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getting cold in mexico

The trouble with mountains in winter, even in Mexico, is that they are cold. We are heading for Creel, which sits at an elevation of around 7500 feet and it has been a very long time since any of us have been below about 5000 feet.

The nights are pretty chilly and it is very hard to set off early when it is below freezing: ice on the tent, ice on the sleeping bag, drinking water solid ice. Breaking camp is a dismal affair, the tent packed away with ice crystals slowly melting, a cold soggy mess waiting for the evening, and my sleeping bag promises to be damp once the day’s warmth thaws the icy ring around the opening where my breath has condensed during the night.

The sun comes up giving a feeble warmth but even after sunrise the fog persists and riding to the nearest town for breakfast is a painful business with icicle fingers and toes.

A cold camp in a farm field.

A cold camp in a farm field.

A cold foggy morning.

The cold foggy morning reveals...

Fields of icy grass.

...fields of icy grass...

...and a frozen helmet, forgotten outside the tent.

...and a frozen helmet, forgotten outside the tent.

We are keen to get to Creel without further distraction and ride over the mountainous roads as fast as we can.

The landscape is spectacular but the road steep and unforgiving.

The landscape is spectacular but the road steep and unforgiving.

We lunch in a sunny field and spread out our tents and sleeping bags to dry.

We lunch in a sunny field where we spread out our tents and sleeping bags to dry.

Mexican roads are liberally dotted with shrines and religious images.

An image of Guadalupe painted on a roadside rockface.

An image of Guadalupe painted on a roadside rock-face approaching Creel.

Creel is the centre for tourism in the Copper Canyon area and we decide to make it our base while we gather information. Once we finally arrive we rent an apartment for a few days but, in general, find Creel to be a town without a vibrant heart and reliable information and maps hard to come by.

Studying maps in our telenovella apartment. The fruit bowl centre piece on the table was an astonishing piece of interior decorating.

Studying maps in our telenovella apartment - the fruit bowl centre piece on the dining room table is an astonishing piece of interior decorating that amuses us for our entire stay.

Sunset over Creel - a town without much grace.

Sunset over Creel - a town without much grace...

...however, we do discover a local cafe with charm and a wi-fi connection.

...however, we do discover a local cafe with some charm and a wi-fi connection.

After a few days in Creel, we start to make various plans for escape. Jason is spending New Year on the beach in southern Mexico, Jeff and Cass also have a vague plan for a New Year coastal escapade via the Copper Canyon Express to Los Mochis, while I am thinking, despite the temptations of beaches, sunshine and fish, that I would like to visit Urique at the bottom of North American deepest canyon. Earlier research has uncovered, Entre Amigos, a eco-garden hostel there that sounds appealing and I am foolishly undaunted by the 2000 metre descent to reach it.

The Copper Canyon Express train is way most people see the Copper Canyon. It passes through Creel and is probably the reason for Creels popularity with tourists.

The Copper Canyon Express train is way most people see the Copper Canyon complex. It passes through Creel and is probably the reason for Creel's popularity with tourists.

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