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The People's Guide to Mexico Travel Letter: Suspended
The Copper Canyon: Batopilas

PG Travel Letter? Batopilas?

Letter from Fred & Linda Wisely
Responses: Carl Franz & Mike Huckaby

Published: February 2011

Several years ago we met you guys in Batopillas at a small "motel" you were residing at. We hiked to Urique and spend some time touring Mexico. When we returned a few months later, we subscribed to your newsletter. As I recall we sent our check to a place in the East where it was published. I think it was about $10.00. We never received a copy and after a couple of follow up letters we gave up.

I am sure it was an administrative error of some kind. If you still do a newsletter of some kind via paper or email, we would still like to subscribe. We are planning a trip back there in a couple of years and need to update ourselves on what is going on. Please provide information on how we would subscribe to your newsletter or something similar that you might recommend.

Many thanks
Fred and Linda Wisely

Carl responds:

Dear Fred and Linda,

I'm afraid that the newsletter is no longer being done, at least in a print edition. We found it too expensive to maintain as “hard copy”, so in its place we now have our main The People's Guide to Mexico website and my Talk About Mexico blog

I'm very sorry about your check - to blame it on “an adminstrative error” is actually quite an understatement, as we must confess to being notoriously disorganized and negligent, especially when it comes to administrative tasks. Along with a sincere apology, I'd like to reimburse you - please send a postal address or a PayPal address.

You can also take advantage of our reader's expertise and personal experience by registering on my blog and posting questions of your own there. We have some very knowledgeable travelers there, so please don't be shy.

Carl and Lorena

Thank you for your prompt reply and kind offer for a refund. While we appreciate it, that is not required. We will review your website and, if there is something that is super important, we know we can count on you to answer our questions.

Sadly, from others, we have heard that Batopilas is becoming unfriendly and that some cartel members are tightening their hold in the Canyon related to the drug trade. Hopefully, those are rumors, but it would be appreciated if you could shed some light on that.

We hope to see you both again and trust that your health is still good.
Fred and Linda Wisely

Lorena responds:

Our friends and Copper Canyon guides Cathy Waterman and Mike Huckaby continue to lead backpacking and burro assisted trips in this area. ( I asked them for an update on Batopilas.

Mike Huckaby replied:

The answer to your inquiry is yes. Batopilas has changed. Maybe it's just that what was in the shadows is now out in the open, but if you know the signs, you see it. For instance, the brother of a mayoral candidate was killed in broad daylight while bringing in people to vote. He wasn't anti-drug, just not the PRI, which we think seems to be the more corrupt or entrenched group.

Also Chapo Guzman seems to enjoy some favor in Mexico as the government sanctioned clean-up man in some drug wars. However, La Linea is and has traditionally been the major influence in Bato. It seems La Linea has the reputation of being brutal, killing indiscriminantly, and not paying. They have the rep of hiring young meth heads or some kind of kids that seems not to know right from wrong.

And now they say that there a new bit of real estate kind of next to the river, on the next block over from Hotel Real de Minas, where all they do is fix up SUV's with super dark windows, etc. It has been said that none of these cars can leave Bato, because they're all totally illegal.

Other news: Did you know that there's now a road from Bato to Urique. It zigzags up the low hill just downstream of the Arroyo Camuchin. Also, there is now bus service from Cieniguita de la Barranca to Urique.

I don't know if you are aware that the cable car from Piedra Volada near Divisadero is up and running, with a 7 segment Tyrolean traverse ending at the same mesa just above the lunch spot where we used to stop on our hikes. ($20 cablecar, $60 zipline).

The orange grove, our traditional first night on the burro trips, is now a naked arroyo due to a flash flood last summer. There are just a few trees left, mainly high on the far bank. Anselmo's orchard is gone, nothing but stripped tree trunks in the river now. We now have to hike to the river in a day.

For more on Batopilas, the Copper Canyon and Copper Canyon Hikes and Burror Assisted Trips, and The Copper Canyon Trails.

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