Thursday, December 08, 2011

Baja Solstice, 2010 into 2011, part 3

The winding trip back toward Arizona started with sunrise at Playa La Perla, and then a quick trip across the peninsula, up through Santa Rosalia, San Ignacio, Guerrero Negro to Santa Rosalillita and the habitat of the rare and unusual Cochemiea maritima near the Pacific Coast.

Incredible Ferocacti here:

Cochemiea maritima is all bristles and long hooked spines, very scruffy looking.

Echinocereus maritimus hancockii and Stenocereus gummosus in a strange dance.

A large old clump of Cochemiea maritima and a mound of Echinocereus, in flower.

Echinocereus maritimus hancockii flower, sunny yellow.

Into the village of Santa Rosalillita. I had vaguely planned on staying here, but had forgotten that it was frigid with the Pacific winter wind and desolate in winter. The small motel in town was closed. It was frighteningly windswept and lonely.

So I drove the short distance to a place often visited with The Poetess, Bahia de Los Angeles. Warmer, calmer, familiar. I was feeling pretty strung out by this time. It was simultaneously comforting and wrenching to be here. It felt like home. But it also felt forlorn. But I met another part of myself here again, and just opened to it.

As I walked on the beach, I was observed by this odd bird, perched on a roof. More bird voodoo.

The next day I went over on the road to La Mona and visited with Grusonia invicta, in the desolate flats.

The aptly named Cylindropuntia molesta.

A beautiful and fiercely hooked Mammillaria, not sure which species.

Then I drove out to the road to San Borja. Fantastic Feros here, Echinocereus ferreirianus, wild vistas, Pachycormus discolor, Bursera, etc.

Back to the beach for idle time, reconnecting with some sense of a heart. Wandering the beach for hours before sunset.

The next day, I packed up and headed north, through El Desierto Central. I had in mind to try to find the tiny stand of Stenocereus eruca in the area around Catavina, to no avail. I also wanted to find Echinocereus ferreirianus lindsayi, also to no avail. But a fantastic journey into the cloudy, wet desert.

In the river bed, these enormous blue fan palms, native and rare, surreal.

Then in the car again, all the way up through the desert to the coastal fog zone near El Rosario, into the mountains just outside town. Ferocactus fordii, Echinocereus maritimus, some Mammillaria species, Bergerocactus. This is still California chaparral up here, everything covered with lichen.

The Turista Motel in El Rosario a fantastic place to stay. Hot water, comfortable beds, space heaters, 300 pesos.

The next morning was cloudy, foggy.

The rough surf and wild winds of Socorro on the way to San Quintin.

One more night in Mexico, at the Hotel Paraiso in Tecate. 200 pesos, and about what one would expect for that price.

Scenes of Tecate:

The motel room.

Windows opening onto the hallway.

Bathroom like a prison cell.

Hail Rosa Venus, blessed art thou among soaps.

Pink Beagle Fashion Woman.

This utterly fantastic bakery at the end of Benito Juarez, incredible pastries. It really is el mejor pan de Tecate.

Barton Fink, Tecate style.

This is what I saw throughout the freezing night, as this music blared from the clothing store across the street until about 2 in the morning:

The next day, up through customs in minutes, over the very scenic road through Campo and Jacumba, back on Interstate 8 to home. Ghostly Dudleya, Cylindropuntia californica, beautiful huge old live oaks.

Not sure anywhere along the way of this fairly epic-feeling excursion I actually found anything of any permanent wisdom or value. Maybe way out on the crescent beach in Todos Santos, at the intersection of Camino Pulpo y Camino de la Langosta. Maybe on Playa Tecolote for that full lunar eclipse. I did discover it is entirely possible to be heartbroken and be completely safe and protected at the same time. That it's spiritually liberating to go right into the center. That freedom is both more than and not all it's cracked up to be. I suppose that's some magic, something permanently useful. The armor that is not armor.

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