We left Batopilas about an hour before sunrise by car on a very rugged bit of mountain road out to see the sunrise at the Satevo Mission. The mission is also known as the “Lost Cathedral" as nearly all of its records were destroyed in a couple of fires so no one knowns for sure when it was built or by who. On the drive out, we passed by a kid walking in the dark towards Batopilas to go to school. This was roughly a five mile trip for this kid. We snickered about the stories we had heard from our grandparents about some variation of walking to school, in the snow, uphill, both ways...This kid was living proof that gramps may not have been totally BSing us. Once at the mission, I tried to do some long exposure shots of the mission by moonlight, but they did not come out as well as I had hoped. While the mission was impressive I was not pleased with the early morning light either. We were back on the crude road back Batopilas about 30 minutes after sunrise.
On the way back to town we did make a stop at a very only cemetery just outside of town. Some of tombstones were so old they were no longer legible. The cemetery reminded of a scene from one of Clint Eastwood's westerns, High Noon. We did find one that read 1907, but I am sure there are many older ones there. We made it back to our hotel in time to join the rest of the group for breakfast.
Since we had arrived in Batopilas the three phone lines that served the entire town from a small store in the center of town had been down. I imagined someone making a long walk up the canyon hand over hand checking the cable to see where a goat had chewed through it or something like that. Around mid-morning we got word that the phone lines were operational so we excitingly strolled (the town is too relaxing to hurry in) over to the store. Two calls and two voicemails were all I got.
I spent the middle part of the day practicing my siesta skills before Kevin and I headed back out to Satevo to see how it looked in the afternoon light. Paul and Joey had left an hour earlier and we planned to meet them there. The road was much nicer to travel on via bike than by car and just about as quick. The mission in the afternoon light was quite striking particularly from a distance.
When Kevin and I arrived, Paul and Joey had already made friends with the local kids as they let them ride their bikes around the mission courtyard. We followed suit and had a great time watching the kids play. I showed them how to work the gears and before we knew it we a little MTB crit action going. The boys giggled on just about every lap and would occasionally stop and swap bikes so they could get a feel for which bike they liked the best. The thought did not escape us that these kids maybe riding bikes that could be worth more money they will every see for a long time to come.
Here are some of the shots of the MTB crit.
After a long break at the mission we reacquired our bikes and started to make our way back to Batopilas. The afternoon light was bringing out the colors of the canyon so we took our time and grabbed some photos. There was a rather picturesque swinging bridge near the mission that we took some interest in before heading off into the increasingly impressive glowing colors of the canyon as sunset neared.
That night we enjoyed another really good meal in a local restaurant while we discussed tomorrow’s big climb out of the canyon that would involve 42 miles and over 7,000 feet of climbing if you made it all the way to the top of Batopilas road. The general plan was that the van was going to leave Batopilas at 8:30AM with an expected arrived time at the top of the road of noon. If you got caught by the van, you had to get in. About five of us had committed to attempting the climb out and most others shot for a goal of La Bufa. Everyone had different times they were going to leave and I was planning on leaving at 4:30AM to give myself 7 ½ hours to complete the climb. Blair thought I could do much better and started a little wagering pool on what time I was going to get the climb done in or even if I could complete it. These folks were obviously not paying attention to how many tequilas and cervezas I was having that night.