Trains and Trails

As promised, here comes an update on my vacation week from school last week. I was pretty excited for the break, and even more excited for a chance to see more of Mexico. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I got. It was better.

First of all, my roommate’s family from Canada drove down for the week. I’m so thankful they let me tag along and join in with their precious family time! They for sure did not have to let me, but I loved getting to know them better and having fun. It has been a long time since I actually have had a chance to hang out with people my own age. Usually, I’m with people a lot younger or a lot older, both of which I enjoy so much that I had forgotten how nice it is to be with people my own age! That was an unexpected blessing for me.

Here's one of our routes up Cerro Grande
The first few days here, we just explored more of Chihuahua City. One of those explore days we hiked up Cerro Grande, which is one of the larger hiking mountains around the city. The thing is…we never actually found the hiking trail. Somehow we got on the wrong side of the mountain, and since we had no idea on how to get around the mountain, we decided to just hike up the backside. With no trail though, our main enemy at that point was the thorn bushes that seemed to be everywhere and impossible to get around without tearing up our skin and clothes. The other struggle was finding the easiest way up. Since we did not have a trail to follow, we just kept eyeballing our way up to the top, and sometimes that worked and sometimes it felt very hiker unfriendly. When we got to the “top”, there were still some cliffs higher up to conquer, but thankfully our group split up at that point. I personally did not scale the highest cliffs, but I still feel like I conquered the mountain, claiming my completely scratched and scarred legs to prove it.

The next day, we all hopped on El Chepe (the train going towards the eastern coast) around 6 in the morning. Thankfully, my discovery of Uber a few weeks back helped us get there with no problems at all. I got on the train thinking in my head, “Yay! A train ride!” But 12 hours later, I was thinking thoughts more along the line of, “I never want to travel by train again.” It actually was really fun, and thankfully we had the freedom to walk around unlike an airplane. Our little group played music and sang quite a bit between naps and great conversations. We also spent a lot of time hanging out the windows taking pictures of the BEAUTIFUL Copper Canyons. When it got dark, I even got in some star gazing. We were far enough in the mountains that the city did not hamper the view at all.

Here are some pictures from inside the train and hanging out the windows. 

A section of the Copper Canyons

My favorite part was to see the water! 

We spent our first night in El Fuertes, which apparently is the birth place of the legendary Zorro. We ended up at a hotel with a 10 person Jacuzzi, so even though we did not stay very long, we shared some pretty funny laughs there that night! The next morning we got back on the train heading the opposite direction to backtrack to a little town named Creel, where we stayed for the next two nights.

Here's our hike down into the canyons
to the hot springs
Our main reason for stopping in Creel was to visit some hot springs in the canyon. Our first morning in Creel, I was shocked to find snow outside. At this point we were high enough up in the mountains that it snowed at night, and then became pretty warm during the day. Our hike down to the springs was about 1.5 hours, and I forgot to time our way out, though I’m sure it was longer considering it was up versus down. The hot springs were amazing! Sadly enough, I failed to get any pictures, because I was too busy swimming and getting burnt. 

We ended up getting back to Chihuahua around 10:45 pm on Sunday. School started bright and early the next morning, and my new friends started their journey back up to Canada. I’m still trying to recover energy, but the trip was worth it!


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