We Walk Among Mesas

The following series of blog posts is from my recent trip to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, chronicling my associated adventures while touring the cave paintings at San Francisco de la Sierra.

Today was an absolutely unreal day. Last night after we left the small town, we continued to travel through the desert at night for some time, which was a very bumpy ride indeed! From there we arrived at a small town where we were supposed to meet the donkey guides, but because it was so late we did not head out. We ended up staying at a hotel, which wasn’t so bad.

Bright and early (before 7, even) we got up and stopped at a home grown place for breakfast (1). Burritos and oatmeal with some coffee! The journey out to the donkeys shortly followed. After an hour of driving the roads ended, and there was just a rickety path up the mesa. This is where things started to get interesting. The settlement up top wasn’t just atthe mesa, it was a good 15 kilometer on this dire pathway. Seriously, at some points we were less than 1 meter from a massive fall onto certain death (2) ! And we were speeding, to boot, so it was precarious! However, the mesas were stunning . Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of precarious drops and terrifying falls, we arrived at this tiny (like, 10 houses, but 2 churches) place that is a world heritage site!!

We quickly unloaded all our shit and met up with the burros (donkeys) (3) and were momentarily on our way. And we walked, and walked, and walked! Up, and down and all about the mesas until we came to the edge of the canyon. (4) WOW!! I still am in shock at the bigosity of these mesas! The layers (5) !! The sheer drops (6)!! The unbelievable beauty of it all!! And we took it all in, and kept walking. Walking and walking. Down, this time, down the rock walls. Back and forth downwards, taking shelter from the morning sun under cactus and fig (7) and even some rock walls. I was acting as the resident geological guide for this, cause that’s what I do! As it turns out, the whole Mesa complex is a series of igneous rock formations, with basalt and lots of lava rocks! anyway, we walked all down the Mesa, an estimated 700-900 meters straight down (but only 2 or 3 km longitudinally). By the time we got down, we’d been walking for a good 3 hours.

But we weren’t done yet!

At the bottom of the Mesa there was a ranch (8). How they live there and survive is beyond me, but there was cheese and cold beer waiting for us. We “rehydrated”, had some quick lunch and were ready to go in about an hour. There was this poor sad dog there with one eye that had lost a fight with a mountain lion and was very protective of its owner, but it was soo cute!! Before we left, we used the facilities… Flush toilets in the desert! The novelty.

The second part of the hike was much more beautiful, which is really saying something considering the tremendous beauty that we’d walked through before lunch. We were now in the bottom of the valley, where the tiny amount of water that does flow (only a few hours a year!!) had flown. Very cool, surrounded by palm trees and cactus and lots of other interesting plants, we walked right in the river bed. That was a pain in the ass, but it was ok, I got through. It was… Spectacular (9). At least a half dozen times I actually gasped when confronted with it- especially the bubbling springs that supplied some water deep in the rocks. It was more beautiful then the best stuff in avatar, better than the best CG! It truly is a lost world.  Right near the end of it, we came across the reason it is a world hertage site- 11,000 year old cave paintings!! We saw them from the primordial pool at the bottom of the canyon, but we’re going to take a closer look tomorrow!! There are many many cave paintings here, and we’ll see as many as we can.  I’m very, very, very excited about this!!

After the cave paintings and the spring, we arrived at the camp site, where we put our shit down, and I started to type this. Dinner is ready, so I gotta go! Much more to come!

(1) Breakfast

From Baja 2010

(2) Certain death: the road is that little bit in the middle there.

From Baja 2010

(3) One of our guides, Santos, with the burros

From Baja 2010

(4) Edge of the canyon (and beginning of the hike)

From Baja 2010

(5) Jeff looking suitably badass

From Baja 2010

(6) Don’t look down

From Baja 2010

(7) View out from under the fig tree

From Baja 2010

(8) Our Ranch- and future campsite featuring Erin

From Baja 2010

(9) (a) Hike through the riverbed

From Baja 2010

(b) Mesa featuring some palm trees

From Baja 2010

(c) Me and the Lost world

From Baja 2010

(d) Andres and Alexis discussing how to cross the stream in front of them

From Baja 2010

(e) Just.. wow

From Baja 2010

(f) almost at the campsite

From Baja 2010

~ by Andrew on May 29, 2010.

One Response to “We Walk Among Mesas”

  1. sounding like an incredible journey, I’m sure you will remember it always.

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