Copper Canyon-Oso Ranch
20 November 2011
Connie, sunny and clear, 70's daytime, 50's nighttime
Copper Canyon-Oso Ranch
Our first stop was a little town of Bauchivo where we were picked up and driven to the ranch over a rough and bumpy dirt road. The full name of the ranch is Paraiso del Oso Ranch (Paradise of the Bear Ranch). It is so named because just above the ranch are some rocky bluffs that look like a side view of Yogi Bear (cartoon character). We went on our first horseback ride that afternoon and it was very interesting. The whole area is very rocky from baseball size to big boulders and large flat sheets of solid rock. These horses are used to this and had no trouble carrying us over the rocks. We followed a stream, crossing it several times, and went up into the hills. The stream was full of grapefruit size rocks and the horses picked their way through them. Then we got into bigger boulders going up the hill. My horse came to a stop in front of a boulder that was as high as his knee or higher, looked at it, then just jumped up on it carrying me with him, then picked his way through the rocks up the hill! After getting up the hill, we had to come back down and some of it was very steep and we were told to lean back to help the horse! This was the roughest, rockiest trail ride I’ve ever been on, but also very interesting and fun. The second day we went on another ride, just as rocky and hilly, but ended up at a cave with some interesting history. We were told that, during the Mexican Revolution, when Pancho Villa came through towns with his army, he took all the men and boys from each town, and if they refused to go with him he would kill them. So, when the small towns in the area heard that Pancho Villa was heading their way, all the men and boys left town and lived in this cave until the coast was clear. There was still evidence of this- the ceiling was black from the smoke of fires, there were indentations in the rocks from grinding corn, there were still bones from the dead, and there were white crosses painted on the back of the cave-one for every person who died there. The next day, Doug, the owner of the ranch, drove us to a lookout over the canyon and then down to the bottom of the canyon where the small town of Urique lies along the river. The drive from the ranch was over miles of dirt roads-not just dirt, but so rocky, holey, and bumpy that we couldn’t go faster than 20 miles per hour! But when we got to the lookout, we decided that the drive was worth it. It is over 6,000 feet from the top to the bottom and the lookout had spectacular views of the canyon. We could see the town of Urique at the bottom next to the river that looked like a ribbon. Then the drive from the lookout down to the bottom was even worse!! There was a sign on the road that said it was a high risk road- it was narrow, single lane, and zig zagged down the steep canyon walls with sharp switchbacks and often with a long drop off on one side. But the road and the views were spectacular! We had a nice lunch in Urique and explored the town and area for a while before going back up the road to the ranch. This road is the only way in and out of Urique, and we couldn’t imagine big trucks using it to bring groceries and supplies to the town, but they do!
The Copper Canyon area is actually made up of 7 different canyons. It is said that this system of canyons is longer and deeper than the Grand Canyon, however the Grand Canyon is more extensive than any of the individual canyons. This area was formed by volcanic activity, then erosion by wind and rain deepened the river valleys to form the canyons as they are today.