I was down in Mexico’s Copper Canyon leading a small group of adventure traveler “Chavochi’s” (non indigenous Tarahumara/devil people as some of us Gringo’s are fondly known among the Tarahumara), in the early 2000’s and some things happened while we were down there in Batopilas Canyon and the town of Batopilas, itself, which may or may not be related to each other. I think they are.
“You’re not lost, if you don’t care where you are.”
By this point, we were probably some 20 miles from the last little outpost of a town that we’d been through but were theoretically about to come to another. Jerry had the best maps of the area available loaded onto his GPS, but it only told us where we were in relation to the relatively paltry data that it was loaded with. The realization that we might actually be the first people ever out in that part of Mexico’s Copper Canyon trying to figure out and quantify where the hell the old trail went left me with the feeling of simply being overwhelmed. The old adage of, “garbage in, garbage out” came to mind and was soon followed by the vision of a web page that simply said, “no data available.”
I was momentarily depressed as I looked at the convergence of three trails, all of which seemed to head up toward the top of a wrong ridge. Just as we were each desperately searching for any sort of clues about it all, I was saved, once again, by the quote- “you’re not lost, if you don’t care where you are.”
An interesting turn of events while mountain biking some Copper Canyon singletrack.
Afterward, we began to call it the Trail of Death.
For the longest time, Batopilas, Mexico was connected to the small town of Cerro Colorado by just a little bit of dirt road and seven or so miles of trail, just barely wide enough for local burro traffic. Then, a few years back, that same dirt road was bulldozed all of the ways from Batopilas into the little Copper Canyon town. Most of the old trail was “improved” for vehicle use, although the last mile or so of it still exists where the road took an easier route. The remaining section of trail is a testament to human ingenuity and persistence and literally clings to the rugged mountainside, almost 100 feet above the intermittent waters and ever-present boulders of the Rio Cerro Colorado.
A race of sorts via mountain bike to the top of Batopilas Canyon in Copper Canyon, Mexico.
I set off from Batopilas, at the bottom of Copper Canyon, intent on riding my mountain bike up the 40 or so mile gravel road ascent to the intersection with the paved highway, as fast as I could. The unofficial record for doing it was 4 hours and my goal was to beat that. Whether or not my quest was realistic, will forever remain to be seen. Continue reading “The Ride Up from Batopilas”