21 November 2011 | Creel is high in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain range
Connie cold, cold, cold
When we left Oso Ranch we got back on the train and continued on to the town of Creel. It is quite high in altitude at over 8000 ft. and is near the continental divide. Most of the rivers in the Copper Canyon area flow to the Pacific, but there are others nearby that flow to the Atlantic. It was much colder than we expected, with a freezing cold wind blowing. When we walked to dinner the first night I layered most of my clothes and was still freezing cold (jeans, tank top, tee shirt, light fleece, light sweatshirt, and windbreaker). The next day we took a tour and it was a little warmer with the sun shining (I only needed 3 layers instead of 5!) There are many Tarahumara Indian communities in the Copper Canyon area, and we were shown some of their villages and homes. Some of them live in caves, and we got to see an Indian cave home. They use rocks to make a half wall across the front opening, then inside, the kitchen had a rock wall, and the bedroom had a wood wall, but the middle area was open to let the smoke out. It was very primitive, but did give them protection from the weather. Most of the Indians now live in simple homes they build themselves. When a grown child marries, they build another house next to the parents house, so there are often 3 or 4 generations living in several houses close together. Most of their homes do not have electricity and they cook over wood fires inside their homes. The women weave baskets from pine needles and grasses to sell to the tourists, and the men work in the mines or logging industry and often they have a small vegetable gardens and animals like chickens and goats. One valley we went to was called the Valley of the Mushrooms because it had rock formations that looked like mushrooms with one rock balanced on top of a smaller rock due to erosion. There were other rock formations that looked like a frog and an elephant. There was an Indian village in this valley and also an old church that we visited. The women dress in bright colorful clothes and many of the Indians were coming into town when we were there because it was Sunday and they have a town meeting on Sundays. When we left the Indians, our guide took us to see a beautiful waterfall. It is 100 ft. tall and surrounded by a forest of pines and oaks. We had to drive offroad a few miles to get to it over a very rough dirt road that sometimes didn't even look like a road and ford the river twice, then parked and hiked the rest of the way. The river was lower than usual because there's been a drought for awhile, but it was still a beautiful waterfall. The trail brought us to the top of the waterfall with dramatic views down to the bottom of it. The top was quite wide and because it had many boulders, rocks, and sandbars we could walk across the top to the other side. That was very exciting to be able to stand on top of a waterfall!! I've never done that before. We continued on the trail to the bottom of the waterfall, where there were huge boulders that created many small pools. We had fun climbing all over the boulders and getting close to the waterfall. There were 2 Indian children that were our self appointed "guides" and led us down the path to the waterfall and back up again and stayed with us while we played on the boulders. I took their picture, they were very sweet. All in all, it was a great day, we saw and did many interesting things. Tomorrow we would be getting back on the train and going to another destination and another adventure.