Winter Days

– Canyon hikes and hazardous bicycling on the Baja road –

Windy weather: time to go hiking.

The canyons are always waiting for us.

The key spot on one of our favorite canyon hikes. There is an old, flimsy rope, I hate to use it. There is a bypass through a spooky, narrow cave, but it has become almost clogged lately. The conditions in all these canyons change every year; violent flash floods reshape them each summer.

Parvin (Canyon wren) has become the ultimate authority on canyon matters. Whenever some young, athletic travelers find there way to our hidden place she takes them and guides them and they invariably come home with these beaming faces:

* Tommy & Patricia from Switzerland *

A Redtail Hawk, they are huge and not shy at all.

Look at this caterpillar: it is hard to believe that the formidable teeth on its back are not made of tough stainless steel. The shiny, silvery color and texture is so convincing that you have to touch them in order to believe that they are actually quite soft. Mimicry, imitation, parody, and even plain humor occur in nature all the time, in fact, sophisticated deception and trickery is a very common tool in the ceaseless evolutionary competition.

** ** **

Here is a little example of the great Mex-1-highway leading down the entire Baja peninsula. In an earlier message I have mentioned how dangerous it is. If you drive a motor home like ours you have to keep the right wheel on the white line when a big semi comes on with 60 mph; and here you can see what happens when you veer off only a few inches. This is just one spot we drive by with our bikes quite often. It is only a fairly harmless example. It is not rare at all that huge chunks of the pavement are broken off deep into the road, far beyond the line. Not funny when you meet a truck right there! By the way, as you can see, bicycling on this road can be quite hairy too. For years, we used to ride our tandem on this road 40 miles every other day until we realized that we were pushing our luck.

                                                           Klaus Dec. 16. 2007

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