...i do NOT recommend this way to go down.
This weekend, I did something that I hardly ever do: I left Ensenada.
Shock! Surprise! Bam! Splat! (There WAS some splatting, actually...)
We were given Monday the 17th (Happy Birthday again, Dad!!!) off because of the Mexican Revolution anniversary on the 20th. Wahoo! So we headed about 3.5 hours northeast to Canon Tajo to do some camping, some hiking, some climbing, and to take a break from showering, technology, and civilized life.
I had some illusions about this trip. I thought we would be REALLY roughing it, carrying nothing but the packs on our backs. So it threw me when I saw 7 jugs of water, a huge cooler, propane stove, and collapsible chairs. "Who is carrying THAT?" I thought.
After passing the "Fat Rocks" and going off-road through Parque Nacional Sierra Juarez,
past plenty of holes, through narrow passageways, we dropped off our camping gear and straightaway went to go climb. This is NOT what I thought we were doing. Climbing cracks...scaling boulders.
I ran every day for 3 weeks to prepare for the hiking trip that we were not on. After the initial disappointment, I looked around at the ridiculous natural beauty around me
and pulled it together and decided to MAKE this the hiking trip I thought it was.
The first day was a bit of a walk in the park. Not wanting to do anything too strenuous, I walked around a little bit...watched the sunset,
and went to bed at 6pm. Yikes.
The next day, I made it my personal mission to see what was on the other side of that valley, in between the two "peaks." And I was going to do it by myself.
The only flower I saw. Anywhere.
One of the many, many caves I was to encounter on my way. Tajo is full of rocks. Rocks, rocks, rocks. I was to do way more climbing than I thought.
Like this for example. How else to keep going? Climbing and scaling these rocks.
I eventually reached what I thought was a dead end. I could see no way over, under, or around. I spied a small patch of leaves and trees and a few assorted rocks and decided to try my hand at it.
After scooching up some rocks backwards, I reached this point. Boulders just naturally like this.
Then, all I could see was a sheer face of rock. How to get up? The ridge of doom, as I like to call it. There was no way to climb up regular-ways, so I had to once again scooch up on my behind, locking my luckily genetically big thighs in the crevice, using my planted foot as a foothold, and the little arm strength I had to hoist myself up. I got a nice nasty scratch, a red badge of courage if you will, but I made it. This is from the top.
And this is what awaited me at the top: the other side of the valley. I was so happy and proud of myself that, I admit, I kind of teared up. Ok...I cried. And screamed. And hooted and hollered.
Do you see? This was a big accomplishment for me.
The rocks below.
The way I came...our campsite is somewhere over the rocks on the right.
Unfortunately, the way down was not as smooth as the way up. I was a little too excited to really pay attention to where I was coming up so I kind of forgot the "easy" and "safe" ways to go (if that existed...). I was tired and hungry regardless (even after half a bag of granola and an orange), so I started losing my balance and slipping a little bit more.
And that's when I fell down the mountain. I was sliding down a lot of these rocks on my butt because I really don't trust my balance all that much. I miscalculated the distance down to the next rock into a cave and slid too fast and fell chest-first onto a boulder in the cave, knocking the wind out of me and scratching and bruising my entire left leg from the knee down, as well as my left palm.
It happened VERY quickly, too quickly remember how I didn't break anything. However, I DO remember thinking, "You can NOT break anything...you're alone, in a cave, far away from the campsite." I flailed around a little bit and calmed myself down by repeating over and over "You're ok, it's ok, you're ok, it's ok...it's ok, you're ok" and getting out my mini first aid kit to clean up the cuts. I had a touch of panic because I REALLY didn't trust my balance anymore and had just started my descent. Eventually, though, through a lot of coming back up and going back down and around and all over, I made it back to the campsite in one bruised, bleeding piece. The others weren't back yet so I laid down and read a book, like nothing happened at all.
I told my harrowing tale of my brush with death (I really talked this up) when the others got back, got a little bandaged up with actual bandages and sympathy (apparently these people are all stable and don't fall like I do), and ate my campfire meal of ramen and granola, and spent the rest of the night looking at the Milky Way, the millions of stars in the sky, and wishing on not one, not two, but SIX shooting stars.
Hugo in I in a very rare picture, where we both look semi-normal.
The next day, we had a breakfast of chorizo, beans, potatoes and onions in a corn tortilla. Who needs hot dogs?
Then, I dragged Hugo along to the scene of the accident. We climbed up so I could share my mountain goat-like climbing abilities (minus all the falling) with another person and not just a camera.
The dragonfly who so graciously posed for my camera.
Made it again!
Some interesting-looking bark.
Then it was time to go. I wanted to get home to call my dad to wish him a happy birthday, and I had work in the morning, and everyone else had class. So we took one final group picture and were off.
Woohoo! We made it out alive!