Puerto Escondido and Steinbeck Canyon

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Pulling into the protected bay of Puerto Escondido, I was surprised to learn that a “per foot” charge was assessed to every vessel whether using one of their many mooring balls or swinging on your own anchor. Having gotten to the point of really trusting and loving my 22 lb. Rocna anchor, I decided it would be best if we just used it, like we normally do, rather than hooking on to a mooring whose condition was unknown and appearing to be marginal at best. I really didn’t like having to pay to anchor, but we sucked it up and paid the $13-14 USD (for a 36′ boat) per night. Well at least we paid for 2 out of 3 nights. 😉
The public Internet wifi system didn’t work. “Maybe tomorrow”. The gasoline pumps didn’t work. “Maybe tomorrow”. Seems like everyone who worked there knew at least those two English words, “maybe tomorrow”. So, with Deidre needing to get online to get some work done, we waited outside the one restaurant there at the marina that was supposed to open at noon so we could buy a drink or something and get their passcode. They opened the doors at nearly one pm. (such is life in Mexico!). With an Internet connection finally established, I was tooling around on Facebook, after posting about some Blog entries that I had just updated, and I found a personal message from an old friend I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. Mac Dukart had spent some time sailing around the Sea of Cortez in years past and had anchored in some of the same anchorages we were now visiting. He highly recommended a hike not very far from the marina that led up a canyon, deep into the Sierra de la Giganta range. Tabor canyon is the name of it, but it is also known as “Steinbeck” canyon, after the one and only, John Steinbeck. I had the pleasure of messaging back and forth for a bit that evening with my old red headed friend. I took his suggestion as more than a simple recommendation, I interpreted it as a message from “gawd”.
Two days later, we walked the 2-3 miles up the road to the beginning of the canyon trailhead. Tabor canyon is not the place to find yourself during any sort of rainstorm. It doesn’t seem like that ever happens here in this super dry, desert environment, but I guess it does on occasion, and they even call summer the “wet season” here. The hike goes up, over, around, through, and under boulders of all shapes, colors, sizes, and geologic origin. Luckily Mac had already informed us of a spot that is reached during the hike, where a HUGE chockstone appears to be blocking the trail, with no way around it. This is where the “through” part comes in. Peering into the shadows underneath the three-story house sized boulder, cairns start to emerge deep inside the smallish cave, once your eyes adjust to the darkness. Once in, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes the obvious goal out. In places, backpacks must come off and be handed up because the tunnel is just too small to navigate with such encumbrances attached to the body. Once out of the first tunnel, there is another one immediately after. All in all, that section of trail added a sense of adventure that will live long in my memory.
As we got ever higher up into the mountains, water started to appear. First in the form of an algae filled trickle down some rocks, then small pools started to show up. After hiking up the canyon for approximately 2 hours, and having reached a pool of fresh, clean water that was waist deep, we decided it was time to turn around and head back to Cat2Fold, but not before a cool, refreshing dip!
As Deidre was slowly undressing, I quickly got naked and belly flopped in before she even knew what was going on. WeeHoo! With all the route finding and down-climbing necessary, the way back down took as long and was as much effort as our way up.
Now, sitting about 20 miles north of Puerto Escondido in Puerto Ballandra while continuing our northward journey up into the Sea of Cortez, we are getting closer and closer to our final destination of San Carlos. Some parts of me are sad to see this trip coming to an end, but I am very anxious to be with my kids, Georgie and Beo. The 5 months of time I’ve spent aboard Cat2Fold on the water this past fall/winter has given me a whole new set of skills and confidence that I look forward to sharing with them and others. I feel incredibly lucky to have taken this opportunity and making it happen. Although the further north we get, the colder the water is becoming, the warm desert sun is urging me to jump in, yet again! Continue reading

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