This is one of the wonderful stories Micah originally wrote on his site


By Micah True

It was late in the winter of 1995. The gringo called Caballo Blanco had returned to the Copper Canyon after spending the winter running through the jungles of Quintana Roo, on the Yucatan peninsula. The previous fall had been his first trip to La Sierra Madre Occidental [the mother mountains of the west]. That is when he had delivered 400 quality coats and sweaters donated by the good people of Boulder, to the village of his new Tarahumara runner friends whom he had met at the '94 Leadville 100. Every man, woman and child of the high mountain village of Choguita had received a quality coat or sweater, coming from a town that was known for quality. Caballo Blanco had vowed to return, and to visit the deep canyons that he had heard so much about, to run and explore.

Here he was, sitting on the train on his way to the 6,000 foot deep canyon town of Urique, where the plan was to do a fast/pack running trip over to Batopilas canyon in 1 day. Nobody that anybody knows had actually made this trip from town to town in one day; oh sure, from river canyon to river canyon at times, but not the towns of Batopilas to Urique or visa-versa. Of course, thought Caballo Blanco rather confidently, the people that live in these parts are just a bunch of cigarette [did i spell that right?] smoking Mexican cowboys and marijuana growers! And the Tarahumara Indians that lived in the canyons had no reason to travel from one canyon to the other. Certainly an ultra runner from Colorado would have no problem making this journey in one day. The man called horse had hitch-hiked from the train station to the village of Urique, where he got a $5 bed in the hotel canon, ate a hearty meal in the morning, then set out for his canyon to canyon run. Running down river along a new dirt road, he would look across the Urique river to the east, at the mother mountains, seeking out a trail that he could take out of the canyon, climbing to the top of the mountains, where it would then be easy sailing down into the Batopilas canyon [not!]. A local had told him about a new motorcycle trail that the governor of the state was building for his spoiled son, who was an avid motorcyclist. No problema! This nice smooth trail climbed upward, not too steep, and Caballo Blanco was on the move, endorphins buzzing through his happy state of cerebral bliss.

What happened to the trail? It seems to have disappeared, like it was 'beamed up'. Every which way he searched, following goat trails that would dead end at a little abandoned rancho, circling back to point 0, nada; looking at his watch, so much for a record, unless he got moving soon. Heck, it was only a few hundred meters to the crest of the mountains, as the buzzard flies; and they were, los zopilotes [buzzards] circling overhead, curiously watching this gringo loco who was now scaling the flaky rock faced mountain, water bottle between his teeth, looking down below at the long drop, above at the grinning vultures who were anticipating a meal. How did he get himself into such predicaments? Sometimes, in the quest for adventure, he would find himself living an epic that really was not so enjoyable while it was happening, although fun to tell stories about later. Crawling on his belly like a reptile, pulling himself upward by grasping at plants growing precariously from the canyon-side, he finally arrived at the rim and crest of the mountain, exhausted. Regaining his breath, he ran along the mountain ridge to the south, knowing that Batopilas was in a southeast direction. Oops....a dead end again, this time surrounded by tall weed like plants with big buds that smelled strongly of skunk........hmmm... Buzzing along his way again, or out of his way, the thirsty horse-man had been dry quite awhile now. He took a pee that was orange in color. He recalled being dehydrated at the Wasatch 100 miler one year, peeing the same color. "Hey Gordon, what do ya think of this?", he had asked his rocket-scientist running buddy that day in the past, that was now blending into the present. "Not good"; had confirmed Gordon, showing why he was a rocket scientist.

Spotting a shallow pool of water, colored brown with cow shit, he filled one water bottle, dropped two iodine tablets into the murky mix that was floating in his water bottle, made the sign of the cross, and continued his run. Stumbling onward, he spotted a little ranch where a Tarahumara man was plowing a field. The Tarahumara man sent his young son to the well to fill Caballo Blanco's water bottles, and gave the depleted traveler a bag full of pinole. "Korima" [sharing], was the only word spoken by the gracious Tarahumara; and fueled by the korima, the generosity of these humble people, fueled by the beauty of La Sierra Madre, the running man called horse continued his run without incident until arriving that night at the lovely deep canyon town of Batopilas, thoroughly trashed, humbled by La Sierra Madre; NO records!