What do all those places have in common? Well, I was reminded of the Badlands of North Dakota, the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the canyons of Colorado and Utah, as Cuco and I visited the Copper Canyon area in Chihuahua, Mexico as part of our 25th anniversary celebration. (Thanks to my brother-in-law Steve Noyes for the horizontal photo of the canyon).
My hubby and I just had an all-too-short trip to the area, which we learned really has 20 canyons, which all together are 4 times bigger than the Grand Canyon, which I havent seen. Even around the Creel area, the spot from which one can take tours to canyons and nearby areas of interest, though not in sight of a canyon, there are neat rock formations and spots to hike to. Bulging towers, balancing rocks, formations like mushrooms, frogs and elephants are a mild description of what we enjoyed. Deep deep canyons, though we did not see the one that is 1 km and a half deep. Pine forests, though all too heavily logged in much of the area.
Nature reflects God's greatness in an amazing way! We enjoyed numerous areas with no other tourists in sight, it being low season- a large lake, an impressive waterfall (though due to dry season the volume of water was much reduced) that involved 250 steps down and then up again, visits to various rock formations, etc.
Then a fantastic train trip to the tropical coast, with over 80 tunnels, through more virgin areas of the mountains, where Tarahumara Indians live.
Two very different ethnic groups are part of the scene in the state of Chihuahua. The predominating native group is that of the Tarahumara Indians (who prefer to call themselves Rarámuri, those of the light feet, being great runners) live in the hills. They have high rounded cheekbones as a rule. Some make their homes in caves; some in the canyon, where they use ladders to climb up to the rim.
The men in more isolated areas wear a sort of loincloth, but in the area where we went they have no specially different costume, except sometimes their special wrap sandals. The women seem to be everywhere selling their crafts (including some neat little baskets woven of pine needles); they wear layers of brightly colored skirts with rows of ruffles and trim, and bright bandannas as kerchiefs.
Then there are the Mennonites, who emigrated from Canada in the 1930’s and still speak their German dialect. Though I had pictured the men wearing overalls and the women dark dresses (as they probably still in some areas), the ones we saw at the Divisadero canyon lookout were not as old-fashioned in appearance. The boys and men could probably have been mistaken by some as American tourists, in jeans and caps. The girls and women wore long dresses in a variety of colors, modern materials, often pastel flowers, often combined with tennis shoes and baseball caps. They were all fair, especially blonde. We hear that in their “camps” little by little some changes have occurred as to the degree of modernization allowed.
Two different groups, and certainly which frequently generate opposing reactions. The Indians are poor, dark, in general the brunt of prejudice in Mexico (much as they are a “tourist attraction” in Chihuahua). The Mennonites are well off, fair (preferred even in this country where dark skins predominate) and admired, much as they are considered somewhat “strange”. They are known for their cheeses and furniture.