Creel, Chihuahua in the middle of the Copper Canyon System:
Hopping back and forth between the mushroom shaped rocks in the inventively named Valley of the Mushrooms just south of Creel.
In life, most things are easier when you're going down and working with gravity. In climbing rocks, going down is usually spent wondering where to go in between bouts of contemplating one's mortality.
The bizzare rock formations of the Valley of the Mushrooms. How does this come about? "Geography is just physics slowed down with some trees stuck on top" - Terry Pratchett
The Old San Ignacio Mission, dedicated to converting the locals, the Tarahumara, to Christianity, has slowly eroding their culture over the years.
About 15km south of Creel lies Lake Arereko, an artificial lake surrounded by wonderful Alpine-esque pine forest.
Panoramic shot from the valleys. We, an Italian aerospace engineer and I, took some bikes on the the 23km round trip around Creel to the Valley of the Mushrooms, Lake Arereko and to the Valley of the Monks and then up to the statue of Jesus overlooking Creel.
On the road just outside the Valley of the Monks. By this time, my arse was starting to feel the pain of the seat. The next day was somewhat uncomfortable to sit.
Tenacious tricket-selling kids running ahead of us to ambush with wooden crafts and wristbands ahead in the Valley of the Monks. We gave them biscuits instead of money. They looked hungry.In the Valley of the Monks - also known as Freud's Geography of Mind - has many phallic rock formations that made me think of nothing but... I'm not going to finish that thought.
All I could think of was this: If, as some misguided people claim, that the world is only 6,000 years old and that God made everything and that geology is merely him making things for us and not the result of 4.6 billions of years of natural physical processes, then was God feeling particularly horny when he designed this place? Oh, that dirty deity!
The Creel Stream winds its way down the canyon. It starts as this dirty, sludgy little trickle in the town and then opens up as more water joins it further down.
The Creel Stream from a horse path nearby. A German, a Finn and I walked down to the Hot Springs and then hiked out to another natural little pool about a kilometre away. The water was beautifully refreshing.
The Hot Springs near Creel. Personally, I think it's a bit of a pity about the artificial pools, but the water is very warm and the views are amazing. Well recommended.
More shots of the beautiful hike that is the Creel Stream. This sort of landscape is probably my favourite for hiking because you are never simply putting one foot in front of the other, you need to be agile and balanced and then hop, skip and jump your way through!
The watering hole where we stopped for a rest. Much nicer than the artificial pools and with a beautiful waterfall massage, too!
When I see boulders like that, I just wish I could turn into Gollum and jump, slide and glide all over them and feel alive.
Wandering back through the horse path to the Hot Springs. Gratuitous Ass and Landscape Shot.
Hitting the road again with a German by my side. Walking back up about 400m elevation and 3km is not easy after just relaxing every muscle in your body for two hours in natural hot spring water. I learned this the sweaty way.
On the way back, I spotted a donkey. I thought it looked a bit down, so I gave it my best positive energy. I don't know if it worked.
The natural male urge to ride anything and everything took over and I jumped on that donkey's back and tried to gallop away up the mountain, but this donkey just wouldn't take any of my crap. Wise move, donkey. Wise.
Pausing for a moment to bathe in the beauty of the Copper Canyon.
As I sit on my rocky throne, I gaze at the sun saturated majesty and yet still I worry about how cold it's going to get after dark. The human mind is not easily settled, but the rare moments when all there is is the moment are worth every vexed state and every confused mind.
The magnificent Basaseachi Falls, the highest in Mexico at about 294m.
It was quite fascinating watching the displacement the waterfall went through as a result of the wind. All the darkened areas around the base were hit by gusts and radically altering the path of the falls.
Basaseachi Falls aren't technically the highest in Mexico all the time. There's a seasonal waterfall about 200km north of there that is about 500m, but only for two months of the year.