Burro-supported Trekking in the Rugged Sierra Tarahumara
Day One: Arrival by Air
This popular itinerary begins at the airport in Los Mochis, Sinaloa (Airport code: LMM). You will be met by your guide for your transfer to the hotel in El Fuerte. Relax and Enjoy the tropical atmosphere with a cool coconut drink, expertly opened with a machete before your eyes, or sip a margarita prepared from local oranges. Ask about an optional second night in El Fuerte, a colonial town founded in 1564 by Don Francisco de Ibarra, and steeped in history. Rumor has it El Fuerte was the home of the legendary Zorro. With some extra time you can explore this walkable town, or enjoy a river trip that highlights a colorful myriad of local birds and an ancient petroglyphs site.
Day Two: Arrive at the Canyon Rim (10-day Rim Rendezvous Arrivals)Leave coastal plains around El Fuerte for the rim of Copper Canyon at almost 8000 feet above sea level. The complete rail journey to Chihuahua is enhanced by 88 tunnels and 39 bridges. Posada Barrancas, our departure point in mid afternoon, is cool and temperate in an extensive pine forest on a high mesa. We'll be met at the Posada Barrancas whistle stop train station by our host for our transfer to the rustic guesthouse Cabanas Pioneras. We can check into Lola's, and relax after enjoying a late lunch. Toward sunset we'll take a walk to the canyon rim. It will take your breath away; not just the scenery, but the lack of air.... The optional "canyon rim rendezvous" begins here with a night at Lola's for those arriving independently. Call for suggested itinerary
Day Three: Hike to the RiverWe meet our local guides and arrieros (Spanish for burro drivers), take a tour of the new Divisadero Adventure Park, and begin a 5000 foot descent to the river. A gentle descent through whispering pines takes us past a tiny Indian school, and through the Apachean-Madrean woodland bioregion. Local homesteads perch precariously on exposed ledges, near sideways-slanted cornfields. A rocky overlook offers photo opportunities and a good spot for lunch.
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
and sorry I could not take both...,
I chose the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference.
|— Robert Frost|
Day Four: Long Dayhike, with river crossings! A strenous all-day hike up to a hot spring is on the agenda. It's a great way to loosen those tight leg muscles after a tough descent. A small drybag (12-20 liters) is recommended for valuables for the return hike where we "enjoy" 3 river crossings, one where the water may be up to your chin. Sure footed river shoes and a dry sweater for the other side are recommended.Then it's steeply downhill for another couple of hours (or three or four). Cinch up those bootlaces to avoid blisters. Tonight's campsite is under a brilliant canopy of stars, next to the burbling Rio Urique.
Day Five:Short Dayhike, with river crossings.A leisurely hike upstream is today's only planned sidetrip, but again with three river crossings. These crossings aren't as deep as yesterday, and we plan to be back in camp for lunch.
Day Six: Ascend to Tarahumaran villageListen for the bells to find where the burros have strayed. The arrieros rein them in and we hike up for a night in the outskirts of a Tarahumaran village.
Day Seven: Return to canyon rim (8-day Rim Rendezvous Departures)Corn fields and fruit orchards dot this tight little valley. We have the option to visit an archeological site on our way to the rim. Back at the guesthouse, hot showers and cold drinks await us!!!
Day Eight: Train to El Fuerte (10-day Rim Rendezvous Departures)Breakfast and transfers for the coastbound train to El Fuerte, departing about 12:30. You'll be met there for transfer to the hotel.
Day Nine: Fly homeBreakfast included at hotel. Transfer to Airport in Los Mochis.