October 3, 2003
During breakfast, one of our new friends stopped by to chat. He told us that the arroyo from where our small creek flowed contained a mine and some caves that he thought might interest us. Well yes!
We loaded our daysacks up with plenty of water and headed out. Just a short distance up stream we came to a great pool and falls, but the way was blocked by the falls. We made note of the pool for later, then made our way up the side of the valley hoping to find the trail to the mine. The trail was surprisingly easy to find, but the mine eluded our search.
Not to be disappointed, the trail did lead through a couple of fields full of blooming flowers and others with Tarahumara corn. The trail continued up the arroyo, ending at a double cascade of water and an excellent swimming hole. One look at each other, and Kim & I made our way down to the pool and jumped in! You never know when a little bit of paradise will show itself – but you have to be ready to grab it with both hands.
October 4 & 5, 2003
Today we continued our descent into Urique Canyon. Steep and straight down (it seemed) we dropped 5,680 feet in 10 miles . Since the road was so steep and all down one side of the canyon, we could see the town at the bottom all the way down. There wasn’t much traffic, but what there was, was all going a lot faster than we were! We kept referring to the drive as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (of Disneyland fame). Reaching the bottom we stopped for lunch alongside the Urique River, joined by several burros enjoying the slightly cooler air near the water.
After lunch we followed the river downstream to the tiny town of Guapalayna, the end of the road. Along the way we saw a fellow fishing in the river with a net. He cast his net into a swift flowing portion of the river and when he pulled it back up, he had three good-sized fish in it!
We spent the rest of the afternoon updating our journal and relaxing and swimming in the river.
The next morning we found we needed to change one of the tires on the expedition vehicle as it had a big chunk missing out of the side-wall. We don’t know how long it had been that way, but the marks on the tire indicated that it had happened that day. Taking no chances, it has now become our spare.
The towns of Urique and Guapalayna lie along the same road that clings to the hillside a couple of miles apart. The view from the canyon bottom was absolutely magnificent and we enjoyed our time at the river. We really enjoyed the small western town feel with the cowboys and burros roaming the streets.
The drive back up out of the canyon was equally as dramatic as the descent and the strain on the truck even greater. Thank goodness for 4-wheel drive. I don’t know what some of the grades were, but they were probably the steepest and rockiest we’ve ever done. We did so much rocking and rolling that we actually flipped the table out of its holder and it landed upside down on the floor!