Had an amazing day. I rented bikes with the German girl and the two Hungarian guys, and spent the day exploring the area. We covered some of the same ground as yesterdays tour, but it was much more interesting from the bike. I got a much better sense of how everything fits together, and saw so many more beautiful houses nestled among the cliffs. I'm not sure why I find it so strange, but there are so many people walking all over the countryside.
We rode through the valley of the frogs and mushrooms, and past the mission tht we saw yesterday, but then continued on a few more kilometers to the valley of the monks/phaluses. It was magnificent: huge rock spires at the top of a beautiful valley. Limestone I think.
From there we rode through the forest to a large lake, where we rented a boat for 60 pesos ($5) for an hour. The German girl headed back to town to catch a bus to Chihuahua, and the three of us headed down theist beautiful valley I've seen so far, along a dirt track on the faded flat grassy velley floor between high limestone cliffs with Tarahumara houses nestled at the bottom. We criss-crossed the river for 5km until we couldn't ride any further, then left the bikes and walked further, hoping to reach the same waterfalls I'd visited yesterday, someone had told us that this was an alternative way there. We passé a couple of small falls, but never reached the large falls, and turned back because we didn't want to run out of daylight. I realized later that it was a totally different valley and set if waterfalls. I'm still gla we ventured that way, it was so beautiful and fun riding.
I spent the evening at the hotel feeling exhausted and sun-baked. A Swede ha taken the German girls bed, and there's a bunch if older French people who I spoke to for a while, using French tht I've not spoken for years. Somehow the whole drug gang violence doesn't seem so bad when you're trying to explain it to someone else in a language that's a struggle to remember.
I found an article about what happened. Pretty heavy. But reading it makes me feel safer. It doesn't seem like te kind of thing that would spill over to tourists. It makes me feel better about being so conspicuously touristy! No one could mistake the gangly hiker with the bright red backpack for a member if the military or a rival gang member.
Tomorrow I'm planing to take the bus an hour west to Divisadero on the edge of the canyon. It's a very popular stop on the train with a $100 a night hotel. I'll get there early enough to hike down into the canyon to camp for the night. I hope it's a bit warmer there. It's pretty much freezing here at night, but very hot in the day.
Apologies for the bad spelling/capitalisation/etc. This is all being typed on my phone.