A Place in the Clouds
The following story was submitted to us by Kay Gilliland who describes her experience traveling with friends through Mexico’s Copper Canyon during the Christmas holidays. Today, the group reaches the cabins at Noritari and explore the forest and nearby lake before attending Mass to celebrate the new year.
The California Native is always thrilled to have groups of friends join our trips to this charming region of Mexico. We appreciate it when our guests share their stories with us and we like to add them to our blog for everyone to enjoy. Excerpts from her journal will be posted regularly, so check back often to learn more about Kay’s 11-day Copper Canyon Adventure.
December 31, Wednesday, New Year’s Eve
I enjoyed the breakfast: cereal, huevos rancheros and beans. We left Creel to make our way to San Juanito. Just past San Juanito was our lodging, Cabañas en el Bosque Noritari. Our hostess, Señora Sol, greeted us warmly and served hot “ponche” or “punch.”
We checked into our respective cabañas and tried to decide how to use our time. Jessica said we could drive two hours to the Cascada Basaseachi, the highest waterfall in all of Mexico, or drive only 39 minutes to a lake and have more time to walk around. Bill decided to go to neither place so someone came to light the wood in the fireplace for him. The rest of us opted for the lago.
Jessica explained that Noritari means “Place Among the Clouds,” and we certainly have the perfect day for it—big billowy clouds scud across the bright blue sky, sometimes obscuring the sun and reminding us of the light cool breeze.
We tried a route recommended by Señora Sol, passed a big lumber operation making apple boxes, drove between to trees with about an inch on either side of the vehicle. Finally Antonio said we could not make it going this way—the ditches were too deep. (Later we saw a big bridge that had been destroyed in the last storm). Antonio turned around, went back between the two trees and back along the rutted road to the main highway.
On our way again, Antonio turned at a sign: Mirado de la Prensa Situriachi. We parked at an overlook of the lake and ate our lunch. Jenny, Jessica and I went for a walk while the others drove to see the dam. It was a beautiful walk down through Manzanita to the stream, across along the lake and up to the swaying footbridges. We climbed a tower for views of the lake, then walked back and rode with the others back to the paved road. I asked Jessica about the big load of Tecate beer cans we had seen dumped in the road at Batopilas. She confirmed that they were there for cars to run over and flatten. She had talked with the man and he said he picked up cans from all the small villages and towns, then took them to a central point where he sold them to someone who shipped them to the United States for processing into new cans.
We returned to our cabaña in the Bosque Noritari to find that no fire had been lit. The cabin was quite cold and Jenny went to the office for help. They said they would take care of it, so Laurie, Jennie and I went off for a walk to find the “sweat lodge” that had been described to us. We followed a path labeled “Lago” but soon realized it was not going in the direction we wanted to go. There was a barbed-wire fence between us and our destination, so we walked along it trying to find an opening. Jenny went ahead and found a place where the barbed wire was loose. We could hold the wires apart and climb through. The sweat lodge was shaped like an igloo and appeared very new. We soon left because it was growing dark and we still needed to make our way back to the lodge for supper.
It was New Year’s Eve and we were invited to a Catholic Mass in the main room, the dining room, of the lodge. We were seated at the front round table, the two priests came into the room and celebrated a mass. It was very beautiful and full of tradition. When the mass was over we were served dinner. Sol did much of the serving, spreading joy wherever she went. At the end she put a bottle of wine on each table and proposed a toast to the New Year. We all clinked glasses many, many times, and Jenny and I talked past midnight in celebration of the New Year.