After Casas Grandes and Creel also being named as such, Batopilas is the first "Pueblo Magico" that is truly magical to me. Quite a few places in Mexico get that title in order to promote tourism.

Batopilas is just a small village but with its beautifully colored houses, clean streets, kids playing on the Plaza until late at night and its authentic atmosphere it immediately caught me. It also seems like a place where a famous writer would go and write one of his/her bestselling novels. Hence, I have the plan to stay two days, catch up with my writing and simply take it easy before another two to three days of bike pushing through the canyons awaits me towards Guachochie. The little Hotel Juanita that I am staying at, is supposed be my place to be for the next days... If there wouldn't be one significant problem. Money!

The hotel is cheap and food, too. Still I am very low on cash. I ask for an ATM but the answer I get is: "Well, there is somebody that comes every Monday to the town hall and you can withdraw cash with him". I am not 100% sure what that even means and don't have any hopes that I could withdraw with my credit card but that doesn't matter anyway. It's Saturday today = no cash for me in Batopilas and not a single place where you would be able to pay with credit card. After I travelled through Canada without a single CAD of cash and through the US with hardly any need for cash I am in the first country where cash is king.

After counting my emergency cash reserves I realize that I could make it work when I cut out extra expenses like restaurant visits. Deal!

And so I spend two very nice days in Batopilas without doing all that much [there is also not all that much to do here]. The cell service is bad, the wifi doesn't really work. I go for a walk through the few streets twice a day and spend most of the day just writing and relaxing in the beautiful green backyard of the hotel by the river. The humming birds fly by, exotic birds sing their song, pleasant 25 degrees. Perfect setting!

Apart from a Dutch couple and Jo from the US who also stay at my hotel I don't see any other tourist. Jo invites me for a dinner and also hooks me up with some cash that I return via bank transfer. That gives me a bit more flexibility and so the money issue is solved as well. He is a very nice guy, retired and currently on a 3 month motor cycle trip to Honduras.

After the two easy days, I make my way out of Batopilas rather late at 10am. I feel like I could have spend a week here. But I am also already a week in the canyons, I realize. Time went by fast. I am packed with 6l of water and plenty of food for another two to three days of pushing Klaus out of this canyon, la Barranca de Batopilas. As I leave the village, a pickup with heavily armed people passes me. They great friendly. Once the car passed me, I smell the scent of weed in the air. It is pretty obvious who these guys are. More or less since I entered the canyons I am traveling through cartel lands but this was my first obvious encounter. Just as the Tarahuamara who used the canyons to hide, the cartels also realized that the remote, hardly accessible canyons might be a good place to do, what these guys tend to do. I am not particularly worried. As much as I hate to say: "I know what I am doing" without any real life experience. But I guess, I know what I am doing. I did my home work. Other cyclists wrote about uncritical riding and relaxed encounters with the cartel. And also many locals that I asked over the course of the last weeks, agreed that they are not a realistic danger to me. They are interested in me to the degree that they might ask me what my interinary is. They might make sure that I stay on the road and not accidently stumble into a field of... And they might make sure I don't take pictures of things I shouldn't take pictures of. These guys simply want to know what's going on in their territory. Apart from that, they have no interest in doing any harm to me whatsoever.

What makes me so sure? Firstly, they are often involved in tourism, too and thus benefit from a "safe" reputation of the region. Secondly, a mishap with a tourist, especially an international like me, would result in investigations they'd surely prefer to avoid. They simply want to do there business. I don't want to play anything down what they do. Still, I am here for the canyons and am rather sure it will be all fine until I am out again. Just based on my own, totally subjective feelings, I even feel safer here, than in the days before I reached the canyons. As I climb out of Urique the few houses on the remote road also look in much better shape. Between Urique and Batopilas the sheds of the Tarahuamara where very primitive and basic. Throughout the day I see quite a few guys hanging around with walkie talkies. Also quite sure, what their job is. They are keeping an eye on what's going on. That includes me. Me? Oh well, I am pushing my bike today for roughly 20km and 2000m vertically. The scenery is great but I am rather busy. I could have taken the paved road out of Batopilas but chose the off-road section again. I just spare you a repetition of this procedure. I am quite happy with the progress since I managed to leave most of the steep parts behind today. I am in good spirits but it is not particularly fun. Thus, I also decide to take the way out via Guachochie instead of continuing through yet another canyon [up and down] towards Guadeloupe y Calvo. I think, I got what I was looking for.

After enjoying a spectacular golden hour I find a nice hidden spot to camp and enjoy an even more spectacular sunset high up over the canyons.