Todos Santos Eco Adventures' Blog

Posts from a Pacific Paradise

Hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve: TOSEA Guests Share Their Experiences

by Todos Santos Eco Adventures

Parts of this article were originally published in Destino Magazine.

At Todos Santos Eco Adventures we run 4-day hiking trips in the mountains of Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve, a little-explored but fantastically beautiful area in Baja California Sur. We asked 6 former guests to share what they found most memorable about the trip. So here, in their own words, is each guest’s description of their Sierra trek:

Photo by Thea Thomas

Photo by Thea Thomas

“A few adventurous friends of mine in Baja had hiked to the Sierra de la Laguna and told me how amazing it was, but it was more wondrous than I imagined. At an elevation of 7,000 feet it is a world of its own, an “Island in the sky” as one friend described it. The forests of oak, pine and madrona are host to unique plants and animals. For me as a birder seeing the Yellow-eyed Junco, Oak Titmouse, Baja morph of the American Robin and Acorn Woodpecker was great fun. Our trip was lead by an incredible guide, Mauricio Durán, from Todos Santos Eco Adventures. His knowledge of the natural history of the area added greatly to our experience.”

Thea Thomas, Cordova, Alaska

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Photo by John Valentine

“One of the highlights of the trip was meeting our guide Sergio. He is so knowledgeable about everything, a true renaissance guy.  I learned so much about geography, birds and the natural world from him.  I often think about that trip.  The hike itself to the top was more difficult than I thought it would be but absolutely beautiful.  What I couldn’t believe is the diversity of trees.  There were parts of it that looked exactly like Colorado.  The most exciting point was the freak electrical storm one night.  I think we had a few snowflakes and our water bottles had ice in them.  I have never seen or heard such an electrical display.   I remember the beauty and serenity of the camping area and the hikes we took each day to the peak and waterfalls. The beauty and diversity of this area nestled between the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez—so different from the normal Baja tourist itinerary.  People need to see the incredible beauty of Baja beyond the beaches.”

John Valentine, Kansas City, Missouri

 “Your effort to get to the top will be well rewarded. Seeing both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific at the same time was an extraordinary experience!”

Jon Dallman, Seattle, Washington

Photo by John Dallman

Photo by John Dallman

“I’m 58 years old, and consider myself in pretty good condition. I ride mountain bikes three times a week. Practice yoga in-between. But no matter how much you do, climbing to El Picacho in Southern Baja’s Sierra de la Laguna Mountain Range is a challenge, and our hike to base camp took about 6 hours. The most welcome sight at the end of our hike up was that picture-perfect camp, completely set up with pitched tents and snacks laid out on the table. I felt as if I was on a photo shoot for one of those Abercrombie and Fitch high-end tours of Africa. We spent the night enjoying delicious al dente pasta, and a choice of excellent wines by the light of a crackling fire. We camped along the shores of an ancient dry lakebed at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. Giant pine and oak trees sighed in the breeze. Vaqueros (cowboys) had carried all of our gear and food up on muleback. The mules, now hobbled, were happily munching the tawny grasses of this high mountain meadow.  It was a scene straight out of the old west.”

Mike Brozda, Todos Santos, Mexico

“My greatest memory of the trip was the bells.  The cowboys hobbled their horses and mules so they would not leave the meadow and each of the animals had a bell around its neck. The bells created a symphony under the starlit night, and it was spectacular.”

Patty Romanchek, New Buffalo, Michigan

“I went swimming on my birthday in a frigid mountain lake. Everyone was going to join me…but after I took the plunge, they all were still on the rocks

Photo by Craig Ligibel

Photo by Craig Ligibel

laughing. That was the coldest birthday swim I have ever had. One of our group was a urologist. He assured me that a certain appendage that had almost disappeared would be sure to return the next day. I’m glad he was right!”

Craig Ligibel, Annapolis, Maryland

“Sergio led us on a 3 hour climb up the face of El Picacho itself, the literal and metaphorical high point of the trip. The trail winds through shady pine forests before emerging into oak-covered scree. We threaded along a razor’s edge portion of the trail, with a sweeping view of the Pacific Ocean on our left, and the Sea of Cortez on the right. We descended about 100 feet–down the distinctive notch you see in El Picacho–before scrambling up

Photo by John Valentine

Photo by John Valentine

huge granite boulders to the top. We spent about 90 minutes at the top of the world in Southern Baja, drinking in the view, munching on snacks, and snapping photos. That evening, back at camp, we had a meal of delicious fajitas, rice and beans, fresh hot tortillas with guacamole, fresh vegetables, and toasted our success.”

Mike Brozda, Todos Santos, Mexico

For more information about trekking in the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve please visit our web site at www.tosea.net and/or email us at TSEcoAdventures@hotmail.com

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