In February, 19 members of the Canyon Lake Travel Club joined a group in Palm Springs to begin a 2,000-mile round trip to the Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, Mexico. After a stopover in Scottsdale, the sojourn began.
According to spokesperson Lou DeYoung, the group first traveled to San Carlos, to the Marinaterra Hotel and Spa on the Sea of Cortez. “The rooms were spacious and the views of the harbor were spectacular,” she says. During an afternoon cruise, they saw a school of dolphins and various birds nesting in the rocks.
Their next stop was El Fuerte, the birthplace of Diego de la Vega, the legendary Zorro. After a river float and a city walk, they were entertained by Zorro himself, quite a dashing figure. The hotel was built on the side of a hill and tiered with courtyards and bougainvillea. Lou says the rooms were “quaint,” the food delicious and a good time was had by all.
Finally, they began their five-hour train ride into Copper Canyon, which is four times the size of the Grand Canyon. Lou says, “We had beautiful scenery, tunnels, bridges and switchbacks, and then arrived at our hotel on the rim just in time for lunch.”
The group took the tram, some zip-lined and some hiked down to the small Indian village set in the walls of the canyon. All of this was more than 8,000 feet above sea level. Their guide provided a lecture on the Raramuri Indians, who weave intricate baskets and live an extremely primitive lifestyle. They make all of their own clothing from colorful fabrics.
Members of the group had brought sundries, fabrics and toys for the children, but the favorite items were buttons and threads for sewing. Lou explains, “They have no electricity or running water and live in small villages, hiking the canyon each day to sell their wares. Their people are some of the best marathon runners in the world.”
On the way back to Scottsdale, the group stopped at Casas Grandes and visited a family of pottery makers. Many purchased the hand-painted works of art.
Lou says, “The bus rides were very tedious at times; but the camaraderie of the group was fantastic. We saw the real Mexico on this trip – its people, its coastline and its canyons.”