The California Native International Adventures

Since 1983

From The California Native Newsletter:

A Place Above the Clouds

Lauro and Solecito Marquez By Marcia Schultz
Eight-year-old Solecito runs to greet us with a bright smile as we arrive at the Norítari Lodge, in Mexico’s Copper Canyon. Surrounded by pine trees in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, the lodge at Norítari is a favorite relaxing place for California Native guests. In Rarámuri, the language of the Tarahumara Indians, Norítari means "Place Above the Clouds."

The lodge is the realization of the dream of Lauro and Soledad Marquez, who live here with their daughter, Solecito, a Nahuatl Indian, whom they adopted at birth. Lauro was formerly an engineer with INEGI, the Mexican Government Institute for Statistical and Geographical Information. He met Soledad when she was working for the Acapulco city government. A few years before, she had taught in the Sierras and was enchanted by the beauty of the area and the friendliness of its people.

The couple purchased the land in 1995 and three years later began construction of the lodge. Presently they have nine log cabins (cabañas) with two rooms each, which Sol has decorated with colorful furniture and crafts from all over Mexico. Each room has a large fireplace—it gets cool at 7,800 feet in the Sierras.

Geese and turkeys challenge visitors on the paths, while horses and cows graze peacefully in the meadows.

On the old-fashioned porch, which wraps around two pine trees, we relax with cafe de olla, a cinnamon bark tea to which coffee grounds are added. Then we are treated to a gourmet dinner that Sol prepares for us: zucchini squash soup, cinnamon beef with sopes, and local baked apples in a delicious sauce. Lauro then has us try his private label mescal.

The next day we drive to Basaseachic Falls—at 811 feet it is one of Mexico’s highest. We view the falls from an observation point and enjoy our picnic lunch. Hikers have the opportunity to hike down the trail to the pool at the foot of the falls, while the others chat and soak in the beautiful scenery. When the hikers return, we head back to Norítari for another fine dinner at our "place above the clouds."

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