–by G.K. Sydney (photos and column)
Well, true to form, you are not finished hearing from us yet. There are other things to be told about our epic Baja journey and there will be no rest until they are put to paper (online, in this case). So, if you can take some more, sit down again with that Margarita and relax. The journey continues.
Yes, we got a wave from Barack and we chilled in the Mexican sun but the adventures didn’t stop there. Even though we had no expectations other than rest and relaxation, strangely enough, STUFF kept happening. For instance….
One day we decided to go for a hike. Apparently there was a great hike through a canyon (in these mountains, when it rains it is so powerful that huge gashes are cut through the landscape) where there were giant rocks to clamber over, pools with which to cool off and beautiful scenery in every direction. Ok, let’s go!
So a visit to a tour company (in Loreto, some of the “tour” companies are, in reality, great locals with an office and a van) got us two seats on the next morning’s ride to the canyon. Yahoo! We were excited and, the evening before, did meticulous planning for this adventure.
In the morning, backpacks and sunscreen in hand, we were ready. A young man in the company van (a touch rickety but we weren’t being picky) picked us up at our hotel and we were off. Adventure? Yes. Smart, safe, well-thought-out? Sort of.
Anyway, we were on our way. The ride to our destination was half an hour. The walk from the van began with a gravel path leading into the canyon via a huge break in the mountain. Suddenly, there were cacti and rocks everywhere. The highway receded and the rocks began to get bigger. And bigger. As our intrepid guide said, in broken English, there were rocks here bigger than HOUSES. He wasn’t kidding.
Now the question was, how do you get past these “houses”? Over? Under? Around? Well, it seems all three were to be utilized and at the expense of our poor thighs. I mean, think about it, climbing over a rock the size of your house is no easy feat (at this point, a discussion of age would be appropriate, but that’s not gonna happen, forget it). And so, Jim and I obediently climbed, stooped, shimmied and crawled over and under and around and used any other means we could manage to follow this young man as he acted like a mountain goat scrambling on ahead of us. I could hear a few grunts (Jim), moans (me) and calls (the guide) of “You OK back there?” but other than that, the canyon was silent and seriously beautiful.
On we went, higher and higher because, in actuality, we were climbing the lowest slopes of a mountain as we cut through the landscape. There were pools and waterfalls and cacti and endless rocks. And there were cliff edges.
Our guide scurried across the side of a cliff and then called back to me, “Ok, your turn.”
When I hesitated, he said, “Just put your foot there…and your hand there…”.
I nervously looked where he was pointing. It seemed to me like the places he had indicated were the size of a Canadian quarter or maybe a loonie (or maybe my panic was causing a bit of a perception problem?), but whatever, I just knew that I had better do it right. And so I slowly, slowly moved across the cliff face to his outstretched hand.
Omigod, what was I doing?
Safely across, muscles quivering and heart rate sky high, on we went. A respite came when we reached a breath-taking pool and he said, “I take your picture?” Sure! Does this mean a rest? A stop? Go for it.
And on it went. As you can see, we made it back to write this story, but there really were times when that was debatable.
Oh, and did I mention the mountain climbing?
Well, anyway, we did live to see another day. And another adventure. This time, it was, incredibly, in the magical company of some gorgeous dolphins. Swim with us, anyone?
And yet another interesting event, that of a few hours experiencing the town’s gringo bar. Believe me, only one visit was in order here.
And as if we hadn’t had enough, the next day, horseback riding. On, our very local guide told us, a couple of handsome stallions, no less. Caught in the wild. Tamed exclusively by him. Okay for gringos to ride, no problem. And there we were, after a three-hour ride and after being given all this dubious, somewhat scary information, still alive.
But maybe the best adventure of all was yet to come. On our last evening in town, we decided just to get a quick pizza. At the restaurant, we were seated with another couple (nice Mexican habit: seat strangers together, no problem) and we all started the usual: Where are you from, where are you staying, how long are you here and on and on. Well.
It seems that the couple we were seated with were not exactly your normal tourists. As the conversation progressed, we learned:
- They own and were presently staying in the grandest house in town. Value according to Google: 6.9 million AMERICAN. Wow.
- They also own a 15,000 acre ranch and 150 horses in Montana. Just picked it all up one day from the actor Mel Gibson when he decided to sell. Huh.
- They just happen to own another little place – a lodge (not a house, not a cabin) in a fly-in only acreage in Alaska. When I asked if they had a lot of customers, he said, Oh no, it’s only for family and friends. Oh.
- They had arrived in Loreto by plane. Their plane. One of many. Oh again.
Anyway, the evening progressed, getting more and more interesting by the moment. It seems we hit it off and by the end, we had new best friends. They sealed the deal by quietly paying for our dinner and leaving but not before exchanging email addresses and giving out invitations to our respective homes. Consequently, sometime this summer, we expect we’ll be jet-setting to the ranch and then maybe to the “lodge”. Probably Mel will be there and we can visit for awhile.
LOL. Just kiddin!
Anyway, that’s all for now, folks. We are now again enveloped in our wonderful west coast, loving the rain, the coolness, our beautiful town and feeling privileged to be here. The Baja was a blast and for sure, time out of mind, but we are so very glad to be home. Once again, love you, Sooke.
Previously on The Lens
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The Thrills Just Keep on Comin’
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Wasting Away in Margaritaville
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Our Cups Runneth Over
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Confessions of a Packing Freak
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The next new thing is Yoga
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: A Touch of Special
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: I. Will. Do. This.
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Never too late
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Close encounter with bear, saved by a driving hero
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Cross Country Crazy
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Lord love a duck!
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Get on the Bus, Gus. Make a New Plan, Stan.
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: And a Warm Welcome to Everyone (or…?)
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Into the Mystic
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: This is how I row
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Take care when you tinkle; or, before you bare, look for bear
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: True Confessions of a Self-Proclaimed Acrophobiac
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: There’s no place like home!
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: The eagle has landed
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Finding fitness that fits
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: When you don’t know where you’re going till you get there
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: A Fairy in the Forest
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: Small Town, Big Hearts
- Through the Lens of a Newcomer: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” Dr. Seuss
- Introducing a new column to SPN: “Through the Lens of a Newcomer”