Monthly Newsletter, February 2017
We spent January and February ensconced in a comfortable apartment in Chihuahua Mexico to rest up from our year of backpacking through South America and Mexico. We spent our time visiting with family and friends, planning out our next move, and settled on a plan. In March we will return to the U.S. and trade in our backpacks for a pickup truck and fifth wheel trailer. With that we will continue traveling throughout 2017 covering North America from Alaska to Baja, checking out remote mountains, deserts and canyons along the way.
Chihuahua isn’t a typical tourist stop; it’s a large industrial city in the high deserts of central Mexico and capital of the state of the same name. But we have family here and just west of the city starts the Sierra Madre mountains and the famous Copper Canyons. So naturally I climbed into the canyons as much as I could.
With Randy our brother in law I descended into the Sinfarosa Canyon, 6,000 feet deep, and swam in the subtropical rivers there while flocks of parrots flew overhead. But this is also drug trafficking country, dangerous at night, so we left as the sun began to set except, . . . we ran out of gas. While Randy guarded the truck a local woman, Aurelia, and I hiked 5,000 feet up out of the canyon, syphoned gas from a work truck at the top, and hiked back down carrying a four gallon water jug of gasoline. It was a nine hour trip at night through heavy drug trafficking country, but we made it without incident. The next night Randy and I were stopped by a paramilitary roadblock while driving from the Tarahumara indian town of Guachochi to the tourist town of Creel except they weren’t military. They were narco traffickers, teenagers with M 16s nervously fingering the triggers of their weapons. But they weren’t interested in a couple of gringos and let us through.
A week later we were back in the canyons, this time attending a Tarahumara indian celebration where we danced with them as the sun rose over the canyon rim. We found some spectacular waterfalls far down in the canyons and spent most of the night around campfires eating beans and tortillas and talking with the Tarahumara.
Our past year of traveling through South America and Mexico with carry on size backpacks has taught us a lot. Transitioning from a comfortable home with cars and jobs to being nomadic without any ties to anywhere has been harder than we thought, but exhilarating too. We discovered that adventure isn’t always fun. It can be boring, scary, even threatening. But we’ve also learned that it is freeing, exhilarating, and to use a tired phrase, life changing. At this point a fixed home is just a distant memory and we don’t know when well stop roaming this spectacular planet. When it’s time, we’ll settle down again, but for now, we’ll keep going.