In the northwestern state of Chihuahua, Copper Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The combined length of the ravines makes Mexico’s Copper Canyon a whopping four times larger than the Grand Canyon in the United States. In some places, it’s even deeper than the Grand Canyon, with a depth of over 1 mile (1.6 km) The Tarahumara people, or Rarámuri as they’re known in their own language, call the Copper Canyon home. They are a group of indigenous people who have protected their culture and way of life by retreating deep within the Copper Canyon system some 400 years ago when the Spanish arrived in the north. They are so remote and so secretive that there are no accurate estimates as to their population size. The El Chepe Train transports people into the canyon on a railway track that stretches from the city of Chihuahua to Los Mochis on the Pacific coast and consists of 37 bridges and 86 tunnels. ~visitcoppercanyon.com
A visit to Copper Canyon, Mexico, via the El Chepe Train has been on my sister’s Bucket List for 35 years. It’s about time… Below are four videos that document our adventures as we cross the border into Mexico to tackle theMission NOT Impossible…Copper Canyon, Mexico.
We have FAILED at corresponding with family and friends this year since no holiday cards were sent. We even attempted a photo during our family Christmas gathering! Instead, we have resorted to using social media and this site to feature our greetings and wish our family and friends peace, love and happiness.
Have we really failed? Not in my mind. The money that would have been spent on cards and postage has been donated to the Mefi-Boset Orphanage in Mexicali, Baja, Mexico.
For some time now, I’ve been following, with great interest, the hiking and humanitarian adventures of an amazing, kind hearted nurse originally from our part of the globe along the Minnesota/South Dakota border. From time to time, items are purchased and delivered to the Mefi-Boset Orphanage by this individual living across the border in the United States. The images of these endeavors have spoken to my heart, especially after our visit to small villages and cities along the Copper Canyon region and northern Mexico. I am confident that our donation will provide some much needed items at the Mefi-Boset Orphanage.
Thank you, Peggy, for sharing these images of your visit and for all of your humanitarian efforts. “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Red is the Pemble color and it is only fitting that my dad is depicted with red socks and shirt. The scene is from a trip to Mexico after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away a few months later.
Chester Ward Pemble was born in 1917 during WWI. I was told that at delivery the doctor exclaimed, “You’ve got yourself a little Buddy!” ( Battle buddy was a term used in WW I to describe a partner assigned to a soldier in the U.S. Army.) His father nicknamed all the children so he was referred to as Bud for the rest of his life.
Growing up during the depression in the region of Hawick/Paynesville, MN couldn’t have been easy for Dad’s family and I feel this experience was the driving force behind his determination to succeed in business and life.
Looking in the mirror, I can see that I resemble my father much more than my mother. While I did not inherit his math and business skills, I am confident that I am similar to his sisters who were teachers. Dad held teachers in high regard and was proud that I chose that career path. Teaching matched my gifts in life and was the most fulfilling career choice I could have made. For this I am thankful. I have also inherited his love of travel along with an appreciation of solitude.
I just received the results from my DNA test through Ancestry.com and according to them I am 49% Scandinavian, 30% Scottish, 6% Iberian, 5% Europe South, 4% Europe West, 2% Great Britain, 2% Middle East, less than 1% Europe East and less than 1% European Jewish.
Hmm… By the looks of it, I’d say the 6% Iberian Peninsula came from him.
I find myself mesmerized by the process as each step is carefully, yet quickly, completed. Noticing the bare hands, I wonder how many burns occur during a typical work week. I know I would need a first aid kit within close proximity.
Because of your smile you make life more beautiful. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
While dining at a restaurant near San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, this friendly gentleman (Pictured on the left in the photo) and his wife were seated at the table next to us.
Being naturally curious we ask, “Where are you from?”
Our Minnesota Nice reflex kicks in and we begin to chat, noticing their accents do not sound like your typical Canadian.
I can’t resist… “Have you always lived in Canada?” Thus, begins their interesting tale…
Following the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975, the family business was taken away by the Communists and father/son were both thrown in prison. His father spent seven years in prison… Wow.
Fortunately, his sister was able to flee in a boat eventually relocating in Canada. Years later, she sponsored him, his wife and two daughters creating an opportunity for a new life in Canada. At age forty they found themselves starting over in a new country learning to understand its culture and language. As a welder and chef, they work extremely hard to make the best of their new lives, allowing them to not only survive, but also thrive. Infectious smiles along with a “glass half full” outlook on life touched our hearts. At age seventy they are still employed and have no desire to retire as long as health allows.
Growing up watching the Vietnam War on the nightly news sparked a fascination with this country and its culture. Being curious and reaching out makes history come alive and I walk away truly inspired.
Upon reading the translation of the Mayan Prayer to the Seven Directions, I sense gratitude and hope. (Click on link for full prayer)*Excerpts from the prayer: May wisdom be transformed into right action… bless us with harmonies to end all war… all hail the harmony of mind and nature. I may have a different belief system and pray to a different God than the Ancient Mayans, but I also find their prayer timeless in an earthly sense. Peace out.
Imagine walking the same jungle paths as ancient Mayans living between 300 to 900 A.D.
Archeologists have estimated that 6,000 structures exist here at Coba, but only three settlements are for public viewing. Coba is not a single site, but a large group of sites connected to the central pyramid, connected by over 16 Mayan ceremonial “white roads.”Don’t feel like walking? Take a Mayan Limo, which isa chauffeured tricycle, or rent a bicycle. Plan on 2 1/2 hours if you walk or 1 1/2 hours if opting for wheels.The largest pyramid at Coba is called Ixmoja, part of the Nohoch Mul group of buildings. Unlike other Mayan ruins, you can still climb this one. I’m not fond of heights and this pyramid is 42 meters (138 feet) tall, but I need to do this so I have no regrets.From the top the lush jungle looks like a green wilderness of wonder, but this gentleman meditating probably has his eyes shut. Good thing, since he is right at the edge. Not me!!This thick rope is my best friend as I inch my way down the 120 stone steps of the pyramid finding the descent much more difficult than the ascent. We were part of a van tour group, which restricts the amount of time allowed. If I did it again, I’d look into another transportation option to allow more time at the ruin site. Or, maybe I need more friends along so we could put together our own DIY tour. Hmmm… As usual, souvenir shops are situated by the entrance/exit gate.…and dogs wander the streets.
For more information about exploring Riviera Maya destinations check out locogringo.com.
The history and legacy of the Mayan people also appear to be fleeting as tourism and beaches are the key to survival. It is well worth the time to tour the historic sites of Tulum and Chichen Itza with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about their interesting past. The history of the Mayan people is kept alive through archeological sites such as these.