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the road to urique

I imagine, now that I am on the road to Urique, that it won’t be long before I get there but over fifty kilometres of steep unsurfaced road prove slow to negotiate. I spend the day climbing up and down steep hills, passing through a series of villages. After a particularly long steep climb I find myself, at dusk, looking for another place to camp on an anonymous mountain top with Urique nowhere in sight.

An abandoned car on the road to Urique.

An abandoned car on the road to Urique.

A roadside shrine on an otherwise undistinguished hilltop.

A roadside shrine on an otherwise undistinguished hilltop.

The following morning I set off again on Christmas day hoping to arrive in Urique before nightfall and hoping that, since I had three days start, Cass and Jeff don’t pass me on the road before I get there. After yesterdays climb I can scarely believe that there is more to do today but it turns out to be the case and it is several hours before I arrive at a lookout where I can see Urique sitting along the river in the canyon far below.

Urique sits in the deepest canyon in North America. The town has been there since the 1600s, with road access only since 1975.

Urique sits in the deepest canyon in North America. The town has been there since the mid-1600s, with road access only since 1975.

The road descends around 2000 metres in a crazy series of switch-backs over fourteen kilometres. It is not a ride for the faint-hearted. I take the descent easy, taking care to avoid the Christmas drunks roaring up the hill in the opposite direction in their pick-up trucks.

Glimspes of the road descending.

Glimpses of the road descending.

Best not to think about getting out of here again... yet...

As I descend the climate changes. The pines and oak trees disappear and cactus and mesquite appear. Best not to think about getting out of here again...

Eventually, I find myself at the bottom of the canyon and manage to find my way to Entre Amigos, an organic eco-hostel, run by, Keith, an American old-timer who has been in Urique for thirty-five years with his Mexican wife.

Urique has a long history - this decrepit, but still elegant, shop clearly has been here a long time.

Urique has a long history - this decrepit, but still elegant, shop clearly has been here a while.

A corn symbol on a shop front, covering a coca cola sign.

A corn symbol on a shop front, covering a coca cola sign.

A drunk cowboy on the streets of Urique.

A drunk cowboy on the streets of Urique.

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