Although Mexicans are often joked about when it comes to promptness and a poor sense of what time it is, this operation has been the height of efficiency. As promised, at 6:30am we found ourselves moving down the tracks from La Junta and after a bit of backwarding and forwarding, we were on our way to Creel, about a four hour journey.
When we went to bed the sky was clear and we were sure we were experiencing improving weather. WRONG! During the journey we sat in our truck and had to run the engine every twenty minutes because it was so cold. Then the drizzle started. By the time we arrived in Creel it was a hard rain. We walked into town from the siding where we are parked and it began to snow. If we had wanted this kind of weather we would have stayed home!
We went on an afternoon tour in a school bus and saw a cave where a tyical local Tarahumara Indian family lives. Here I am feeling sorry for myself in my snug little trailer and they were sitting in the dark gathered around a smokey fire. The Tarahumara are one of four surviving local Indian tribes who have been quite successful hanging on to their old ways. Our guide said that the mortality rate for under five year olds is 20%, but if they can make it past that point they live to be 65. From what we saw today I am amazed. Indian kids came on our bus to sell us handicrafts and they were lightly dressed to be standing out in the snow. It is common for them to be barefoot we are told. They are the sole residents of the Copper Canyon area, our ultimate destination, so I'm sure we will be seeing many more.
We are pleased by the positive attitudes exhibited by our fellow travelers. All of us are disappointed by the weather and cold and wet, but no one complains. The path to the cave was muddy and slippery and one man even fell down, but almost everyone is here to have a good time and will have one no matter what. Many of them are not well traveled and are clearly dealing with currency calculations and unusual food for the first time, but they are game to try it all. They are as much fun to travel with as our high school students were 15 years ago.