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This month, California Native’s 11-day Ultimate tour of Mexico’s Copper Canyon  has been selected by as their “Unordinary Trip of the Month.”

Tarahumara Weaver in Mexico's Copper Canyon

In Mexico’s Copper Canyon a young Tarahumara lady shyly smiles as she weaves a basket.

One of our most popular trips, this small-group fully-escorted tour explores Copper Canyon, the real “Treasure of the Sierra Madres” from top to bottom. A truly unique experience, Copper Canyon is four times larger than the Grand Canyon and the homeland of the cave-dwelling Tarahumara Indians, the world’s greatest long-distance runners. The area is accessed by one of the world’s most spectacular train rides. is the #1 travel portal on the Internet dedicated to the out-of-ordinary adventures.

In additon, InfoHub in conjunction with their  sister-company, GPSmyCity, will enroll persons who book the tour before October 25, 2017 in a raffle for a one-year full membership of the GPSmyCity app with access to all of the GPSmyCity content—over 6,500 city walks and travel articles. The app features offline city maps, self-guided walking tours and travel articles for 1,000 cities worldwide and can turn your smart phone into a personal tour guide. The app works offline so there’s no need to worry about roaming charges when traveling abroad.

For more information for any of our California Native Adventures please give us a call at 1-310-642-1140.

We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and allow us to post them on our blog. Penny Mackrory and Heather Bullen, from Mogale City, South Africa, wrote us this short letter about their recent adventure in the Yucatan:

Hello Dave

We are back from out trip to Mexico and had a wonderful time.  Thank you for your wonderful organisation.  We enjoyed the food, hotels and everything on the itinerary.  The arrangement in Mexico were excellent.  Please thank your team there for all they did to make out team a success. I have now achieved my seven wonders dream and will have to decide on a new bucket list.

Thank you all at the Californian Native

Penny Mackrory and Heather Bullen
Mogale City, South Africa

"El Castillo", Chichen Itza

El Castillo is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán.

California Native's Lee Klein at banquet at International Travel Expo in Vietnam

California Native’s Lee Klein at banquet at International Travel Expo in Vietnam

Last month California Native’s founder and president, Lee Klein, flew to Vietnam to participate in ITE HCMC, the International Travel Expo in Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon), where he met with representatives from the many nations in the Southeast Asian tourist industry. Included in the conference were representatives from the government tourist boards, tour operators, and transportation companies in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, Malaysia Indonesia and the Philippines.

For many years the California Native has been operating exciting tours in Myanmar (Burma), China and Bhutan, and now it’s time to expand our offerings to other fascinating destinations in Asia.

Traffic in Vietnam is a mad melange of motorbikes and cars.

Traffic in Vietnam is a mad melange of motorbikes and cars.

California Native's Lee Klein at Saigon's War Relics Museum

California Native’s Lee Klein at Saigon’s War Relics Museum

California Native founder Lee Klein on zip-line over rain forest in Veracruz, Mexico

California Native founder Lee Klein on zip-line over rain forest in Veracruz, Mexico.

Last week California Native’s founder and president, Lee Klein, attended ATMEX, the Adventure Travel event in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. It was a great opportunity to meet again with adventure tour providers in Mexico and develop future partnerships for providing California Native adventures in this exciting and beautiful state.

Along with friends in the adventure travel industry, Lee rafted down the Rio Antigua, zip-lined over the canopy, and hiked and kayaked in the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, a secluded rain forest located in the shadow of a volcano. In addition to it’s wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation, The State of Veracruz offers a treasure chest of historic and cultural sites.

California Native's Lee Klein with group at waterfall in Los Tuxtlas.

California Native’s Lee Klein (5th from right) with group at Los Tuxtlas waterfall.

Last week we returned from Morelia, Mexico where we attended the third annual Feria Mundial de Turismo Cultural, the World Cultural Tourism Fair and trade show. There, we met with Mexican tour operators and representatives from all of the states of Mexico as well as representatives of the federal government.

Looking for more unique destinations to offer our California Native guests, we visited several colonial cities which have been designated Pueblos Magicos, magic towns. These towns have been chosen for their natural beauty, cultural riches, and historical relevance and are said to offer visitors a “magical experience.” Among those we visited were Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Pátzcuaro, Cuitzeo and Santa Clara del Cobre.

California Native's Ellen Klein strolls along the street in Guanajuato, Mexico.

California Native's Ellen Klein strolls along the street in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Don Quixote greets visitors at the Cervantes Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Don Quixote greets visitors at the Cervantes Museum in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, addresses attendees at World Travel Fair.

Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, addresses attendees at World Travel Fair.

California Native president, Lee Klein, discusses travel with Mexico's Minister of Tourism, Gloria Guevara.

California Native president, Lee Klein, discusses travel with Mexico's Minister of Tourism Gloria Guevara at World Travel Fair in Morelia, Mexico.

Last week I attended ATMEX, the Adventure Travel Event in the State of Veracruz, Mexico. It was a great opportunity to meet with adventure tour providers in Mexico and lay the groundwork for future partnerships to develop California Native tours to this beautiful region. We joined with Mexico Verde Expeditions and rafted down the Rio Antigua, zip-lined and mountain biked in the rainforest nearby the village of Jolcomulco. The State of Veracruz offers a plethora of historic and cultural destinations in addition to its wonderful opportunities for outdoor recreation. Please let me know if you are interested in joining us on future tours to the historic and wildly scenic State of Veracruz.

California Native President Lee Klein and Mexico's Minister of Tourism Gloria Guevara at ATMEX.

California Native President Lee Klein and Mexico's Minister of Tourism Gloria Guevara at ATMEX.

White water rafting on Mexico's Rio Antigua

White water rafting on Mexico's Rio Antigua with Mexico Verde Expeditions. California Native founder Lee Klein is the guy in front wearing sunglasses.

Lee at a Mayan ruin in Mexico's Yucatan.

California native founder, Lee Klein, at a Mayan ruin in Mexico's Yucatan. What a way to make a living.

This June we are celebrating our 30th Anniversary—30 years of leading fantastic trips to exotic destinations around the world.

This anniversary comes as a proud moment for our company’s founder, Lee Klein, who continues to scout new locations world-wide in search of new destinations for the active traveler. Klein, who holds an MBA in Management and a BS in International Marketing, spent more than two decades as a corporate manager and college professor until, in 1983, while climbing Ayer’s Rock in the Australian Outback, he decided to drop out of the corporate world, take off his suit and tie, and create an adventure travel company based on the lessons he taught his students on how to succeed in business: “keep the quality high, keep it affordable, and treat people the way you would like to be treated.”

Lee and Ellen on Patagonia's Perito Moreno Glacier.

Lee and Ellen Klein hiking on Patagonia's Perito Moreno Glacier.

The initial offering from The California Native was a tour billed as “The Other Los Angeles.” This day-long excursion traced the route of the San Andreas Fault from the Mojave Desert to the San Gabriel Mountains without ever leaving Los Angeles County. The tours became so popular that colleges in three California counties offered them as part of their community-education programs. From this, the company expanded its offerings to include tours to the Channel Islands, Death Valley, Yosemite, and other uniquely California destinations, as well as white-water rafting, ballooning, spelunking (caving), sailplane gliding, and other outdoor adventures. “My family has lived in Los Angeles for generations,” writes Klein in the company newsletter, “hence the name The California Native.”

California Native founder, Lee Klein, rappelling in Argentina

Lee rappelling in Argentina. Hey, this is research.

Satisfying the growing client base led to the development of The California Native’s most popular destination—Mexico’s Copper Canyon. These escorted and independent tours feature the Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad (labeled as one of the most spectacular train rides in the western hemisphere) and highlight one of the most primitive indigenous cultures still subsisting in North America—the Tarahumara Indians. The California Native has become a leading source of information on this remote area and the company and it’s guides are known throughout the area for their work with the Tarahumara.

Today, The California Native offers a wide selection of tours to destinations including Costa Rica, Yucatan, Patagonia, Peru, the Galapagos, Ireland, Bhutan, Myanmar, and China, and more destinations are in the planning stages.

Sculpture for Pan American Games in Guadalajara

California Native's Lee and Ellen Klein pose with other travel professionals and writers in sculpture for Pan American Games.

A few weeks ago we traveled, as guests of the Mexican Tourist Board, to the city of Morelia, Michoacan, to attend the 2nd Annual Feria Mundial De Turismo Cultural, a world tourism and cultural trade show which featured tourism vendors from all over Mexico, as well as international tourism representatives.

Fireworks over the cathedral in Morelia.

Fireworks light up the sky over the cathedral in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.

In Morelia, the show attendees included tourism professionals, travel agents, press, and photographers from all over the world. Along with the trade show, we attended cocktail parties which featured local gastronomy and music, and were treated to a special performance of the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.

During our time in Morelia, the city celebrated the birthday of José Morelos, for whom the City is named. Morelos was a priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo, in 1811. Four years later he was captured by the Spanish and also executed.

The city holiday is celebrated with parades, festivities, balloons, streets closed to cars, and families celebrating everywhere. The day is capped off with a dazzling pageant and fireworks show at the Cathedral.

We then traveled to Guadalara, which was was buzzing in preparation for the Pan American Games, a competition held between athletes from major countries of the Americas every four years. It is the second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics. Everything was decorated—there were ticket booths, public art, banners, and sculptures about the games everywhere.

From Guadalajara we followed the Tequila Route to the town of Tequila, visiting the fields of blue agave and some of the distilleries, where we learned all about how the libation is made and the fine art of drinking it—which we diligently practiced for several days to make sure that we truly had the technique down (pun intended). We also visited the cellars of the Jose Cuervo distillery and drank some of the “Family Reserve”—some of the best tequila we’d ever tasted. Stay tuned for a future blog with the whole Tequila story.

What did we learn on this trip? That Mexican tourism is alive and well and the value for our U.S. and Canadian dollars is great. We never gave a thought to safety—we felt comfortable everywhere and we ventured on our own by local buses to nearby towns. We learned of so many new places we’d love to visit in Mexico, and we hope to introduce them to you, our California Native travelers, in the near future.

The film, "Mexico: The Royal Tour," premier in Los Angeles

The film, “Mexico: The Royal Tour,” premier in Los Angeles.

Last night we attended a VIP Reception and Premiere showing of Mexico: A Royal Tour, a film by Peter Greenberg for PBS.

In the film, President Calderón takes Greenberg on a tour of Mexico—but not your average tour. It’s a spectacular visit to many beautiful and unusual places with lots of adventure, including zip-lining, scuba and more. The President and his family clearly enjoy being the tour guides, and showing off these fabulous and interesting places, well-known and not so well-known. There is also discussion of the current security misconceptions. In the end, you will want to get on the next flight south.

California Native President, Lee Klein, and Mexican President, Felipe Calderon

California Native President, Lee Klein, and Mexican President, Felipe Calderon.

We arrived at the JW Marriott at LA Live in downtown LA, were given wrist bands, checked off several security lists, then passed through a metal detector and into a small ballroom. We enjoyed drinks and conversation with other celebrities such as Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara, other dignitaries associated with both Mexico and the film, and entertainment icons including George Lopez, Russell Brand, Lionel Richie, James Caan, and Cindy Crawford. Then there was a buzz, lots more security, and the arrival of President Felipe Calderón and his wife, Margarita Zavala. After the camera flashes subsided, we were able chat with the President for a few minutes—our second meeting.

California Native's Lee Klein and Mexico's Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara

California Native’s Lee Klein and Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara.

We moved on to the movie theater, and found seats with our names on them directly behind the President, the Mexican dignitaries and Greenberg, and next to the film’s director. After some speeches, the film began and we were entranced.

Afterward, talking to the Director, we learned that Mexico’s Copper Canyon was to have been part of the tour, but there were some weather issues on the days slated for filming so they did not film there. From previous conversations with President Calderón, we know that Copper Canyon is one of his favorite places in Mexico.

California Native's Ellen Klein and singer Lionel Richie

California Native’s Ellen Klein and singer Lionel Richie.

The movie premieres on Thursday, September 22, 2011 on many local PBS station (check listings for time) and will air several times in the next couple of weeks.

After the movie, check out our website and join us for a wonderful adventure in Mexico.

Happy New Year 2011As we come to the end of another year, it’s time to reflect on what we have accomplished in the last year and what we are looking forward to in the new year.

Last year was quite an eventful year for The California Native. We made another exploration trip to Patagonia, sailing around Cape Horn on a wonderful expedition cruise, hiking on glaciers with crampons, and whitewater rafting through Argentina’s beautiful countryside. We also made several trips to Mexico, one at the invitation of President Calderon to attend a luncheon with him and celebrate the initialization of a campaign to promote the wonders of Mexico’s colonial cities.

For the upcoming year we will be offering new trips in Patagonia and China, as well as additional departure dates for our Copper Canyon trips. And of course we’ll continue to offer our exciting tours of Costa Rica, Peru, Galapagos, Bhutan, Myanmar and Ireland, and our other off-the-beaten-track destinations.

Sky written proposal beseeching the hand of Laurie (formerly Kraft) Pepitone.

Last month, Southern California residents looked up to see this sky-written proposal from Mike Pepitone.

Laurie Kraft and Mike Pepitone Get Hitched

Mike Pepitone marries California Native Operations Chief, Laurie Kraft, while Lee Klein (with California Native Official Wedding Hat) officiates.

On August 21, a beautiful Saturday afternoon, California Native’s Operations Manager, Laurie Kraft, married her longtime sweetheart, Mike Pepitone, at a poolside ceremony at their home in Torrance, California. California Native President Lee Klein performed the ceremony. The day was highlighted by a long awaited proposal written in the clear blue sky by five sky-writing airplanes.

A native-born Californian, Laurie has been with The California Native for over 18 years. Her family, including sons Jimmy and Jason, came down from Northern California and Washington for the event. Mike, who is an aircraft mechanic for Federal Express, welcomed his mother and family from their native Chicago.

We wish them a very happy and successful married life together.

So many of us have airline miles that will expire before we have a chance to use them. Recently I learned about a wonderful program that can really use those miles. The nonprofit Fisher House Foundation offers a program called “Hero Miles,” in which they work with the airlines, whose passengers have donated their frequent flyer miles, to provide assistance to our wounded service men and women and their families. Thousands of free airline tickets have been issued to soldiers who have been wounded while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan and are currently receiving medical treatment at a military medical facility. These tickets are used for a short visit home between procedures and treatment or to fly family members to wounded soldiers who are unable to travel home.

Donate your unused airline miles to help our wounded soldiers.I can personally say that this program is wonderful. This last June, my nephew was severely wounded in Afghanistan. He was taken to Germany, where he under went surgery before being transferred to United States. The Fisher House Foundation, through the ”Hero Miles” program, flew his mother, father and sister to Washington DC to be at his bedside as he underwent several more surgeries. It does make a world of difference to these young men and women to have their families beside them while they go though such an extremely difficult time in their lives. The family presence really aids with the recovery process.

AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Midwest Airlines, United Airlines, and US Airways are currently participating in this program. Participating airlines change from time to time, so to find out if your airline is participating, visit the Fisher House website.

This very important program can only exist through the kindness and generosity of frequent flyer members. So please don’t let your miles go unused and support America’s heroes and their families by donating to the “Hero Miles” program. You’ll be helping to reunite these families and show that we do care for our American soldiers.

We’re halfway through 2010 and it’s a good time to look forward to next year and the exciting places waiting to be visited. As an added bonus for your forward thinking, The California Native will help you save money on your 2011 vacation.

Tarahumara Weaver in Mexico's Copper CanyonIn Mexico’s Copper Canyon

a young Tarahumara lady weaves a basket from leaves of the agave.

Everybody loves a bargain! So, if you book your trip to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Yucatan or Costa Rica within the next 30 days, you can lock in our 2010 prices for your 2011 trip.

To quote some famous thinkers on the subject of saving money:

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” – Groucho Marx

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” – Woody Allen

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra

Mexico's President, Felipe Calderon, and California Native's President, Lee Klein, at luncheon in Mexico's Presidential Residence, Los Pinos.On May 21, 2010, California Native owners Lee and Ellen Klein were guests of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón at a luncheon he held in Mexico City at Los Pinos, Mexico’s official presidential residence.

Guests at the luncheon were specially selected international tour operators, and members of the international press corps.

The event was the kick-off of an initiative to spur tourism in Mexico’s many beautiful and fascinating “non-beach-resort” destinations.

This year marks Mexico’s Bicentennial, as well as the Centennial of the Mexican Revolution. In recognition of these events, The Mexican Tourism Board has created “Rutas de Mexico,”—ten tourism routes covering the 31 States of Mexico.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch and listened to speeches from Gloria Guevara, Mexico’s new tourism minister, as well as the President himself, who spoke of each of the routes. He spent quite a bit of time on the Copper Canyon Route, and talked about the town of Batopilas, which is visited on most California Native Copper Canyon tours.
The California Native's Lee and Ellen Klein at luncheon in Mexico's Presidential Residence, Los Pinos.

As guests of the Tourism Board and President Calderón, we spent the next four days touring on the “Revolution Route,” which included many charming Colonial Cities, including Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi and others.

Watch our blog for more on these cities, along with our other Mexican destinations of Copper Canyon, Chiapas and Yucatan.

We’re coming to the end of another year, and we at California Native are looking forward to enjoying a great new year, with more fun, more adventures and more opportunities for everyone.

So, what’s new for 2010?

I recently traveled to Argentina where I made new contacts and researched new destinations to offer our fellow traveling enthusiasts. I will be returning there in a few months to continue this project.

Next month we will be traveling to Loreto to survey new and exciting adventures in Baja California—tours to petroglyphs and historical sites, relaxing “sit-by-the-pool-and-sip-margaritas” getaways, and more whale watching trips.

This coming year we will continue to look for more ways to make it more convenient for our fans to obtain information on the destinations they would like to visit. Last year we introduced “The Desktop Traveler,” our email newsletter as an up-to-date supplement to our semi-annual printed newsletter, which we have published for more than 25 years. We also now have a Facebook page and daily update on Twitter. Soon we will include a slide show on our website for each of our California Native destinations.

We are always looking for new ways to make our trips even more fun, and offer more unique destinations.

We encourage and appreciate your suggestions.

The California Native is happy to announce our new email newsletter, “The Desktop Traveler.”

We like to keep in touch with our many friends and fellow travelers and so, way back in 1984, we began publishing our California Native Newsletter. Now the newsletter has more than 10,000 readers and we receive many cards and letters from our readers telling us how much they enjoy the publication. We have even had several people sending notes saying “Although I can no longer travel, I would like to continue receiving your newsletter and I am sending this to help cover the postage.” We very much appreciate these gestures and we donate any money we receive to charities supporting the Tarahumara people in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

With the advent of the internet we added our California Native website. In addition to listing all of our current trips and prices, it is filled with useful information on all of our destinations including an archive of the hundreds of stories we have published over the years, charts to compare our various trips, and many other features.

Last year we introduced our Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, to make it even easier to communicate with us.

Now we have added another way to keep in contact with our many friends, our email newsletter, “The Desktop Traveler.” This short little newsletter will be published once every few weeks and features stories which are fun and interesting to read.

If you are already a subscriber to The California Native Newsletter (and we have your current email address on file) you will automatically receive the Traveler. If you are not receiving it and would like to, please call or send us your email address. We don’t want this to be looked at as being “junk” mail, so you can always opt out by clicking the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom.

Here is a sample of the publication:


The Desktop Traveler from The California Native
The Silver King of BatopilasAlexander Robey “Boss” Shepherd, the last territorial governor of Washington D.C., developed the remote Copper Canyon village of Batopilas into one of the richest silver mining towns in the world.  Read the full story.





The Legacy of Chan Chan

The capital of the Chimus, Chan Chan dominated over 600 miles of Peru’s Pacific coastline before the Inca empire. The Chimu civilization lasted for almost 500 years.  Read the full story. 





Monkeying Around in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a great place for “monkey watching.” On our California Native trips we watch howler monkeys, spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys and capuchin monkeys, while they in turn watch us.  Read the full story.


The Summer/Fall 2009 edition of The California Native Newsletter is now in the mail. The newsletter, published by The California Native since 1984, has more than 10,000 readers (not counting those who download from the web). If you are not already a subscriber to this free newsletter you can signup now.

This issues feature stories include:

Lee Klein prepares to fly over the Nazca Lines on The California Native Peru ToursREVISITING PERU’S NAZCA LINES

The desert markings, believed to have been made thousands of years ago, made little impression on occasional travelers who viewed them from ground level, but when they were spotted by aircraft in the 1930’s they caught the world’s attention. They have since been surveyed, mapped and studied. Only two questions remain—who made them, and why?

Rafting is one of the many options for guests on The California Native Costa Rica ToursRAPID TRANSIT: COSTA RICA STYLE

Costa Rica has long been a favorite destination for both the beginner and the experienced river runner. With ample annual rainfall, mountainous landscapes, and plenty of road-to-river access, the country prides itself on being a whitewater paradise.


Packing a pearl-handled revolver, a riding crop and three lovers, the Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet disembarked on the Island of Floreana, in 1932, and declared herself “Empress of the Galapagos.”

The cathedral is a favorite hiking destination for guests on The California Native China ToursCOPPER CANYON’S LOST TREASURES

In 1880, Alexander “Boss” Shepherd, the last territorial governor of the District of Columbia, packed up his family and, in the remote village of Batopilas, at the bottom of Copper Canyon, developed one of the richest silver mining operations in the world.


Naxi ladies strolling home after work can be seen on The California Native China ToursBecause the Olympics were hosted in Beijing, chances are that you learned more about China in 2008 than at any previous time. On the other end of the country, far from bustling Beijing is Yunnan Province—home to the largest variety of ethnic groups in China.

The newsletter also includes schedules, prices and descriptions of California Native’s tours to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Peru, the Galapagos, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Yucatan and Chiapas, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, Bhutan, Yunnan, China, and Ireland.

Here at the The California Native, we are always looking for new ways to connect with our “fans.” We love to share any information we have about our destinations like Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Costa Rica, Yucatan, Peru, Bhutan, Burma and more. Lately we have noticed that more and more people are joining social networking sites to keep abreast of their friends and interest groups.

We are happy to announce that we now have a California Native Page on Facebook, and you can become a fan on our Facebook page. If you are not yet a member of Facebook, you can also join and connect with old friends and make new ones too. You might learn about a trip some old friend took that you are dying to try yourself! Maybe they even posted some great pictures.

You may also have noticed that all of our stories, and this blog itself, are available for sharing on dozens of social networking sites as well as e-mail. Just click on the “share” icons on our website,, to share a story, or page.

There is also an RSS feed on the top of our blog pages, to allow you to see blog updates, as soon as they are posted, on your Google Home Page or RSS reader.

Of course, you budding travel writers can always post your own story or photos on our blog or Facebook Page.

The Tarahumara Indians are purported to be the world’s greatest runners,

Tarahumara runner in Mexico's Copper Canyon
Tarahumara runner in
Mexico’s Copper Canyon

running up and down the rugged canyons of their homeland, in Mexico’s remote Sierra Madre Mountains. The Tarahumara run for transportation and sport, and villages often compete against each other in races which last for several days. The area is commonly known as Copper Canyon, and its unique scenery and cave-dwelling inhabitants make it a favorite destination for active tourists looking to get off the beaten path.

The California Native has been running Copper Canyon tours for more than two decades, but the Tarahumara aren’t the only runners associated with the company. Several members of California Native’s staff are also avid runners.

The company’s founder and president, Lee Klein, began running two weeks before his 61st birthday. He has since competed in eleven marathons and is now training for his 12th.

Lee’s wife, Ellen, who also serves as California Native’s destination scout and researcher, is a race-walker and has completed five marathons, countless half-marathons, 5k and 10k races.

Lori Klein-Del Rosario, Lee’s daughter, who has guided California Native trips for almost twenty years, began running last year and completed her first marathon in June. She is now training for more races and is mentoring new runners.

In addition to running, California Native staff members participate in many other outdoor sports. Laurie Kraft, California Native’s Operations Manager, is an avid swimmer, while Jason Hall, California Native Tour Coordinator, can often be found surfing the waves at Malibu (after all, we are the California Native).

California Native founder, Lee Klein, at Long Beach CA Marathon. California Native scout, Ellen Klein, at Long Beach CA Marathon. California Natives Lori Klein-DelRosario, Ellen Klein, and Lee Klein, at El Segundo CA 5k race.
Lee at Long Beach CA Marathon Ellen at Long Beach CA Marathon Lori, Lee, and Ellen at El Segundo CA 5k race

The Fall/Winter 2008 edition of The California Native newsletter is now in the mail. The newsletter, published by The California Native since 1984, has more than 10,000 readers (not counting those who download from the web). If you are not already a subscriber to this free newsletter you can signup now.

This issues feature stories include:

CALIFORNIA NATIVES FOLLOW THE TEA HORSE ROADA centuries-old monastery overlooks the town of Shangra-La, along the ancient Tea-Horse Road on The California Native China Tours
“My grandfather dipped his silver bracelet into the water, to make sure it was not poisoned,” related Chen Dong Mei, her eyes sparkling as she related stories of her grandfather who drove horses along the historical Tea Horse Road. The tea horse road, leading from Jing Hong, China, to Llhasa in Tibet, has been a major trade route for almost 5000 years.

THE BOWMEN FROM BHUTANIn Bhutan, the national sport is archery and you can visit this Himalayan Kingdom on The California Native Bhutan Tours
Dancing about and shouting sexual insults at the opposing team, Bhutanese sports fans enjoy their favorite pastime, which is, of all things, archery!

A new book, published by National Geographic, features The California Native’s tours through Mexico’s Copper Canyon.

Throughout Mexico, in churches, roadside shrines, restaurants,  and automobile decals, the Virgin of Guadalupe is a sacred icon for both Catholic faith and nationalism.

TELL THEM TO “GO TO XIBALBA”The artifact of a Mayan diety warns us of the Mayan 'Place of Fear' on The California Native Yucatan Tours
It is the darkest place in Mayan lore, the underworld, the Place of Fear. It is ruled by the spirits of disease and death. And archaeologists believe that it actually existed in a series of underground chambers and passages.

“The day was overpoweringly hot, and the lake looked clear and blue; I hurried down the cindery slope, and choked with dust, eagerly tasted the water—but, to my sorrow, I found it salt as brine.” So wrote Charles Darwin in The Voyage of the Beagle. Sixty-five years later, in 1904, eleven soldiers disappeared in the unforgiving landscape of Albermarle (Isabella) Island, the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago.

The newsletter also includes schedules, prices and descriptions of California Native’s tours to Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Peru, the Galapagos, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Yucatan and Chiapas, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos, Bhutan, Yunnan, China, and Ireland.

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