Sunday, March 29, 2015

East Cape Baja Adventure

Baja continues to blow our minds. On the first day of our four-day adventure to the East Cape, we slipped into this incredible body of water:
Ballet leg at Cañon de la Zorra falls.

Getting there required driving rutted dirt roads--as is true of most of the area.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (our blue Subaru) earned her off-street cred.

To get to the waterfall, there are lots of twists and turns. At times we weren't sure we were going the right direction. But with the assistance of luck and a few signs, we made it to the entrance.
Pay here.
The guy who lives here takes a few pesos then points you to the trail. The hike takes about 15 minutes and was a little iffy in my flip flops. 
Hiking down to Cañon de la Zorra falls.
We spent the night in Santiago, a pueblo so small and deserted it feels like a ghost town. The items on the little grocery store's shelves were dusty and out-of-date. One customer had a zombie vibe. I decided to view it all as charming.

When we arrived the Palomar Hotel, we were entranced by the terrace restaurant, fruit trees, and cooing doves. Our room featured a rock hard bed, crumbling wall and dead cockroaches.

After a nap, we went to the restaurant at 5:20 p.m.--only to be told it was closed for the evening. I pointed to the posted hours of 9 a.m.-6 p.m. but the guy responded with a shrug. We scraped together lunch leftovers, half an avocado from our cooler, and a few cookies to tide us over.

I woke a few times in the night to thousands of doves bawling, dogs yowling and roosters crowing. The next morning the Palomar redeemed itself with this breakfast:
Dave had huevos rancheros, and I had chilaquiles.
Note the hand-drawn map on the table, courtesy of Sergio, the charismatic owner. He directed us how to get to here:
Santa Rita hot spring.
I'd thought the waterfall would be hard to top--but this hot spring was even better. We had the place to ourselves.
Me in the hot spring.
Dave in the cold creek.
Afterward, blissed-out, we wandered through the church in nearby San Jorge.

This and the basketball court are the main features of San Jorge.
Later, we came across a monument at the Tropic of Cancer. I liked looking at the monument's globe and pointing to exactly where I stood at that moment, on this thing called earth. It made me feel pleasantly insignificant.
That afternoon, we headed south to Los Zacatitos, to a friend's purple dome house in the desert.


The house is a work of art.

The dome's ceiling is like the sky. The bed looks afloat.
That night we went to Zac's for Taco Tuesday--a fun gringo scene, the kind of place where everyone knows everyone. The next morning, Angel (our friend's dog) led us on a walk of the playa de Zacatitos.
Angel leads the way.
Back on the bumpy dirt roads, we drove north to Cabo Pulmo. Even though the road was rough, I was glad we chose the ocean route (rather than the smoother inland route) because we were treated to awesome sites along the way. Like whales:


And interesting juxtapositions:

bull and tractor

burros and surfers

raptor and cactus
We also saw striking remnants of last September's Hurricane Odile:


We spent the night in Cabo Pulmo at a dive shop.
Cabo Pulmo room
Even though the morning dawned with choppy waters, we figured what the hell, we're here, let's do it. So we got aboard a boat appropriately named Si no quieres no ("If you don't want to, don't"). From the beach, some guys pushed us backward into the waves until the captain could drop the motor.
We want to!
We were taken to the only hard coral reef on the west coast of North America. The fact that it's a protected national park became evident as we swam with a dizzying array of fish. A mermaid's dream.
The captain also took us over to check out the sea lions.

On our drive home, we passed through the small mountain town of El Triunfo. I love its striking architecture ....


...and flagstone streets...

...and Caffe El Triunfo's baked goods.


We loaded up on sweet stuff then drove to our home sweet home.
 
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