After leaving Alamos and heading back to Navojoa I turn northwest on the Mex 15 and head toward Obregon. My pilot/navigator, lol, has suggested a route that takes us across the valleys and low hills of Sonora toward the mountains that will lead toward Copper Canyon. The road we plan to take is a secondary road, whatever that means, but shouldn’t be too bad, at least that’s what we are told. It turns out to have more pothole acreage than actual asphalt acreage, but it makes it sort of like a live version of a video game to dodge them. My poor bike and suspension. We turn north/northeast at Esperanza and head out to Rosario. Thinking in American terms with regard to how many miles we can cover in an hour and that most towns should have a hotel, we press on past Rosario toward San Nicolas.
But as we approach that town, only making 30 miles an hour average on this road, it’s getting dark. San Nicolas it turns out has no hotels so we are told to go on to Yacora (pronounced Jacora) where there may be a hotel. While it’s only another 25-30 miles, at this pace it means an hour or more in the dark. And I’ve been told never to ride in the dark in Mexico, for many reasons. Today is a hard lesson in learning the local rules. Not every town has a hotel. Not ANY hotel will be up to my standard, but at the end of the day I will still be genuinely grateful to take what they have. Miles take more time to ride in this part of the world. The roads are curvy, technical, and riddled with things that slow you down.
No pics from this part of the trip, unfortunately. It was like riding Iron Mountain Road in the Black Hills of South Dakota, very curvy and slow going. I’m sure it was lovely, and hate that I missed seeing that part of the trip with daylight. I was happy to make it to a hotel that night, after passing a military checkpoint and a closed and guarded gate at the entrance of the city. And the next day we carry on to Basaseachic and to its famous falls in the Candamena Canyon, part of the Copper Canyon system, just south of this small community.
On the way, the land morphs from treed hills to dry grasslands with rock towers, all under a canopy of brilliant blue with a shining sun. We cross from Sonora into Chihuahua.
There are shrines built all along the roadsides and markers where people have died. There is a large one built into the hillside on this stretch of road, with a Madonna painted on the side of a cliff.
After a few hours, and not even 100 miles (yes its that slow) we arrive in Basaseachic. The town is small, and made up mostly, I assume, of blue collar people working in some way with the local forestry industry or the mines. It’s funny to see cabins on the streets that remind me of cabins at home in the Black Hills.
And then it isn’t funny to see the homes of poor families who live here too. Just over the fence from a small hotel I stay in (with my luxurious running hot water and flush toilet, electric lights and gas heater) there is a family with small children who play in the mud and have two skinny dogs. There is clean laundry on the line though, and it makes me grateful for the small things in life. Somewhere in this shack is a woman who takes pride in caring for her family, who wants to have clean belongings for herself and her children and who is making a life for them all. I feel guilty having had my version of the previous night while they had theirs. It makes me sad for the money I/we waste on small things in America and for the way we take everything for granted. It’s cold at this altitude, especially at night. The cabana we rent has extra blankets and a small gas heater on the far wall. I take a shower in the small cinder block bathroom and am reminded of cold showers at Girl Scout Camp. But it’s a slice of heaven compared to what many of the locals live without.
Only a mile or two south of town is the Basaseachic Falls National Park. We ride down and park at the little tourist-ish area and then walk the 1/2 mile to the falls themselves. The trail includes a suspended bridge which is made of sheet metal and it pops and creaks when I walk on it. At the end there is a shelter and some benches. At first I don’t see how breathtaking the view is and I am tinkering with my camera as I walk up to the railing. Then I look up.
To my right is a cliff face that looks to me like Half Dome in Yosemite. It’s enormous and there is no way my photos can do it justice. At the base there are 30 foot tall pine trees that look like moss from this height, more than 900 feet above.
The falls are running at only a fraction of the capacity since it’s the dry season now. But the cascade is still incredible.
Brian climbs over the river flow over a pile of debris that has formed a bridge, but I am fine where I’m at. The scale of the falls and Candamena Canyon’s walls is enormous.