The Rio Sonora in northwest Mexico begins at a spring just south of the U.S. border and cuts through the Sonoran Desert on its way to the Gulf of California near Kino Bay. Life in the Rio Sonora Valley has survived on the river's modest flows for centuries. The Opata Indians were the most recent of the native peoples and were living along its banks when the Spaniards arrived. Although they have long since disappeared, their lyrical names for many of the towns remain. The rough terrain and uncertain water supply have helped the area maintain its rural roots. Local delicacies, spicy chilies, historic missions, and a relaxed way of life all await a trip though the valley of the Rio Sonora.