I am pretty sure everyone of you has seen those beaches where people are lying like sardines and trying to get a glimpse of the ocean for themselves. I remember those times when I had to go on holiday with my parents at the age of nine or ten. In the 80’s the Adriatic Sea in Italy was the place to go.
Even in those early years of my life, I was totally bored and annoyed about those uneventful weeks which were supposedly the most brilliant weeks of the entire year. And therefore, by the time I was eleven I said to my family “Well you know what, enough is enough – I am no longer joining you, from now on I am going to a youth camp instead.”
Ever since I’ve had negative feelings towards beaches. A lot of beaches especially in Southern Europe, have in my opinion the bad side effects of being crowded, expensive, dirty, party noisy and most of the time simply boring.
But and here comes the big BUT…..The beaches you pass while riding the Baja Divide trail are another dimension.
In most parts the trail follows sandy and rough dirt tracks where most people won’t have access to and that means you have the entire beach all to yourself.
Well, besides pelicans and seagulls, dolphins and lots of nice surprises you can find along the shore.
It is just absolutely amazing to camp along the beach, to listen to the ocean, to have a campfire and to see the sun reflecting its last light on the water. Brilliant.
Now and then there were little fishing villages where time seemed to stand still for centuries. The remoteness gave them an interesting atmosphere. What I was most amazed of was the huge amount of fish they had caught each time I saw the fishermen unloading their boats. Stingrays were really common.
The trail crosses the peninsula from east to west several times, so I had the chance to enjoy both sides, the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez and found this totally appealing. The ocean is not like the sea and of course the Sea of Cortez is much calmer and for some reason the little natural treasures I found there along the beaches were more interesting.
Cruising along those beaches was part of the fun. Lots of ups and downs along the coastline gave me the possibility to see the coast from every angle. Some sections were totally barren, others were covered by an awesome cacti world. It never got boring.
As always, I tried to soak it in as much as I could, but also found it a bit sad that the trail is often strenuous and therefore it had put me under time pressure because of water and food resupply issues. It was hardly ever possible to stay in remote places for longer, only if there was a town or a ranch nearby. The risk of running out of water was just too high.
But having said this, the further south I came the more ranches there were along the trail where I asked a few times for water.
Because only following the Baja Divide and not seeing anything else wasn’t enough for me I sometimes added some side excursions and made sure to get back to exactly the point where I had left the trail, to not miss out on any part of it. I mostly hitchhiked to those spots, to give myself a break from the saddle.
Guerra Negro, Bahia Magdalena and Laguna San Ignacio are 3 main whale migration spots where calves are born and the mothers stop for a few months to bring up their new born, before continuing in April to Alaska. So, I wanted to see those gigantic creatures but each time I got closer to those spots the amount of people who were trying to see them like I was, destroyed the remote atmosphere which I so much loved about the Baja Divide.
Anyway, I didn’t want to book a boat tour and spotting them from the shore isn’t the easiest task, so at the end I didn’t see a single whale. But I still had a great time, especially eating fish tacos and taking pictures of lighthouses, watching the birds flying and the fishermen working.
Enjoying the Street Life and meeting people along the Baja California is worth another blog post……bye for now 😉