Welcome to the New Canelo Chronicles via the Rio Sonora

Taken during early August 2011 at the Crisanto bridge.
Mid-day photo of the Rio Sonora in full flow just north of Banamichi at Crisanto.

Welcome to our newly redesigned Blog and our website should you decide to have a look there as well, both long overdue for change. Thanks to our friend Anastacia Gutierrez – www.gwiz.biz, web designer par excellent, we have a new and rather exciting look.  The best thing about how she set it up is that Athena and I can maintain it and make changes without being dependent on her.  Besides the new look there are several main changes.  The blog will now be integrated as part of our website.  It will be a lot cleaner and should be easier to navigate.

So this is the first post to this format, as we travel and teach through Europe they will arrive in this new format.  By the way, it’s an absolutely beautiful summer monsoon-time Canelo afternoon.  2:30 pm, overcast all day, raining softly since morning, 66 degrees F.  It’s always hard to leave here in August, it’s unquestionably one of the best places to be in the southwest during that time of year.  Might be the world for that matter.  Thankfully we’ve been here at least half the month.  My only worry is that the rain might follow us to Europe and in the northern climates of Denmark and Finland, I think that would be quite on the cool side.

Anyhow, as for this post, let’s go back to the Rio Sonora area, the subject of a number of my winter posts.  After returning from Denver, the weather forecast indicated that it might be a good period for monsoonal rains in the area.  My growing photo collection of the area lacked images from that time of year, so I decided to use the opportunity to make a quick trip to the area and take care of a number of other pending odds and ends.  Athena, Kalin and Benito were not back yet, it was either go alone or find a traveling companion to go along.  Turned out the our very good friend Valer Austin, owner of a number of ranches along the border in Mexico, after a season of fires, hassles with both American and Mexican agencies was more than ready for a break.  Plus she has a great spirit of adventure, heavy rain, reasonable flooding of rivers and desert washes, she welcomes with great enthusiasm.  Turned out to be a perfect match and it was also a chance for her to make a number of new connections and acquaintances.  Valer and husband Josiash’s website for their ambitious and highly commendable land restoration efforts in the borderlands region is:  www.cuencalosojos.org

On the same trip, we arranged for director Mia Hansen of Tucson Meet Yourself and her assistant Korey Riggs, to meet us in Banamichi so they could also meet with various people who will be involved in the October festival in Tucson – //www.tucsonmeetyourself.org/festival-info/  This is an exciting year for this year’s Tucson Meet Yourself in that it will have a double theme – Traditions of Health and Wellness and the Sonoran Pavillion  which will host representatives of all types of businesses, organizations and the like from Sonora, Mexico.  I notice that the Festival’s website isn’t quite up to date to include this information, but for now, I’ll say that the dates are October 14-16 and of course, the fabulous dance troupe from the Rio Sonora area – Grupo Danza Xunutzi will be featured prominently in a number of appearances.

Having the Sonoran Pavillion is a huge thing in that finally there will be something positive to be said and encouraged about the border region and Mexico other than the constant bombardment of nothing but negative sensational news.  It will be a great opportunity to meet a lot of new faces that are working in those regions.  Another marvelous piece to this year’s festival is a Saturday night gala event honoring Festival founder and Southwest folklorist Big Jim Griffith.  It is entitled “Hats Off to Big Jim,” Saturday, October 15th at the Fox Theatre.  It’s free, but to ensure seating, tickets are required.   More info from mia@tucsonmeetyourself.com

And as always, all of us stayed at La Posada del Rio Sonora in Banamichi, owned by friends Darrin and Cheri Jones, managed by another good friend, Mauro Maldonado.  www.mexicoecoresort.com

La Posada hotel in Banamichi on the Rio Sonora
The beautiful courtyard of the La Posada del Rio Sonora, Banamichi, Mexico.
The entrance to Bacoachi, Sonora, Mexico on the Rio Sonora Route.
Entering the town of Bacoachi on the Rio Sonora Route heading south towards Banamchi.

That should do as an overview of the trip.  I’ll let the photos that follow tell the rest of the story.It has been a decent monsoon season in the Rio Sonora area which came as relief to a very bad winter drought when absolutely no rain fell.   The stress on the landscape and cattle was tremendous.  Thankfully those conditions have been somewhat alleviated.  Of course, a whole lot more would be better, if you ask anyone from this part of the world whether or not the summer rains have been good, they will readily tell you that a whole lot more will be great, that they can take all they can get.  For our drive, just enough rain and clouds to make it really beautiful, but not so much to make it stressful.

There are several low water river crossings along the way, that for most of the year do not create problems, but require some vigilance during the summer monsoon season.

Truck tow near Unamichi and Bacoachi on the Rio Sonora
Truck being pulled from the Rio Sonora on the first river crossing going south from the border.
Summer floods on the Rio Sonora near Banamichi.
The river in full flow looking east from the Bridge at Banamichi.
Rainbow on the Rio Sonora near the town of Arizpe
Late afternoon monsoon rainbow near Arizpe.

The first item on the agenda arriving Banamichi was tacos with some of the members of the Xunutzi so that they could see Valer, at whose ranch they have danced and also meet Mia Hansen and Korey Riggs who got in a little later.  Not that you will remember their names, perhaps those of you who know them will, but from the left Jackeline, Cruz Elena, Ana Gabriela, Jorge, Carolina, Marco, Lupita and Valer Austin.

Tacos with Martin and Irma in Banamichi.
Carne Asada Tacos with Xunutzi dance group.


The old flour mill in Banamichi on the Rio Sonora
The old mill in Banamichi near the river.


Nopalito coctel with Armida Elena Contreras at La Posada del Rio Sonora
Sunday morning breakfast with Armida Contreras and family with Noaplito (prickly pear cactus) and heirloom wheat berries.
Korey Riggs, Mia Hansen and Ivonne Quintero Molina.
Korey Riggs and Mia Hansen of Tucson Meet Yourself with Ivonne Quintero Molina of Sonora Tourism and the Tinamastes center for a midnight meeting on the Banamichi plaza.

After a full day of meetings, Korey and Mia departed and Valer and I spent Sunday with a wonderful couple from Banamichi, Ruben Molina Molina and his fiance Ivonne Quintero Molina at their capacitation center called Tinamastes in Banamichi.  They provide team building and other skills for youth of the valley, their facilities boast a first class rope course, dormitory sleeping areas and classrooms.  Currently they are offering a multi-faceted program that includes the rope course, first responder training, tourism and I’m not sure what else, but it is very inspiring to see what they are doing.

Tinamastes of Ruben Molina Molina and Ivonne Quintero Molina
The Tinamastes rope course in Banamichi operated by Ruben Molina Molina and Ivonne Quintero Molina.


Ruben Molina Molina, Ivonne Quintero Molina, Tinamastes
Training on the rope course at Tinamastes.


Ruben Molina doing the tire crossing at Tinamastes.
Ruben Molina Jr. demonstrating his skills on the tire section of the rope course.
Tinamastes Rope Course
Ruben Molina Molina, co-director of Tinamastes.

I don’t think Tinamastes has their own website, but you can follow them on Facebook.

Banamichi has a fabulous ice cream, paleta, raspado place, La Michoacana on the main street entering town.  It is a much welcome place at the end of a hot summer day.  Mitzi Duarte on the left who is shown with Ruben Molina Jr. operates InfoMex through Facebook that releases a regular dose of tourist information.  There are regular and current posts about activities in Hermosillo and Sonora.

Nieve en Banamichi
Mitzi Duarte of InfoMex and Ruben Molina Jr. celebrating the end of the day.

To close out our stay, Ruben Molina took a group of us to a beautiful spot called El Tajo, which is the spring that provided water to the town of Banamichi for those who originally settled there.  Now it feeds one of the main “acequias” or irrigation ditches for the area.  I will tell you something about this photo, besides it being a beautiful location, it was almost dark when we arrived, I had no tripod and I just winged it on a high iso setting, played with it, tweaked it and what you see below is from a photo standpoint, just short of miraculous.

El Tajo spring, Banamichi, Rio Sonora Valley
El Tajo spring on the Rio Sonora on the outskirts of Banamichi.
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  1. YAY

    Hope you have a fantastic trip ….will look forward to the tales and photos…new look is way up there…..post card treatment much fun. Best jk

  2. Very nice change! It’s an excellent look and I’m loving the pictures. Will we we able to send you folks pictures? We are just about to start an addition to our little strawbale in Northern Minnesota. Mud is one of our favorite things too!

    Take care,

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