Thursday, September 30, 2010

To the bottom of Copper Canyon

Jordan and I and his son Aaron and gal Dee left Creel on a paved road, which unfortunately soon ended, heading for Batopilas (140 km south of Creel) at the bottom of the immense Copper Canyon (Mexico). This historic hidden town was once the site of the world's richest silver mine.

Just outside of Creel on our motorcycles, we went looking for caves that we had been told about. When we arrived in the area, the locals pointed so we headed in that direction. We were on terrible, very narrow roads and at one point had to ride down the middle of a river as the path/road was too narrow to ride on. Aaron and Dee eventually crossed over the river but couldn't make it up the other side and ended up wet and muddy! At this point, we gave up looking for the caves and continued on to Batopilas.

The route was rugged with switchback roads through a maze of pine-clad mountains. We experienced a wide variety of road types and passed the occasional construction crew with 12-year old boys working! Heading downhill made it difficult to control steering on such poor roads, much of the time travelling along sheer cliffs.

Switchback road to Batopilas

Check out on Google Earth the most severe switchback road that we ever travelled on at N27°07.507' W107°34.064'!

We dumped our motorcycle in the ditch and then the bike fell over again with the handlebars pointing down into the ditch. Real hard to get back up by ourselves as Aaron and Dee were riding a bit ahead of us, but I am sure my huge muscles must have been a big help to Jordan!

After a 4-hour trip, we finally arrived at Batopilas (N27°01.329' W107°44.230') and talked to another motorcyclist - the first we had seen on our trip! He was from Ireland and on a 17-month journey travelling all of North and South America. He said that when it comes to "gnarly" roads, he's been on many, even the Road of Death in Bolivia, but none of them compared to this last stretch.

We stayed 2 nights at Juanita's Hotel for an extra day of rest from riding. The heat during the day was unbearable and almost all shops were closed till around 17:00. A small breeze started to blow then, making it a bit more comfortable.

Batopilas, the town that time forgot, was connected to the rest of the world by road only 10 years ago. Prior to this, the town and mine was accessed and supplied on the backs of donkeys and mules. We really enjoyed the locals here and this unusual town. Add it to your list of places to see...if you dare!

Colourful buildings in town square

More photos of Batopilas in Photo Gallery (click on Copper Canyon Trip in the Photo Gallery).

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