21 November ‘09 This morning, Sol, Carol, Louise and I loaded into a large 4x4 van and took off with our guide Rodrigo, for a day of visiting the Tarahumara
and the valley and canyons where they live. We weren’t going into the deep depths of the Copper Canyon, but another very interesting area. Our first stop was along the banks of the Largo Arareko, a 100 acre reservoir.
It sits in a woodland of tall Pine and smaller brush. Scattered throughout the water you can see pinnacles of granite standing high. There is no doubt, Lou and I wanted to immediately paddle out into this wonderful water area…it is spectacular. We were immediately met by the Tarahumara children who were holding their wares for us to purchase
while their mothers were sitting just within sight while knitting or weaving more items to be soon sold.
This wasn’t a “hard sell” from the little ones, but you could hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes…”Please buy this from me…”. We knew we had to pace ourselves and carefully make the right decisions as to what we were going to purchase, but to purchase was a given… Our next stop was at the end of a drive that was made only by 4 wheel drive vehicles. Once we drove off the pavement and onto the dirt roadway, we were holding on. While swaying from side to side and bouncing almost high enough to bump your head on the top of the van, we weaved ourselves through the large rocks and small creeks. Finally coming to a stop, we walk another quarter of a mile to find Cascada de Cusarare. On the way, we came across a couple of Tarahumara women washing their clothes in a small river while their children watched and played close by.
These falls weren’t as large as they can be during the rainy season, but they were still beautiful.
After stopping at a number of locations around the top of the falls, Louise and I descended the 276 stairs to the rocks below the falls.
Now all we had to do was get back up those 276 stairs… Actually we did it like did it every day at this altitude (7,600 ft.)…no problema… Then we went deeper into the canyon to see the “Mushroom Rocks”
and visit a Tarahumara village “Ville de los Hugos (mushrooms). Again we drove off the pavement and onto a dirt roadway? that took us deep into the Tarahumara. As we passed those walking, working on their crafts, or washing clothes in a small stream we seemed to be invisible to them. They are very private and rather we weren’t there. In the center of their land of rock and hills,
we found a mission that dates back to around 1510. It’s the mission St. Ignacio.
The doors were locked but we could look through a small crack in the door to see that it was very sparsely appointed. It’s a case were the men are dominant and attend the service, standing at the front, and the women stand along the sides or the back with the children staying home. At one time, the Tarahumara lived in caves (or most often, a large crack in the side of a large rock wall).
We only saw one cave home that was still being used in its full capacity, but we did come across another were the kitchen of the cave was still in use. Sebastion was a leader that had a large plat of land and lived in a cave of a size that lent it to be of more than 5 rooms (divided by boards and branches). His wife and his extended family of his daughter, husband, and 4 children still use the kitchen in the cave.
Small bedroom buildings and a couple of other wooden buildings make up the rest that sit on this property. We really enjoyed watching the kids run through the tall grass of the fields and off to a cave across the way. They were like kids with no fear or wants, just having a great time running and chasing around.
Back at the top and settling down for our last dinner at the hotel/hostel. In the morning we will have another tour and then back on the train for our return to…