Syl & Ken's Mexican Meanderings 2008 travel blog

More Mountains to Climb

Cactus Country

Hawks Don't Seem to Mind the Thorns

Cactus and Boulders Abound

One Face of a Cactus

Lovely Red Thorns

Barrel Cactus

Boojum Tree or Cirio Cactus Found Only Here

Hearty Desert Tree

Flowering Cactus

Oozing Rocks

Fascinating Formation

Cameron and His Canine Friends Creep Through Crevices

Brilliant Desert Sunset

OK So He Adopted Us


When we left the beach at San Quintin, we moved from the northern Baja to central Baja on our way to Catavina. Carol and I were in the lead this time, giving Ken a chance to relax and be other than the wagon master. He was delighted - after he warmed up that is. Mex 1, the major highway that traverses Baja California from north to south, runs through the longest mountainous section of that highway as one moves towards Catavina. It was reminiscent of Alaska with huge areas of wilderness and few people. Coming down out of the mountains, a desert landscape unfolded, filled with boulders and cacti of all kinds. One in particular, the cirio cactus or boojum tree is unique to the Baja and looks like an upside down parsnip(in color and texture) with green sprouts sticking out of it and, at this time of year, yellow flowers atop its pointy head. This area is considered a Sonoran Desert Vegetation Region similar in many ways to that seen in Arizona. The land features are truly dramatic.

Our trip to Catavina was shorter than other days so we arrived at our campground at Rancho Santa Inez in time to have a great Mexican lunch at their restaurant - OK a hut bedecked with signs from the many visitors who had also enjoyed the delicious food as did we. Upon our arrival, one of the British Columbia trio of RV travelers with whom we had camped in Ensenada was parked in the campground and we enjoyed seeing the other folks when they rolled in later that day.

Cameron and I decided to take a hike with Jazzy in tow and, another dog, who had adopted Jazzy or us, and led the way up a horse trail through the cactus and boulder strewn landscape. We enjoyed seeing the myriad cacti that included aloe, purple needled barrel cacti, very big cardons (looking very much like saguaros), chollas, ocotillos and agaves. Red, purple, yellow and white flowers adorned the cacti, inviting us to check them out in spite of three-inch long thorns against which heavy leather protection would be appropriate. Skeletons of dead cacti littered the ground and Cameron needed to bring back a sample. Our lead dog wandered in amongst the cacti and we wondered at its ability to avoid getting thorns in its feet. We saw them on the ground where pieces of cacti had fallen.

Boulders we saw were hollowed and carved, sliced by erosion, seamed with intrusions and balanced precariously along the path. Quartz littered the ground. We could see where recent rains had run across the path leaving patterns of flowing water in the sand. Later we learned that the area has had 5 inches of rain this fall/winter, unusual for this desert. These rains have actually restored the aquifer to a higher level than in the previous dry year. Our friendly dog ran through a boulder tunnel. Cameron decided he would try to fit in the crevice, succeeding and then crawling through another section. I simply took photos of the fun and delightful scenery until the camera batteries unfortunately died.

As the afternoon waned, we wandered back to the campground for drinks and dinner and a chance to watch a blazing sunset light the sky and trees around us. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day.



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