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Peaks and Valleys: Chihuahua, Mexico

In the city of Chihuahua, we boarded the 6am El Chepe train. During the next several days it would take us along Mexico’s legendary, vast and tunnel-ridden Chihuahua-Pacific Railway (‘Ferrocarril Chihuahua-Pacífico’ or simply ‘El Chepe’ in Spanish,) cutting through peaks and valleys of Sierra Madre Occidental mountains to the Pacific coast. Thus I would come to understand through personal experience El Chepe’s strategic role of connecting the city of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, with the city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, and its adjacent port town Topolobampo, which serves as inception point to Mexico’s major maritime link between mainland and Baja California peninsula lying farther west across Sea of Cortez.

The train ride was organized to cover several days worth of stops in indigenous Tarahumara Indian towns and villages sprinkled throughout Sierra Tarahumara mountains along the way. In one such Chihuahua town called Creel, we met our guide and friend Efren. Himself of Tarahumara background, with wisdom of the earth radiating from his eyes, Efren succeeded to facilitate my truly unforgettable acquaintance with Mexico’s spectacular Copper Canyon. Canyon del Cobre, as it’s known in Spanish, is actually a group of canyons, altogether larger and often deeper than Arizona’s Grand Canyon up north. ‘Copper’ is the appropriately-derived name from the copper-green color of the surrounding mountain walls.

Needless to say, I fell in love with this cavernous land… But now I will stop with the words in hopes you’ll also absorb with pleasure the magnificent views of Tarahumara.

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