Sunday, March 30, 2014

Doctors Point Bluff and Arroyos

This is another hike featured in DeeDee and Dave Kelley''s "Hiking Loreto" book you can pick up at the Jackson Gallery located in the Loreto town plaza. We head north on the gravel road-arroyo closest to the Sea of Cortez for about 4 miles. This parking place is just about a mile north of the fabulous Picazon Restaurant. Some of us plan to eat there after the hike. The path to the Doctors Bluff and Arroyos is well marked through the private property. The Mexican government requires public access to all seashores so we start along this narrow path through private property toward the Sea of Cortez, but only after our group shot.
Our group includes: Lesley, John, Barry, Allan, Werner, Gary, me, and an eager Caley---ready to romp.
We were pleased to see that the trail was easy to find and follow on our way to the lighthouse.
We are now climbing up our first arroyo after Caley has scrambled up several times while we were glad to make it once.
Caley takes another run up this cliff with Lesley on all fours behind her.
With Werner in the lead we are really making time along the Doctors Point Bluff toward another challenging arroyo crossing.
After this tough arroyo crossing we were rewarded by reaching two small peninsulas. Here is the first one we are hiking by filled with cormorants.
Here is a view of where we have come from along the top of the bluff.
Another resting spot along the trail that highlights the limestone bluffs behind us.
We stood around a bit deciding whether we wanted to press on past the fence and the very steep arroyo and we decided to turn around.
This fence defines the end of our hike because just beyond here is a huge arroyo which would require some serious scrambling down and back up. We figured that by turning around now, we would get back to our cars in time have lunch at Picazon just as it opens at noon. I started savoring the Coquille de Coronado and a few glasses of wine or beer that awaited me.
On our return, John and I decided to do a scramble up this limestone bluff rather than do a shore walk on the rounded pebble beach.
Some of these bluffs were like pieces of artwork.
This is our last arroyo crossing on the way back.
Survival in the Baja. These plants look dead, but the flowers show otherwise.

Picazon feast of Coquilles de Coronado and pescado along with ample amounts of cerveza and vino tinto with Werner, Gary, me, and John.

Thanks to Gary and John for some of these pictures.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Slot Canyon from Oasis Primer Aguas

This is our second hike starting at the swimming pool ruins at Oasis Primera Aguas. This time we head down river----there is still a river flowing most of the way.

Here is our group pose as we begin our hike to the Slot Canyon. From left to right the hikers are Tracy, Werner, Alex, John and Wes. Gary is working the camera and I am at the dentist still for my 6 month checkup and cleaning for 600 pesos.
We are now heading downstream toward the Slot Canyon trail.

Once we got to the pool ruins, we headed down river to Slot Canyon. The guide book said that it was about a half mile down stream on the left. We were so eager to get there, we headed up one that turned out to be a bushwhacking nightmare.

We turned around and headed down river a bit more and saw that the river suddenly disappeared only to reappear a short way downstream.


Like magic, the river reappears just before Slot Canyon.

Finally, we reach Slot Canyon on the left side of the river where there was a 3 meter obolisk at the entrance along with a dried out river bed leading us up through the canal.

What a magical hike as the walls of the canyon begin to close in on us.

This is really a tight fit.

How do we get out of here??

Here is the choke point of the Slot Canyon hike. We found a knotted rope and watched Tracy, Wes and now Alex climb up with ease. For us old guys it took about two exhausting tries before we got up and over. With strained arms and skinned elbows we were elated to be able to finish this Slot Canyon hike.

Look at the relief that Gary shows at the top of the Slot.

After the rope climb, the rest of the hike was a gradual walk along the river past a ranchero with goats until we came to the main road.

Along this river, we spotted car tire tracks so we knew that we must be near the main road to Oasis Primer Aguas.

Suddendly we reached the road and you can see us heading back to Oasis Primer Aguas.

I finally caught up with the group, and Werner, John and I decided to stop at Del Boracho's to drink a few pitchers of Modela Negra while I augmented my plant based diet with a bacon cheeseburger with a green salad. No french fries for me. It was a great ending to a challenging hike. This is Loreto at its best!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Oasis Primera Aguas Going Up River

The city of Loreto had built this swimming pool for the locals to enjoy, but successive hurricanes and tropical storms washed away this beautiful retreat. All that was left were some walls painted blue, entrance building and a changing room.

John and Werner are standing by the entrance building that has been ravaged by the frequent hurricanes and tropical storms.

Once we got to the swimming pool, we decided to head north along the creek

Here is all that is left of the swimming pool. Blue paint defines where the pool was and there are pipes that run down to this pool. We continued up the creek which crossed lots of bedrock with occasional exits to rancheros.

This year we have lots of water continuing to flow down to the Sea of Cortez.

Check out this tree just hanging at the top of this mound. It is hard to believe that these trees can endure in this harsh climate.

Bedrock keeps this creek flowing down toward the Sea of Cortez.

As we keep hiking up about two miles from the swimming pool, we continue to be amazed by the amount of flow we see in this creek.

You can look to the side of the canyon to see where the high water mark was, but here in the center of the creek, you can see where the water has blasted out the palm trees. It is amazing to see the power of the water here.

Here we have John and Werner making their way back to the pool area and the stairs back to where we parked our car after a five mle hike.

We stopped at Del Borachos for a lunch of burgers and ice cold dark beer. How refreshing!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Juncalito Canyon Hike, BCS, MX

After buying a Loreto area hiking book by DeeDee and David Kelly, a group of 8 of us decided to start trying out the hikes described in their book. We decided to start with Juncalito Canyon hike less than 10 miles south of Loreto Bay. The group included Mike and Jen, Gary, John, Werner, Bill, Harv, and me.

Unfortunately we were stopped for about 45 minutes while construction crews were pushing huge rocks down on to the highway just 2 miles from where we were to start our hike.

When we arrived at the dirt road that was the start of the hike, we were met with a worn out Privado sign which was not described in the hiking book. Since there was a group of us, we rationalized that since the sign was not maintained, it was OK to pass the sign and continue up the dirt road. Gary is posing by the sign with the Las Gigantas looming up behind him.

After walking about 15 minutes we passed by a road to the right that crossed the arroyo and led to a rancheria. We continued heading up to the canyon area with fabulous views of the mountains.

We reached this abandoned house that was described in the hiking book after hiking about 45 minurtes. Looks about the same shape as some of the partial built homes in Loreto Bay.

We continued on the road until it began to narrow down. At that point we saw a rough steep trail that headed to the arroyo about 50 feet below us. Some of us slid on our butts, some grabbed for a green belay and were rewarded with a hand full of stickers-------grabbing limbs may work in the Northwest, but not in the Baja.

The Juncalito arroyo was well marked with cairns---pyramid piles of rocks--so it was fairly easy to continue up the canyon where we found our first water with much more to follow.

As we continued up over the next two miles we continued to climb up over a series of pools, each one more interesting than the last as well as more difficult to climb.

When we first looked ahead, we thought that we were at the end of our hike, but gradually we found places to scramble up and around. We then came to several more beautiful pools with thin waterfalls.

In the photo below, I am standing at the top of one of the last waterfalls we climbed to and John is standing between two of the pools below.


This is the last waterfall we came to before deciding to turn around eventhough it looks like we could scramble up a scree slope to the right and way up the side of the canyon. This was one of the most dramatic hikes we have taken and is even better than the once popular Tabor Canyon about another 5 miles south of here. The recent hurricanes and tropical storms did not fill up the pools like what happened to much of Tabor Canyon.

Group photo at last pool: Harv, John, Gary, Werner, Bill, me, and Jen and Mike in front.

Here is the group navigating back down the canyon at the edge of one of the many waterfalls on our way back to Highway 1.

The trip up to the last waterfall and back to the cars was just over 4 miles and took us about 4 hours including the wait for the construction work.

On our way to the car we heard someone talking near the ranchero close to Highway 1. On the last hike we took near San Javier, we ended up having to pay the rancher 50 pesos apiece to pass through his land. We were hoping this would not be a repeat of that situation. Fortunately we got to the highway unchallenged.

After we got to the car, our return to Loreto Bay was again delayed by about 45 minutes while the crews pushed more rocks down on to the highway.

Some of us stopped at the clam shack---Vista Del Mar--on the way back for some ice cold cerveza and stuffed clams. A delicious way to end a wonderful hike. Too hungry to take a picture of the stuffed clams, but here is another great eating place--a bit fancier that the shore side Clam Shack.

Here are some stuffed clams with a margerita at Picazon and not the Clam Shack, but you get the idea.