A Collection of Views of the Baja Peninsula, Photographic Anomales, Really
02/26/2011 77 °F
Upon reviewing my pictures for the year so far, I discovered that I had several photos that I really liked, but remained unpublished due to their peculiar uniqueness. In other words, I have some photos I’d like to share, but they are random and without theme. I thought I would give them their own entry this week, because these photos, while narrow in scope, will help show the big picture of the Baja peninsula experience.
I rarely give myself a photographic assignment. I take pictures everyday, often stopping work just long enough to take a picture of a beautiful scene, and getting back to my job. Some of these photos, fit this entry, and others are just extra photos from the many hikes I’ve been on, that I couldn’t or wouldn’t show before.
Two paragraphs of explanation, when I could’ve simply said, “It’s a mixed bag of random scenes from Mexico.”
Without further ado, here they are.
Cardon in Late Evening Light
The rugged mountain landscape of the Sierra De la Giganta from Puerto Los Gatos is among the most dramatic and beautiful that I’ve seen on the Baja Peninsula. I love this place, and I have stared at these mountains for hours, wondering what secrets they hold. If I could have one Baja wish, it would be to make the place a base camp, and go hiking here for a week.
Baja is the only desert I’ve been able to hike around in my sandals. True, I earned the bandage on my big toe by hiking in sandals, but it was worth it. It’s really nice to have your toes open to the open air; getting dusty, dirty, cut and scraped. The simplicity of a good sandal appeals to me, and I’m quite happy with mine.
These clouds remind me of summer, though it was winter when I took this picture. These are floaters, high above Magdalena Bay.
I’m still shamelessly throwing myself into my landscapes.
My self-timer’s longest setting is ten seconds. In this picture, I hit the timer, jumped down a 20-foot sand dune, sprinted across a sandy plain, and up to the top of this dune. This was while I was counting down in my head down to zero. Often it takes several takes to get it just right, and in this case, I sprinted that same length three times, before I was exhausted, and “satisfied” with my first picture. After review, I am happy with this shot.
Made In the Shade.
As I’ve said before, I can find a seat anywhere, and often times a shady spot to sit and relax as well. This beach was a challenge. There were mangroves, but they were near water, and nowhere near sand. Finally, I realized that I had to lower my standards, and lay down in the dirt instead of sitting in it. Perfect.
Summiting “The Nipple” at Bonanza Beach
Climbing the nipple, a rock protuberance sticking high out of the ridge west of Bonanza beach was probably the best hike I’ve completed down here in Baja so far. The conditions were perfect, meaning, I had 4 hours to do the hike. I didn’t care about weather conditions, I just wanted to have enough time to enjoy and complete the hike.
Every vertical step I took was on a bowling ball size boulder. It was a mountain made of boulders. I mostly hiked straight at the peak, until I hit the loose ledge rock. At that point, I veered to the right of the peak until I hit the summit ridge. The view from the ridge was amazing. A higher ridge rose far to the north, with a deep canyon dropping in front of it. Another high mountain was just taller than where I was. It led to a higher flattish peak, some distance away. To the west, my ridgeline led down to the sea, leading my eye to other high points and beaches I’ve been to.
This was a magical place. Turkey vultures soared beneath me, curious to see who had come to sit on their throne. I spent the better part of a half hour drinking in the views, and clowning around in front of the camera.
Dawn. A fiery orange tinge to the sky in the southeast. Calm winds all night made for a glassy surface to the water. Our wake gave the glass a gentle bend, creating gorgeous coloring and designs. It was like watching psychedelic oil patterns on the surface of the sea. I find the water’s mesmerizing kaleidoscopic shimmering quality amazing, and beautiful.
The South Ridge of Isla San Francisco
I hiked the entire south ridge of Isla San Francisco in about 3 hours. It’s not a long ridge, but it’s height above half moon bay makes for some good views. There’s a trail that runs the length of it, and I had a ball running down the slopes and hiking up to the high points. I saw an osprey sitting atop a high cardon, perhaps its favorite perch. I watched it with my binoculars for ten minutes; it seemed content with my presence. It was quality time, in my mind.
I found a rock cairn that had tumbled over, and I decided to rebuild it. It was in a good place, and the rocks were easy to stack. After that, I scrambled back down to the salt flats, back to where I started. I kept my distance from everyone and jumped in the water. It was cool and refreshing, and beautiful. The high salinity of the water here keeps one more buoyant. Either this is true, or it’s all in my head. I’m fine with it, and it felt good to soak in the ocean before I had to return to the boat, and get ready for work. Consider this day seized.
The End of the Earth.
In Steinbeck’s day, Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy, tired little village, with a “sad cantina, full of sad men, waiting for something to happen. They’ve been waiting for perhaps generations.” This is roughly quoted from “The Log From The Sea of Cortez.” My how things have changed. Now it’s a Disney land of tourism, you might call it “Little America,” or perhaps I’m a bit cynical. If you want a Mexican city, go to La Paz. What San Lucas does have going for it, is its physical beauty, if you can see past the condominiums. The arch at the southern tip is beautiful. The sightseeing boats, including ours, are a nuisance, but it is possible to take an alluring picture here. I offer this as my proof.