It's a long one..........
Arriving in Chihuahua late we (Myself & Tara) checked into the worst looking hotel I've ever stayed in but it was 1 night and it had clean sheets which is what matters. We head off at 6am to catch the bus to Creel which is just in canyon country. It's a 6hr bus ride and it's hot, we arrive to a sea of hawkers trying to get us to stay at Hostel Margarita, instantly making me not want to stay there. All I hear is Margarita! Margarita! and them speaking to me in Spanish, knowing full well they don't understand English I tell them I don't want a Pizza. We eventually find the lonely planet choice of accommodation but not before being followed across town by several hawkers.
Another early start sees us getting the 'bus' to Batopilas, the bus turns out to be a 4x4 I craftily wait until last to get in and end up with the passenger seat. I'd read in the LP that the journey is a bit 'scary' as it involves a descent into a canyon on a dirt road, hence the 4x4, so I was pleased to get a birds eye view. The journey was really cool and provided lots of great views and sights such as goats, cows and donkeys in the middle of the road. The journey takes another 6 hours mainly due to the terrain rather than the distance.
Once in Batopilas we set about trying to source a guide to take us through the canyons to the next village of Urique. We find an old Mexican dude who looks like he's about to drop dead and begin negotiating a price, he says he'll come and find us at our hotel once he's confirmed he can get some mules for the trek. Later he appears and we also convince one of the girls, Michelle, from the bus to come along too which splits the price 3 ways. The guide, Librado, tells us it'll take 3 days/2 nights.
Yet another early start as we are up at 6am to get sorted with our gear and get it loaded onto the mules. We set off by 7am and hit the road on our long journey, almost immediately we begin to climb out of the canyon in which Batopilas resides, already I'm sweating like a turkey at christmas and the sun hasn't hit us yet! By early afternoon the sun is blazing and it's bloody hot! We've climbed over 1500m since starting and we are all feeling it, lunch is a welcome respite. Once again we set off fortunately we are out of the sun and in the pine tree forest but the terrain is still tough, this trail right from the start has been anything but easy. The ground is covered with gravel and rocks in various sizes with bushes and plants growing onto the trail as well. That said though the views along the way were spectacular and we reach our camping spot by 3pm which provides a magnificent view down into a canyon. We are all knackered and looking forward to a long rest. Later I go with Librado to get water while the girls collect firewood. After a hearty meal of flavoured rice, beans and avocado we pick our sleeping spots by the fire as the light fades. As I lay in my sleeping bag staring upwards the darkness brought an amazing star lit sky and I see a shooting star as I drift off to sleep.
Up early again! We begin a gruelling 2 hour descent into the next canyon, half way down I can feel my knees aching and my legs are still tired from yesterday. Once at the bottom I raid my first aid kit for ibuprofen to numb the pain, we've also reach a stream and I take the opportunity to dunk my head under the cool running water, ahhh it felt so good. We top up our water bottles and crack on wondering what pain we are in for next. By 12pm my stomach is grumbling and I'm looking forward to lunch when we stop and Librado announces that we are done for the day as we've been making such good time, I'd never heard such good news!! As the next leg involved crossing a river via a footbridge it meant that the mules could not come and hence neither could our guide so we were left to do the last leg on our own carrying our packs. We were supposed to camp for the evening but instead we cooked up some lunch had a snooze and at 3pm headed out on what were were told was a 7km hike along a dirt track/road.
Once we'd crossed the river we hit the track and found a truck parked up with the owner just arriving, perfect we thought, we can get a lift. However the guy wanted $30 take us to Urique which we thought was a rip off for 7km, he started telling us it was a 2hr drive which contradicted the 7km. We decided to have a crack at walking it rather than give this dude $30. After about 30mins of walking the guys comes past in his truck and stops offering to take us to his village for $10 saying it's only 10mins away from Urique so we agree and hop in. Once there we find whilst getting change to pay him that it's 1 hr to Urique so we tell him he can only have $5 for lying to us and set off walking again. We pass a family having a picnic and swimming in the river and they confirm that it's 1hr to Urique. About 10 mins later that same family come along in their truck with all 9 kids in the back, we flag them down and ask for a lift to Urique, sure they say and we hop in the back with everyone else. All the kids are singing and playing around and the bloke and woman also in the back are chatting to Tara in Spanish. The driver passes back a bottle of Tequila which is offered round to us, well it'd be rude to say no so we all down several gulps of what turns out to be bloody good tequila!! After a rather bumpy ride we arrive finally in Urique and our journey is over, we check into the nearest hotel and take a well deserved shower!
The next day we take the bus from Urique to Bahuichivo where we catch the Copper Canyon train back to Creel.