Legend – /ˈlejənd/A story or narrative that lies somewhere between myth and historical fact.
Our recent trip to Baja has me believing that the legend of Baja is a fact in that it is an Overlanding paradise. We met up with our guides for a six-day guided trip into Baja in a parking lot in Calexico, California, for a quick briefing on the adventure we were about to embark upon. The group consisted of seven trucks, including the two guides, the chuck wagon, and myself. We left Calexico and headed for the border, where everything went smoothly, thanks to our bilingual guide. Driving headed west out of Mexicali towards the San Felipe Desert, stopping at Laguna Salada to air down. Laguna Salada is a dry lakebed spanning 37 miles bordering the Sierra Juarez and the Sierra Cucapa mountains. This was a fast, dusty trek with speeds up to 50 MPH. Once across the dry lakebed, we ascended through the desert into the mountains, where we would encounter the most difficult
wheeling of the trip. The terrain consisted of rocky shelves, washouts, and large rocks. Our first camp was in a canyon tucked away in the Sierra Juarez mountains. The rocky hills and palm trees made this a perfect camp spot. An incredible dinner was being prepared when we arrived, which consisted of beef lasagna with oyster mushrooms with ajillo, squash salad, and fresh date pie. Did I mention the natural hot springs? What better way to end the evening than relaxing in the hot springs under the starlit sky?
The day started with a morning soak in the hot springs, watching the sunrise. This was a spectacular site watching the sun sweep across the surrounding mountains. Breakfast followed, consisting of homemade yogurt with granola and fresh hot coffee. We broke camp with a quick briefing of the day and headed out on the trail. Today’s route would be the longest, consisting of over 230 miles of driving. Making our trek south through the San Felipe desert, skirting over the northern hills of the Sierra San Pedro Martir, we moved southwest back to the Pacific coast. Passing through small ranches and towns where traffic flows in all directions disregarding signs, signals, pedestrians, and other vehicles, so be on your toes when driving through these areas. We stopped at a local station and fueled up before heading south to San Quintin.
After a quick stop to air down before we left civilization, we were again off the pavement. We hit the beach just in time to watch the sunset over the distant volcanoes, an absolutely spectacular sight. The beach was breathtaking, with water and sand as far as you could see. We could not help but stop to grab a few photos while some searched for treasures like sand dollars and shells. Rolling into camp just after the sunset made it interesting as you couldn’t see the coast, but you could hear the roar of the waves crashing against the lava rock just below our camp spot. After everyone had settled in, we headed down to join the group for dinner around the campfire. Dinner consisted of smoked salmon quesadillas with fresh cookies for dessert. We all returned to our campsites with full bellies and warm bodies, walking along the dune trail with the most beautiful starlit sky, ocean waves crashing, and the salty breeze blowing; it was the perfect evening. With the Skinny Guy Camper deployed and windows down, it wasn’t hard to fall fast asleep knowing the next 3 days would be spent exploring our surroundings. We all rested with full hearts and relaxed minds.
Join us next month for the second half of our Baja adventure, where we explore a volcanic island with a rad volcano tube hike and some fantastic pacific deep sea fishing.