Finding routine whilst living on the road, is one of the hardest challenges we have faced since saying goodbye to England last August. Whilst constantly changing locations provides us with many life changing experiences, it also obstructs the flow of daily civilised life. Daily routines like showering become more elusive. Morning workouts can often be abandoned due to having to move away from a site.
I have also found the experience of meeting new people painful. During our roadtrip, we have met so many wonderful human beings, people who were one minutes strangers, and then the next, they were people I consider close friends. Inevitably, we have to move on, not knowing if our paths will ever cross again, remaining in contact through social media.
We initially met David and Katy, just north of El Rosario, at the camp site were we met the stray dogs. Sat around the camp fire that night, none of us knew we would end up spending almost two weeks travelling down through Baja together. Sharing experiences, and spending many a night around a camp fire under the stars. We always knew, we would end up going our separate ways eventually. Their journey would lead them across to the main land and ultimately, down the Pan-American highway to Chile. Whereas, we would be soon turning around and heading back up to the US.
We were unaware at the time, that we would be saying goodbye to our new friends, potentially for good that time, the following morning. Our an was to hike through Tabor Canyon. A local canyon, less than ten minutes from the beach.
Life often works in mysterious ways.
Almost packed, I strolled down the beach to chuck some rubbish in the bin. On the way back, I started speaking to an American guy named John. He was travelling Baja in a shuttle bus he had converted with his Norwegian girlfriend Ina. John invited me inside his bus and gave me a tour of their renovation. What I didn’t realise then, was that soon we would be spending more time with John, Ina and a load more other new friends.
After talking for quite some time, I realised that Willow might be wondering that happened to me, so invited John and Ina over to meet Willow (and Ruby). We learnt that John and Ina were heading for Todos Santos, for a social gathering organised by the Vanlife app. With David and Katy planning on temporarily separating from is to meet some German friends on a beach unaccessible by two wheel drive, we told John and Ina we would consider making an appearance at the gathering.
With Ruby packed, we started to make our way to the canyon. David and Katy spotted some other German’s they had met during their time in Canada, so we felt them to catch up and headed to the canyon parking. The hike was described as two miles on the Alltrails app, however people had commented that you could continue for a further nine miles of you really persevered. We didn’t fancy eleven miles, but would try to walk a little further than the marked trail.
The hike was through an open canyon, forged by the heavy rainfall, which had carved open the rocks over many years. Hoping over boulders, we were in our element picking our own route, leaping over boulders. This is what had been missing during our time in Mexico so far!
We passed small groups of Americans, who were making their way back to their car’s.
“It’s not long till you hit the beautiful rock pools.” One gentleman informed us.
Sure enough, after about fifteen minutes, we met another group of Americans, who looked as if they were contemplating taking a cooling dip in an emerald coloured rock pool which they were gathered around.
“I knew I should have worn my beach shorts!” I grumbled.
“You could always skinny dip.” Willow said reassuringly.
After continuing for a further ten minutes, we desperately scrambled around a rock face, only to find the way blocked. Weighing up our options, we could see no further way to continue, without seriously putting our safety at risk. Almost ready to throw in the towel and to return to Ruby, I examined a corner of a fallen boulder and was shocked to find a small rope, providing a route up above the impassible section. We were both thankful not to have to turn around, as it had seemed like an eternity since we last had the opportunity of a ‘proper’ hike.
Heaving ourselves up the rope, through the narrow opening, we scrambled around, only to be met with a second rope, this one a little more obvious and a little easier to climb up of. With the hard part complete, our only really obstacle left was to try and pick our route through the canyon. Weaving , jumping and squeezing through giant boulders, occasionally guided by sporadic cairns.
Our troubles were rewarded by stunning rock pools, glistening in the midday sun. A variety of colours shimmering once touched by sunlight.
We assumed that we would be the only one’s walking from this point and so was taken aback, when we met a small group of middle aged Americans, strolling back down in sandals.
“You’re almost at the waterfall. You should get there in about twenty minutes.”
Sure enough, after a last scramble, we reached the waterfall, which at that time of year wasn’t at its best, but it felt good to accomplish something other than reaching our next parking space.
The way back down is always easier on a steep walk, and heading down the canyon, it was easier to spot the simpler routes, so we made much better time heading down.
We wondered whether we would bump into David and Katy on the way down, and about ten minutes later, we heard David’s distinctive German accent call out.
We told them to persevere to the waterfall, as they were fairly close and then we would meet them at the car park before heading off.
Back at Ruby, we searched for somewhere to spend the night. For us, the Vanlife gathering was a five and a half hour drive, past La Paz, the main city. We settled on a beach spot, 30 minutes south of the canyon and headed their once David and Katy had returned. Stopping off at a water tap to fill our shower on the way.
The camp spot was located just off the highway, behind another barbed wire fence. We followed a dirt trail which opened up to a large flat open space. After checking the beach, we decided to stay protected by the sand dunes. It was already dark and it was still windy on the coast.
We said good night, and cooked some noodles, not wanting to cook anything too complicated at such a late hour.
As David and Katy we’re heading off road to meet up with other friends, we grabbed a group photo. We had hoped to meet again, south of La Paz, but at the time we were unaware of the growing Coronavirus pandemic, which was slowly starting to cause havoc on a global scale. Sadly, it would ultimately force them to head to the Mexican mainland before we would have a chance to see them one last time.
And so, we went our separate ways, we decided to try and make the social gathering with was just under six hours away. There was not really anything of interest during the next four hours of driving, as the highways crept back across to the west coast, and we had learned that he social gathering would be near a centre which released turtle hatchlings into the sea. Something that made the drive even more worthwhile. We picked a spot at Conejo Beach, which would get us withing two hours of the event, we would then drive straight past La Paz in the morning, and power on to the event. Not realising at the time that we were soon about to find a new group of friends to explore Baja with.