Little Green Boat

Spruce visited Japan and Alaska in 2018 after time spent in the South Pacific, NZ, Australia and Asia.

04 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
04 January 2020
04 January 2020
02 January 2020 | Batopilas - Chihuahua - Mexico
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
02 January 2020
01 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
01 January 2020
01 January 2020
30 December 2019 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
30 December 2019
30 December 2019
29 December 2019 | Topolobampo - Sinaloa - Mexico
29 December 2019
29 December 2019
20 December 2019 | San Evaristo - Baja California - Mexico
17 December 2019 | Santa Rosalia - Baja California - Mexico
17 December 2019

Giddy Up - Mexican Style

04 January 2020 | Creel - Chihuahua - Mexico
Sue & Andy Warman
The superb scenery around these canyons somehow seemed more appropriate and much more spectacular when seen from horseback; perhaps a result of all those Westerns that were screened during our childhoods; we just associate this backdrop with horses. A six hour tour was about right to give enough time to get out into the “Big Country” and just about the maximum saddle battering that can be suffered in one stint by those with soft and unaccustomed bottoms.
Sue used to ride a lot as a youngster, but that was many moons ago. Our last time aboard a horse was six-years past. This was great fun, though. The terrain ridden was varied and not at all like the bridleways that crisscross the UK countryside. We were a little apprehensive at first as to how well a shooed hoof might grip on solid rock, surprisingly much better than we initially feared. Our steeds “Tomate” and “Revolver” fared well in this their home territory.

04 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
Our guide, Luis, checked us out early in the day by breaking into a rapid canter on softer going. Had we been unseated perhaps a different route would have been followed for the day out. Luis looked after us well during the day's excursion. Although he spoke almost no English, our limited Spanish and sign language served us well.
The horses breathed heavily as we headed uphill, their flanks became sticky with sweat. Trails meandered along the sides of steep slopes, slowly we gained altitude as we rose out of the valley. With increased height the views opened out, rock-faces soared skywards, green pine needles positively glowed in intense sunshine, viewed against a vivid blue high altitude sky.

04 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
A deep canyon lay before us, a hazy horizon dissolved into the distant yonder. A steep downward trail had us laying back hard in saddles, stirrups kicked forwards and outwards to retain balance as our steeds picked their way downwards, occasionally scrabbling to maintain a grip with all hooves. We descended into a river. Horses took a breather and a long drink of water. This crossing, safely upstream from the waterfall that fell into the abyss of the canyon downstream.
A long upward slope extended the other side. Evidently this was a gushing torrent in the wet season. Our mounts strode assuredly along the smoothed granite steam bed, bounding over large steps in the rock that presented now and again. Eventually we came onto the edge of the canyon, this time opposite where we stopped earlier. Dead trees stood or lay, agave plants and an assortment of pine, juniper and succulents clung to timorous holding.
On the downward return, some along a north facing slope the trail became icy and treacherous, hooves slipped and scrabbled for grip. We dismounted. Horses led across the most slippery sections and we quickly comprehended the challenge of walking the surface. Remounted and safely on the valley floor, we made our way to the stables after a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable day in the saddle. The next excursion must not wait another six years.
Next we travel aboard El Chepe again, a return to Spruce in Topolobampo. On Monday we will depart to sail 220-miles south-east to Mazatlan. South of the Tropic of Cancer once more into tropical waters where we shall remain for several months after our temperate sojourn in northern waters.

Road Trip to Silver Central

02 January 2020 | Batopilas - Chihuahua - Mexico
Sue & Andy Warman
The fame of Batopilas harks back to the days of Silver Mining and Mule Trains that brought rich plunder out of the mountains. Each mule carried six ingots of bullion reputedly weighing 70-pounds each.
Batopilas is an interesting small town. There is a cluster of Spanish colonial style buildings and ruined mine structures from a wealthier hey-day. The conurbation is situated along the banks of a river that is prone to flash flooding and rapid rise of water level in the event of rainfall in the mountains upstream. Along one side a partially cleared mound of stones and boulders from the last flash-flood. Within the mass, the mangled wreckage of what looked like a relatively new shiny blue pick-up tuck , evidently swept away from farther up the valley and come to rest here, along with a mixture of other debris. Sections of the road within the town pass alongside the river below the level of previous inundations. A precarious existence if not abreast of weather conditions upstream.

02 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
The tortuous road from Creel transits three canyons, each quite different in appearance. Changing flora engendered by the individual mico-climates, in turn affected by varying altitudes and rainfall. The road was until relatively recently only a gravel surface. The 130-kilometre trip used to take typically 7-hours. Progress was often affected by rock falls, erosion and landslides. Although much improved by a tarmac road surface and work done to stabilise rock-faces...

02 January 2020
Sue & Andy Warman
...many of the same problems face today's traveller. This photo shows one of the detours to bypass a rock-fall that swept away a section of road and badly battered the drainage pipes buried below the surface. Several other zones were encountered where channels have been cleared through rock-falls and temporary buttressing erected to replace areas where roadway had slipped into the gorge alongside.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-18 brought us from Asia to Washington State via the Noorth pacific Rim. In 2019 we aim to cruise BC and then head south to Mexico.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/littlegreenboat
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Spruce's Photos - Trek to La Ciudad Perdida
Photos 1 to 81 of 81 | Main
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No room inside
A view on the early trail from a high vantage point
Mules hauling food ahead to the Cabana where we
Kate & Marlyn on the first day
A swim before the uphill commenced
Early part of the trail
Local cattle, a species from Africa we were told
First night
Mules patiently waiting for the day
Marlyn & another member of Magic Tours staff working in the cook-house
A clay oven/stove - four at this camp and all different sizes
Muleteer urging his charges onwards and upwards
A farmstead beside the trail
More mules lugging food and equipment. No mechanised transport on this trail.
Enrique (nicknamed Pinochio) preparing food. If he said the trail was going to be "a little bit uphill" then get your climbing gear ready :-)
Packing sacks to load onto the mules
Cabana 1 - the only hammock accommodation, thankfully.
Mule early in the morning ready for loading
Early morning light
The group heads out
Kate ready for some knee punishment on the downhill bits
Another swim - we usually had one per day. Left to Right: Orla, Thomas, Andrea, Rachael and Mikey
Not sure what these were but didn
An ancient Native Indian burial site, probably plundered many years ago
A rest at a summit. Fresh fruit to moisten the mouth
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Inside a Kogi (Native Indian) home
Frog sleeping during the day
A Kogi mother and children
A Kogi child
Probably a beautiful butterfly to be...don
A Kogi village
Our guide, Jesus, briefing us on the Kogi culture. The mortar and pestle artifact in front of him is used to hold lime which is used to mix with and chew cocoa leaves. The mild cocaine dose released assists the Kogi to combat sickness at high altitude, hunger and keep them moving in a hostile environment.
Mosquito nets over bunk beds at Cabana 2
Trying to dry wet gear in the late afternoon rainy period
One of the weird and colourful bugs en route
River flowing during a comparatively dry period
A Kogi woman weaving a strap for a mochila, a bag to hang over the shoulder)
Entertaining ourselves in the evening.
A plant seen quite often in the forest
Mikey and Andrea lead the way across the river. Orla and guide, Jesus, following. These rivers can quickly increase in depth making crossings hazardous. Crossings were made before the afternoon rains and melt-water emerged from the Sierra Nevada snow-cap
Another plant
Andy and Lena in a hollow tree
Fungi on a tree...not quite all in focus but you get the idea
Another strange fruit on a tree at the Lost City...not sure what it is?
Large palms not removed from the site of the Lost City when they cleared the site in the 1970s and 80s
A Map-Stone. The small star bursts (if you can see them) are settlements and the long lines are the river routes.
A Kogi Native Indian man walked up the main pathway - it gave an air of historical times
One of many routes up to Ciudad Perdida
One of the horse fly type of bugs - the proboscis goes straight through trousers and they aren
Its was all up from here
We tink this is know as a Number 88 butterfly but can
Looking down on the lower levels of La Ciudad Perdida from the higher part.
Andy meets the one of the local army detachment. Security of tourists has been a high priority for the Colombian authorities since the trail to La Ciudad Perdida re-opened. These chaps are heavily armed and very friendly to tourists.
Andy with the vista behind. We needed to be up there early before it clouded over, but the insects were vicious.
Our group enjoying the scenery
The "throne" occupied by the Shaman while passing judgement and giving advice to the citizens.
View from the city
River water had to be purified before filling our water bottles for the day
The five day part of our group Left to Right: Jesus (Guide), Lena, Andrea, Thomas, Ibra, Scott
A bonus swim for a few of us on the penultimate day. Enrique took time out from kitchens duties to take us down a steep hill to a fantastic waterfall. Mikey emerges from the torrent.
Maeve & Rachel desperately hang onto their bikinis
Joanie avoids being bowled over
Another strange plant
The final furlong, almost finished. Left to ight: Kate, Joanie, Maeve, Rachel, Orla, Mikey, Mark, Andy
This spider was about 6" (150mm) across from leg tip to leg tip...nobody was willing to put their finger close for size perspective.
One of the many beautiful butterflies. They didn
A rest at the top. L to R: Orla, Enrique, Rachel
A wasp nest on a leaf
The cow wasn
Another pretty plant
At the finish: Joanie
At the finish: Rachel
At the finish: Orla
At the finish: Maeve
At the finish: Mark
At the finish: Mikey
Packing the mule sacks for the next group to depart
At the finish: Kate
The hardest working member of the team. The mules carry food and other essentials along the trail leaving the hikers to carry only light weight packs.
 
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