Spring Break in Mexico, Part 5

After we left the observatory, we descended the mountain to just west of Rancho Meling, then turned to the north. The road was in great shape the few miles to Rancho El Coyote and then after that, it got … rough.

Road to San Felipe

Road to San Felipe

Not too long after we passed the ranch and had been dealing with some woops and ruts we ran into a military group in a wash. We asked the way to Mike’s Sky Ranch and then they proceeded to point us in the direction opposite the one I thought we’d take. Fortunately, my map showed both forks eventually meeting up again and continuing towards Mike’s.

The road eventually crested a pass although at points along the way, the road was pretty rough. Somehow photos of rough roads never really do them justice:

Following Baja 500 tracks

After the pass, we cruised along a plateau before dropping steeply into Mike’s Sky Ranch. Did I mention we did our mild rock crawling on these tires?:

Bald tires

Once we left Mike’s (where it appeared no one was around), it didn’t take us long to reach Mexico Highway 3. We made a brief stop at a convenience store to get a drink and some snacks to tide us over until we reached San Felipe. Embracing adventure, when a hitchhiker waved at us, we pulled over and gave him a ride to the junction with Mexico Highway 5 where he continued north to Mexicali and we turned south to San Felipe. Although he didn’t speak much English and we didn’t speak Spanish, we were able to communicate that we’d just gone hiking (he asked us if we were “scouts” and it took awhile to figure out that he was thinking along the lines of Boy Scouts) and that he was a heavy equipment mechanic.

Driving down the coast, I found myself staring longingly up at Picacho del Diablo. I hate not reaching goals and this one had stymied me for the time being. I can’t wait to get down and try again.

In town, we sought out a hotel so we could get a shower (nothing like $70 hotels on the beach!) and then set out in search of food. And pineapple drinks. And food. And strawberry daiquiris.

Pineapple drinks

Tacos, San Felipe

It felt really good to be on the water. I got a touch of food poisoning (ha, a touch) but I will never quit eating street food. It’s too good. (In fact, I didn’t even really slow down on eating it for the duration of the trip. Just kept trying to throw down the calories!).

The next morning, we continued to Algodones where we availed ourselves of the affordable dental checkups, grabbed some more street food, stayed in the nicest $50 hotel room I’ve ever seen and drank margaritas in its courtyard as the sun went down to savor the last of the southern warmth.

Rather than immediately cross back into the States, we drove east on Mexican Highway 2 towards Sonoita. I had my first real Mexican burrito from a vendor in San Louis Rio Colorado and before I knew it, we were in Sonoita crossing the border into Lukeville.

Colorado River near Los Algodones, Mexcio

Border Fence

After a quick stop in Ajo to say hello to old friends, we drove all the way to Kayenta, Arizona before calling it a night.

Each and every time I go to another country, I savor the experience and this was no exception. One of the amazing things about living in the southwest is that Mexico just isn’t that far away. I look forward to more adventures!

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Gear Review: Columbia Back Beauty Capris

I have a ton of awesome summer clothing that needs to be shared! Unfortunately, my philosophy is that I want to put in some serious time with a piece of clothing or gear so sometimes it’s almost out of season (or worse, out of stock!) before I feel like I can offer a real opinion on things. As spring arrives in most of the country, I’m working through some warm season gear I tried out last year that is still available. Hope you enjoy!

Columbia’s Back Beauty Capris have become a staple in my outdoor wardrobe because they just fit. The Back Beauty comes not only in capri length, but in a long (knee length) short, a boot cut pant, a skinny pant, and a straight leg pant (which is on sale so it might not last long!). I’m thinking by the end of summer I’ll have added one of the pants to my closet so I can keep wearing them into fall!

The absolute best thing about these capris is the waist. They just fit. With a mid-rise and a really flattering cut they don’t dig into my waist, show my butt crack, or ride up where they don’t need to be (you know what I mean…).

Beth on Mexico-US Border

The material is thicker than most tight, legging like pants and so far seems pretty robust. I think mine might have a snag or two in them but I’ve also worn them in some pretty atrocious cat’s claw and scrub oak (and my lower legs have gotten the scratches to match). They’re Omni-Shield which means that they’re water and stain repellent; this is awesome since I constantly am spilling things on myself… As I mentioned, I wear these all the time and they’re not stained! (Although my grey ones have a little bit of caulk on them because I didn’t think to change before starting a little #damselNOTindistress project…)

I’ve worn them hiking, traveling, eating, relaxing, and even to a serious set-up wedding day/wedding rehearsal:

Stacia and Dre Wedding Rehearsal

Now that I’m looking at photos of myself in them, I also really like the length. They’re short enough on my long legs that they don’t just look like really long shorts!

If you’re looking for a comfortable pant or capri to adventure in this summer, check out the Back Beauty line. I think it’s a real winner.

 

These capris were provided to 3Up Adventures for review and use by Columbia Sportswear. All opinions, however are my own.

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Spring Break to Mexico, Part 4: Picacho del Diablo

After consuming way too much pollo in San Telmo (we accidentally got two plates of chicken instead of one… probably should learn Spanish to prevent incidents like that…), we turned east towards Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Martir. I was really excited about making this drive all the way from the ocean to our trailhead at about 8,000′.

San Telmo turnoff to Parque San Pedro de Martir

At the lowest elevations, the vegetation was decidedly desert like. I oggled some new cactus species along the way although I didn’t grab a lot of photos for some new cactus of the week photos. (I’ll try harder next trip!) As we climbed, my excitement for the hike kept building!

Road to MX National Park

Road to National Park

Eventually we reached pine trees! Big, beautiful pine trees surrounded by gorgeous exposed rocks! It was an astounding change to be in this environment and is definitely not anything I’d have expected to see in Mexico before researching this trip.

Road to National Park

The signage for the park made me so happy. It was totally reminiscent of US national park signs but it was still … different.

Entering National Park

National Park Entrance

National Park map

Watch for deer

After passing through this meadow that totally reminded me of Yellowstone, we turned south on a dirt road to our trailhead.

Parque Sierra de San Pedro Martir

Although a day ahead of schedule, we loaded up our packs to head for our first camp. After a few miles we realized that something wasn’t quite right. I powered up my phone to check the GPS and we realized we’d walked down an old road instead of following the trail. We decided to return to the car (especially since my hiking partner realize that the drivers side door might not have gotten locked!), spend the night, and begin all over according to plan.

The morning was cool and made for great hiking weather. We set out towards Blue Bottle Pass. We didn’t make great time but we really enjoyed taking in everything:

hiking

hiking

hiking

As we reached the Pass, we finally got a look at Picacho del Diablo. Holy cow: that mountain is intimidating looking!

Picacho Del Diablo

Crossing over onto the northeast face of Cerro Botella Azul, we also found some snow!

Snow in Mexico!

Then it was time for the descent into the canyon towards Campo Noche. Unfortunately, following the trail here was really difficult. Most trip reports emphasized the need to traverse as far as possible towards the saddle between Picaho and Cerro Botella Azul and … we didn’t. Quite a ways down the canyon, we realized we’d been cliffed out since we were in the wrong chute. We tried to traverse to the east but were faced with more cliffs that we didn’t feel comfortable negotiating with full packs. Sadly, we realized that going down the wrong way was pretty much the end of our adventure. We’d have to climb back to the saddle, then down the tough terrain, then up the mountain, then up to the saddle again. I took next to no photos of that descent or of our reascent–it was a real butt kicker! (I’ll be back. Who’s with me?) This is the one photo I have of the canyon:

Scrambling near Picacho Del Diablo

Camp at the pass was beautiful though. The wind was blowing pretty hard but we had a nice windbreak. Since we were shortening our hike we at all the food, drank some hot chocolate, and enjoyed the light on the rocks around us.

Sunset

Sunset

Camp

The next morning, we made quick work of our hike back out to the car and decided to run up and check out the observatory before heading to San Felipe.

Pine forest

View of Picacho from the observatory:

Picahco from the observatory

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Spring Break to Mexico, Part 3

In the morning, we departed our sweet camping spot and headed for Ensenada. Instead of sticking to the highway, we took a side road through the countryside (past a bunch of wineries!). I didn’t take long though before we climbed over a hill and then dropped down into Ensenada. Once we got to Ensenada it was time to find some food because when am I not looking for food when I’m in a foreign country?

We were sort of looking for a juice stand but instead found this man selling jackfruit (known in Spanish as “yaka”) and a few really yummy frozen sorbet like fruit treats. The one I got had some coconut in it but some of something else. I have no idea what it was but it hit the spot while looking for some tacos…

Jackfruit or Yaka

Fruit sorbet

The way I select taco stands is to look for the one full of locals. This place just before we headed out of town fit the bill. The carne asada tacos really hit the spot as my first Mexican meal of the trip!

Taco stand

We continued south of town climbing up into more gorgeous green hills. We passed into the Santo Tomás Valley where there were more wineries (a wine trip to Baja or just more wine next Baja trip is in order…). The scenery was incredible and I was pretty much in awe that this was Mexico the entire time.

In the small town of Colonet, we turned west down a dirt road to go see the Pacific Ocean. In the sunshine it was absolutely glorious! I absolutely love the ocean so it was fun to just see it for a bit.

Pacific ocean

Pacific ocean

Ocean near San Telmo, Baja

Beth in Baja at ocean

Seal on the beach

We briefly hung out near the Catro Casas Hostel and watched some surfers before making the turn inland towards San Telmo.

Hostel

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Gear Review: Columbia Endless Trail Short

Last year, when I was getting ready to go to Jordan with Columbia Sportswear’s #omniten, there were two pairs of Endless Trail shorts in my travel wardrobe. Aside from a couple minor issues, they’ve become an absolute staple in my wardrobe and I was really excited to receive another pair in red hibiscus this spring.

Columbia Endless Trail Short

The absolute best thing about these shorts is the material. They dry SO QUICKLY. I’ve always been a little bit jealous of guys swim trunks because they’re dry in minutes while girls walk around with wet butts and chests under our shorts and t-shirts because swimming suits take forever to dry. When we were in Jordan, we spent a decent amount of time in the water and I fell in love with not staying soaked forever.

Beth in Jordan

I think Caleb even enjoyed them a bit during our Red Sea cruise.  ;-)

Caleb and Beth on the Red Sea
Photo courtesy Seth Yates

 

They do tend to ride up a bit when I’m being really active. They’re fine for most hikes but I don’t tend to wear them running since they want to end up around my waist and up in places they don’t belong… I also think a slightly higher side slit would be nice for hiking when stepping over logs or scrambling is involved. It would allow for a little more more maneuverability. That being said, I wore them on some fantastic hikes in Jordan and had no real issues so it’s just a wish list sort of thing. (Columbia did just come out with these running style shorts that I’m super anxious to try.)

Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige
Photo Courtesy Justin Lukasavige

They’re also a great length–I like my shorts to be short enough to show off my legs (sorry not sorry) and these are perfect. Sometimes I wear the waistband rolled over sorority girl style and sometimes I don’t. They look great both ways.

As far as an active pair of shorts goes, you won’t go long in the summer without seeing me in these!

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