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Copper Canyon

Misery Camp to Divisidero - December 31, 1986

We'd discussed the plan for the next day before calling it a day and all of us agreed, well actually Dan and I made the decision, that we would head for Divisidero the next morning. The plan was to take it easy and work our way backup about 4000 feet of vetical, camp again at Divisidero and then catch the train the following afternoon. That would make for a lot of down time but there was always the chance that we would get out soon enough to catch the afternoon train, this afternoon. We packed the camp, which was really easy as all we did was put away the stove and stuff the sleepng bags into the packs. Now I will admit, the packs were getting lighter by the day but there was still a lot of weight that we were just stuck with.

We were off, taking it easy and just covering ground at a steady rest step, not really worried about setting any time records. The hounds were patient with us and maintained a vigil in the unlikey case of a daytime attempt their supply train. We got up and out of the inner canyon and were back at the donkey dropping water hole. We filled a quart each and made sure that we knew which bottle was which as these two quarts were going to be the last ones we dipped into and we would drink from them only on the threat of serious dehydration. We came to the cola house and were again invited and, lets be honest, hard sold a Coke each, well it was not too hard of a sell, given the donkey quarts in our packs. The fellow even managed to conive me into buying a Tarahumara fiddle, a hand made affair that this fellow could almost play and which I could not get to put out any sound other than that of a tortured rodent.

With a raw wood fiddle strapped to my pack, and three dogs at our side, we moved on, knowing that w we needed only to get back up to Divisidero to catch the train, that is . . . the train with the dining car with the white table cloths. We walked and walked and walked, making good steady time, not hurting, not in any real pain, just taking in the magnificent scenery as we slowly climbed higher and higher. For those who have done the Grand Canyon, the hike is differnt as there are not always the obvious multiple layers of geologic strata lying on on top of the other but instead, you are often just winding your wasy ever higher through eroded strata. We were soon on the home stretch and when within no more than 100 yards of the top, we stopped to chat with an anglo couple who had a local guide and were headed down into the canyon. We told them of our brief but increidble trip and wished them well on theirs.

As we stood there, we detected something different, a change in the hounds. thye looked at us, and then at the other couple. We started walking on and the black dog stopped, took one last look at Dan and I, before he tacitly signaling to his compadres that their task was complete but . . . at the same time just starting. With nary another glance they turned and trotted off to the other couple who told them to shoo and go back with us. I stopped and told the gal that getting them to leave was neither and option nor a good idea. I told her that they had a job to do and it was best to not interfere with them, that they'd been with us for three days and they would now accompany them to the bottom . . .and that would be a good thing. With a shrug of the shoulder, the guy and gal, the local and three hounds started on their trip into Copper Canyon.

We arrived at the tracks after the train had left but that was of no import. We found a different place to pitch the tent, on a wodnerful flat spot ten feet from the switch stand marking the western terminus of the Divisidero siding. I surmised that the freight train crews might be surprised to see the green pup tent next to the switch stand this evening as they worked one freight past the other in the dead of night. But we were train fans and real fans do things like that. We dined not out of our packs but from the tienda that sold the burritos, which to this day, were the best burritos that I've ever eaten. After dinner, we looked out over the canyon and then walked down the tracks and the tent for the night.