Magazine article Sierra

Canyon Rumblings

Magazine article Sierra

Canyon Rumblings

Article excerpt

After four tiring days on the ankle-straining goatpaths that pass for trails in the depths of Copper Canyon, my dreams were of Posturepedics and flannel sheets. I felt entitled, at the least, to some form of shelter enclosed on four sides. But our tents had gone back to the trailhead two days before--along with most of our food--when the route became too steep for the burros. So instead I spent that sleepless night in a cave.

At dawn our small party--several gringo trekkers and our Tarahumara Indian guides--faced our fifth, last, and hardest day of hiking, straight up the better part of a mile to the canyon rim. Hunger made the prospect grimmer, and as I sat glumly beneath the limestone overhang under which we'd camped when darkness fell, I yearned for the groaning board of goodies we'd enjoyed earlier in the trip.

Two burros laden with pots, pans, and a generous larder of foodstuffs (including two live chickens tied to a saddle) had descended with us into Mexico's deepest canyon. Our first dinner began with guacamole, scooped up with fresh tortillas patted into shape from fistfuls of moist masa harina and warmed on a cast-iron grill. There followed tough but flavorful beefsteaks, cut into rude chunks with a jackknife, and folded with pinto beans and salsa into more tortillas. These juicy tacos we washed down with cold bottles of cerveza, chased, around the evening campfire, with slugs of tequila.

Subsequent meals were less ambitious, especially once the burros turned back. …

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