifetime, is a heavy sacrifice to make.

But once we got back on the road, the buzz of the adventure quickly lifted our spirits. We're heading out of Chihuahua. Greg is very happy because I'm doing this in English Yeah! And we are going out from Presa El Rejón Presa is a reserv- reservoir? Yeah very good, reservoir. Reservoir. Reservoir. Very beautiful.

Stunning. Stunning. Before long, we were headed out of the city on some nice little dirt roads following a route that was recommended to us by a friend of Victoria's. Our first task was to get up and over the surrounding mountains to reach Cuauhtémoc on the other side. Goodbye Chihuahua see you later We met some ranchers who warned us of some locked gates ahead, but they didn't have a problem with us riding through as long as we could get our bikes under them.

Alright, I don't even know how to start with what’s just happened, but we've been riding this ridiculous road all day and we get to a locked gate and we'd met some other ranchers that had some locked gates and said we could go through and this is a new locked gate. And we couldn't find anyone on the property. (to ask permission) So we've just set up here and made dinner while we wait for someone to get back. And the sun's just about to set and we say, let's go check one more time, and then we hear three gunshots go off. So we were instantly quite terrified.

We thought maybe someone heard our voices and then was firing warning shots. But we knew his name because the other people gave it to us. Yeah. So it was like, “Hey, you’re Arturo?” And then he was walking towards us with his guns. Yeah one gun in each hand, just like But yeah and then he turned out to be super friendly and was just like, “Yeah, there's a few more gates, but you're welcome to pass and I'll tell the all other guys to open their gates, too so you can go through tomorrow. If you want a coffee, come and get coffee.”

So, yeah! So now we can camp happily and safely without worrying. But yeah, it was honestly, when we heard those shots, that's not something you want to hear when you're about to set up camp, but it all works out in the end. Coyotes In the morning we went over to see Arturo and his puppy that didn't yet have a name to take him up on that coffee and afterwards he offered to accompany us for a bit. Nice gun! Thank you it's mine, okay? You’ve got a helper huh? cheating.

He was so proud to show us around this land that he's been taking care of for the last seven years. And he wanted to take us to somewhere pretty special, that not many people get the chance to see. Wow.

Go ahead you have the privelage to enter a part of my land These cave paintings are many hundreds of years old. This would be the curves of the river the curve where you guys slept and this would be the hills that that are there by the curve. So, is it a type of map? Yeah. Wow Arturo asked us if we had any names for his dog, and after watching his inspirational battle up these rocks, we threw out ‘Rocky’, and that was that. He helped us up one final climb, and little Rocky didn't want to let us leave. No, no I’m sorry buddy Rocky! Rocky! Bye! Thank you! I think that's Arturo wishing us a safe journey.

With the gates ahead of us unlocked, and our path clear, all we had left to do was to get our bikes up these ridiculously steep hills. How are you doing that? I don’t know man So this is a trap for mountain lions Or bears Or bears? Well, mountain lions or bears and they have a live chicken here. Do you want to go in? No! You go in. (Unlocked!) Let's go! Yeah! We’d successfully made it past our first challenge. And being back in the saddles after such a long time off, our bums were in dire need of a decent rest day in Cuauhtémoc. After nursing our wounds, it was time to head up into the Sierra Tarahumara mountain range.

We're heading out of Cuauhtémoc and we are on our way to Creel. And tomorrow we'll get into the mountains again. Carichí! This is our little hotel room here in Carichí. Stunning! Stunning. Cheers After a couple of days of uphill, we have now made it up into the Sierra Tarahumara and it is a lot colder than down below, as demonstrated by this frozen river. Very, very beautiful just going through all these little villages.

We're now around a day of cycling from Creel, which is pretty much the gateway to the Copper Canyon. Hey thank you! When we got to Creel, we met up with some friends of Victoria’s who’d just ran there from Chihuahua. So we spent a nice couple of rest days hanging out with them. And we are lucky to be hosted by Lily, who's a friend of Victoria's mum. This is sick its the best thing we have.

it is the best thing we have. GSI Camp Dish Cloth Highly recommend. After a couple days of rest, we are now heading out of Creel and towards ‘Barrancas del Cobre’ or the Copper Canyon. A short ride out of Creel, we got a first decent look at the canyon. Woah that is crazy From here, I haven't gone anywhere south from here. So I’m quite excited.

It's crazy! So this is the Copper Canyon, which is where we're going to be spending the next one or two weeks way down there. So beautiful. Yeah We didn't know it yet, but it would actually take us a few days to get to the place where we’d drop into the canyon for real. This is where we turn onto dirt and down there somewhere is the canyon. We're going to be following a route that our friend John put together, he's also cycling the Americas, but he's got his dog Mira on the back of his bike. He passed through here about three weeks ago, so yeah, it's well scouted.

I think the first part is going to be quite brutal and then hopefully a little bit better and then very brutal to get back out of the canyon. Very brutal. Very brutal.

But it should be a good adventure. What are you doing? Taking out air to be a little more comfortable. Man, it's stunning! Well done Tonight we're camped out in the computer lab. Thanks very much Marbella for letting us sleep here. We made it to Cerocahui, passed a rainy day.

You copy cat! You copy cat. Are you gonna come with us? And prepared ourselves for the final climb up to the canyon rim. This is where the huge climb begins. Look at the sticker. John and Mira have been here.

We’ve been going uphill for 3 hours and we’ve made it 5 kilometers. It’s... It’s tough. After climbing most of the day, we finally got our reward.

Holy smokes! Holy moly Look at that little town down there. That’s Urique right there! Do you think that’s Urique? Yeah Yeah that is nuts. It makes me feel so weird to cycle next to it.

I feel like I'm going to fall in. I know. It’s crazy to think that we made it here on our bicycles, like how did we get here? How did we get here?? Yeah like this is just ridiculous. It's ridiculous! How did you get here? How did you get here!? That's my question! Holy... What? What. That is crazy.

So that down there is the town of Urique. That's the road we're going to be taking all the way down. Man, thats so stunning! It's like if there was a little town at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, but it was all green and beautiful. Quite stunning.

Although we could have stayed here for hours admiring the view, it was starting to get dark, so we set off for the long and windy 6000 foot (1829m) descent into town. As we're descending, it's getting noticeably hotter, the further down we get. We're descending like 2000 meters or something. That’s like 6000 feet so, apparently it's quite hot down at the bottom so we're looking forward to that. It's too hot now! Are you going to swim in the river? Maybe I am. Good afternoon Just got into Urique, and managed to find ourselves a Christmas dinner because tomorrow is Christmas if you didn't know.

How is it? Is this a traditional Mexican Christmas dinner? Mhmm, turkey So we’ve got turkey, spaghetti, is this mashed potato? mhmm and salad. Bit different from where I'm from, but very tasty. We checked into a nice hotel, which was a Christmas gift from my parents and grandparents, and we spent a wonderful few days relaxing, eating amazing food and exploring some local swimming holes. Thank you so much Beto and Lily for showing us around. Oh, its cold! Urique is one of those places that will always stay with me. It's a real paradise and we felt so fortunate to be able to spend a few beautiful days here.

Urique is a very difficult place to leave because one, its just like a little paradise there. And two, we've got a 6000 foot (1829m) climb ahead of us today to get back out of the canyon and over to the next one. But it's absolutely stunning. I guess we're going to be celebrating New Year in the mountains and I think that's a nice idea. Yeah right up with a nice view hopefully.

Quite stunning! Yeah. Holy moly. This is where it begins. That’s tough on a bicycle.

It’s been a tough day! We see all your baggage and it’s I'm sure it's also very tough. Yeah I mean I fell twice. What's your total goal? Where are you guys starting from and where are you going to? We started from Alaska. Oh Jesus really? He started from Alaska too. Oh nice! Yeah I only went up to the Arctic Circle because it was because I started so late in the year that it was already like snowing and icy and stuff. Because that was like, end of September is like when I left.

What time, when were you guys in Alaska? The summer or? A year and a half ago... Oh wow! Yeah We’ve been taking our time. Okay take care guys! You too! Bye Very nice! Some friends.

We said goodbye to Jon and Mark, fully expecting to never see them again. But they ended up having a pretty rough time on a rocky section just a mile ahead. And when we caught up to them, it was pretty clear they were done for the day. And after nearly 6 hours of pushing our bikes, although we were barely halfway up, we were pretty beat as well.

So we decided to camp together for the night, which is actually the first time we camped with other travelers since Alaska. And it was so nice to be able to speak English, share stories and joke around. All right see you later. See you like 10 minutes! Yeah haha. Day two of the climb. It's not gotten any easier. No.

Especially if you're feeling a bit sick. Yeah, yeah I, last night I got like a, started to get like a cold or something. And today I definitely feel like I have less energy. Just take your time you know? We don't have to push anything. But we'll get there eventually. Eventually yes.

I think it will take all of today to get to the top, but when we're at the top, we're at the top! Nothing more to worry about. Well done. As we approached the final stretch to the top, we were very happy to see some familiar faces. Did you fall at all? No, how many crashes did you have? 2 for me, 2 for him. Oh no That’s why we took so long I’m sorry about that Here I’ll help you push. Ah thank you! Turns out Jon and Mark had had just as tough of a time today as us, but we were pretty excited to see them as that meant we could spend New Year's Eve with our new friends.

It must have been quite painful watching us go so slowly up the mountain. We were just amazed that you were like 1 kilometer behind us! Very nice. Yeah, very nice. So our friends that we camped with last night have clearly also had a very tough day falling over a lot on it's just super rocky, this road, and they're on very heavy loaded motorcycles. And with no good tires.

Yeah without Off-Road Tires so, well one of them has Off-Road Tires, the other one doesn't. So, but we met this guy earlier on a motorcycle who is from a ranch nearby, and he's just sent his brothers down to fetch these guys and help them out. And yeah so they waited for us and it looks like we're not going to be spending New Year's alone, so it should be a fun night. We rode a few last easy kilometers to the ranch where the lovely family there offered to cook us all a nice dinner and let us camp for the night. I don't think this is how any of us expected to be spending New Year's Eve, but it felt really special to be able to share it with new friends and the people that call these incredible mountains home. Happy New Year, buddy He’s wishing you a happy New Year.

Happy New Year, Currito. Where are you going? So we're about to go after all that two days of pushing, all the way back down to the bottom of the canyon. All the way somewhere around there. Yeah and then once we've done that, we've got to climb all the way back up out again.

So that's going to be fun. I think we will have definitely had our Copper Canyon experience after that. I think we can safely move on and say we've done it. We just need flat for a while. Yeah haha. Some close friends of Iohan Gueorguiev I think that's how you pronounce it The Bike Wanderer sent me some stickers to put up in places that he passed through to remember him by, and I'm pretty sure he was on this road at some point, so I’m going to put this up on the sign.

Yes Iohan! We love you, Iohan! Ready? Ready. Lets go. Lets go! That right there is Batopilas. Where we'll be in a couple of hours hopefully. Only crazy people like you Me? goes all the way down and then all the way up and then all the way down and then all the way up again. There's no other option it’s just how you get around here.

There is other options but its just the easy and not as beautiful ways. Yeah. Well done. Well done.

On our fourth day since leaving Urique, we rode in to Batopilas. A beautiful and historic little town right on the river, at the very bottom of the canyon. How do you like Batopilas? Yeah it’s very pretty beautiful. Very pretty. And we got there just in time to catch Jon and Mark before they hit the road again.

All right. See you later. We spent a nice rest day in the little hotel there and then hit the road the next morning. From here we set our sights on Guachochi, which would be our last big stop on this section through the Sierra before continuing on South. Goodbye Batopilas! Goodbye! Now we have another 2000 meter climb ahead of us to get back out of the canyon and towards Guachochi. But fortunately for us, there is a paved road out of here, so hopefully it'll be a bit easier this time. A bit sad to say goodbye to the guys on the motorcycles.

Jon is hoping to be all the way down in Argentina in three months which is absolutely crazy to think about. I think we'll still be in Mexico in three months. Mark is still deciding how far he wants to go. He's currently eyeing up Panama and then he'll see if he wants to continue on south from there. But yeah, wish you all the best guys! All the best on the rest of your trip. Batopilas was a very interesting town.

We were told in the previous towns to expect a pretty heavy cartel presence there, but that everything is safe and chill it's just that they are there just taking care of the territory, which is exactly what we saw. Yeah, you can definitely tell there's a lot of very shiny pickup trucks, even saw a truck full of rifles, with sleeping bags on top of them, like barely covering them. But yeah, you just have a bit of like an unsettling feeling walking around town, which is a shame because it is such a beautiful place, a very beautiful town, very colonial, very colorful, and right in the middle of this incredible canyon.

All right, time to get our heads down and get out of this canyon. This is where we camped last night, right on the side of the big climb, that’s the road out there, goes all the way up. It's definitely steep, but so unbelievably stunning cycling with this backdrop.

Well done. That's the road along the river we just came up from. Beautiful sunset. Beautiful person, beautiful person.

Woah, thats quite close. Cheers We emerged victorious from the canyon and we couldn't quite believe what we'd just ridden through. From here, it would be just a few easy paved miles towards Guachochi.

Lets go to Guachochi! Where Victoria, had a nice surprise waiting for her. Victoria’s Mum and her sister Saying goodbye again. Are you enjoying the route? Yes Yes? Or you didn’t understand the question? Oh, whats the question? You're enjoying the route? Yes I like the route a lot! How beautiful! So I haven't really touched on it much in this video yet, but this is the Sierra Tarahumara, which is the home to the Rarámuri people that have lived here for many thousands of years. And yeah, these mountains are their home, which means that unlike many other mountain ranges, as far as the eye can see, there are little ranches, little huts, if you look way in the distance and you're like, ‘how could anybody live there?’ There'll be someone living there because they use these mountains to live and travel through and even if roads can't get there, they're very well known for their running. They'll run between the villages in barefoot sandals or just barefoot completely. And they've done that for thousands of years.

And we've passed through a few of those villages. I haven't filmed many of the Rarámuri people because I just haven't felt comfortable doing that, I think they they like their privacy from outsiders, so just out of respect, I haven't filmed too much, but it's been very interesting to be able to travel through these places and see a way of living in the mountains that I've never seen before. They just live way, way out there with only what's necessary.

Yeah, very interesting.

2024-03-28 23:55

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