Ferry and fords

Mulege was not a town to rush away from but the weather forecast pushed us on. We needed a calm morning for the 12km boat ride across the Bahia de Ascension and the forecast was for calm till 11am and then wind for the next 3 days. As the saying goes ‘It was now or never’. Bec had a contact for a fisherman and we arranged to meet at the lighthouse at 8 am. Our man and his panga met us and we loaded the three bikes and us onto the narrow fishing boat. Life jackets – overrated it seems! The water was calm for the first half of the journey but then a light chop set up. We would not have wanted much more wind than we had.

Once landed on shore we followed the initially indistinct trail, sometimes on the waters edge, sometimes slightly inland. The track became more defined and better travel except for the numerous washes that cut across across the track destroying it and resulting in rough rocky or sandy riding and some steep drops to push down and up.

The wind picked up as predicted and helped propel us south. After lunch in the heat we had a particularly sandy rough stretch till we neared the end of the bay and headed across to the Sea of Cortez side of the peninsula. We were ready to call it a day when we reached the bay of San Sebastion which turned out to be a gated community and so instead of sea views we had a sheltered camp under the phoenix palms immediately before.

The coastal track south to San Nicholas was storm damaged which made for a physical start to the following day.  A good road then took us back east to Mex 1 and a great roadside restaurant.

Sadly this was where we parted ways with Bec who was flying home in a few days. She organised a ride on a big rig hauling steel rods and while Alan was a bit jealous of her impending ride Bec just wanted to keep biking.

We had a good ride that afternoon and lucked in with surface water suddenly appearing in the large dry catchment we had been following. The only flat camp spot was right beside the road but it ticked the boxes of being able to wash, collect water for extra cups of tea and there was room for a fire. Two vehicles passed us in the 12 hours we were there.

Late morning next day we found ourselves at a lookout over one of the more surprising views of the trip. We were looking down to an inviting oasis of palm trees, blue water lagoons and the distinctive volcanic plug, El Pilón de la Purísima, as well as a couple of small towns. We found the small town of Isidras backyard restaurant for a feed of omelettes and then backtracked to spend the afternoon at the most beautiful campsite.

We took another short day to a hotel in San Miguel recommended to us by the Ukon thermarest fairies we met on the road who had a spare thermarest for Alan in their truck! They were sea kayakers and had just spent 20 days kayaking south from Mulege to Loreto in their collapsible double – nice people that we would have loved to spend more than 30 minutes chatting with. They had driven our next section of road the day previous and bemoaned it’s roughness as it took them 5 hours to drive the 50km (with 1000m vertical). Because of their rave about how bad the road was we made an early start from San Miguel. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive in San Javier in only 6.5 hours – the power of the bicycle!

We spotted 2 bike packing rigs outside a restaurant in San Javier and enjoyed a late lunch with Steve and Kristin, also older (and wiser) backpackers who were journeying northwards. Along with young Evan, who is also biking north, we had a great evening meal together sharing stories.

From San Javier the route follows beautiful canyon drainages and involved dozens of river crossings. The upside was being able to cool off when needed.

A potential campsite beside a deep clean pool sadly had to be abandoned when after a swim  I spotted numerous bee hives clinging to the rock cliff above the pool. The next, less picturesque campsite in a rocky wash, had its own wildlife experience. I disturbed a hibernating snake when lifting a rock. It was small and calm enough to quell my inate fear of snakes.

The last day to Cuidad Constitución was a bit of a slog across the plains but the top notch Japanese cuisine we found for dinner pushed that memory deep in into the archives.

Mulege to Constitución