Chasing Waterfalls

While kicking around the southern tip of Baja, friends told us of a few waterfalls to explore and of a “road” through the Sierra de Laguna Mountain range.  A desire for fresh, cascading water inspired us to explore inland for a couple days.  We would check out the waterfall just south of Todos Santos, then cross east over the mountain pass to Santiago where the Canon de la Zorra lies. 




The directions given to us for the falls outside of Todos Santos were : head south, when you see the geodesic domes turn left at the next arroyo, drive up the arroyo as far as you can.  Bingo!  There it was, a crystal clear, steady stream, falling about 30 feet.  Ah, fresh water!

As we approached, we startled a lone sun bather. A big, dirty ole pig, pink and snorting in the mud.  The dry, desert arroyo immediately swallowed all of the cascading mountain water into the sand, about 3 km from the sea.  The muddy pig was laying directly under the falls, soaking in the cool water before the desert zapped it dry. 
After spending a little time at this little morsel of Baja sweetness, it was time to start on our path across the mountains. The beginning of our journey was nice enough, the usual washboard, Baja road. But as we continued further up the mountain, the road narrowed, eventually deteriorating.  After passing the last ranch on the west side of the mountain, the remnants of what was the road was now officially a path.  This has started to become quite a theme.  The peaks of Baja’s mountain passes are gnarly! 
Steeper and steeper, several times crossing over the little stream that we watched disappear into the sand earlier.  Finally, locking the hubs and shifting into low was required to continue.  There we were, in the middle of no mans land, the trail barely wide enough to fit our rig, and a straight drop off.  A very, very high drop off. 

We sometimes get snarky comments about our beast-like rig, but I always think, “let me see you live out of that Prius, or find that secret surf spot, or travel…”  But actually, as we look at each other at the peak of this mountain, on this goat path of a “road”, scared shitless that we may not make it out alive, we ask each other, “why did we build this thing so beastly?!”  It surely feels like we are off looking for trouble again!  
Several sections Jodi hopped out to spot me, holding tightly to our Delorme’s SOS button as she directed each wheel turn.  Several other sections cussing and prayers helped to keep us upright. The scenery was beautiful, but we only noticed when we stopped for a break to let our nerves settle. 

We finally reached the east side of the pass.  As quickly as the road had deteriorated it thankfully got better.  By the time we reached the bottom, the road was nice, wide, and smooth.  Exhausted and clipping along at about 50, which seemed to be light speed, we suddenly became airborne.  Holy shit!  Landing with a huge crash and bang, we looked around to make sure we were all ok.  Fucking topes!!  The smooth sand road camouflaged this ginormous sand tope, neither of us saw it, right in the middle of nowhere. 
As our driving exhaustion set in, we navigated through the small, lagoon town of Santiago.  After a few, unintentional circles around town, we finally found the Rancho de Ecologico, a campground in the Canon de la Zorra, home to a magical waterfall with a swimmable lagoon.  The campground is on an incredible ranch, ran by a beautiful, local family.  
There were a couple of chupacabras running around the ranch.  Our first experience with these freaky looking,  hairless, “monster dogs”.  The Xoloyite is the Mexican national dog.  Desendants from the Mayans, the Xolox have a pretty amazing history. They are found in toy, medium, and large sizes. The large ones are rumored to have stirred the chupacabras sightings. One can surely see why with their menacing look and stoic stare. 

We made the short, breathtaking hike to the pristine swimming hole and waterfall. Oh man, what a sight!  Baja keeps proving to be incredible, with hidden gems every which way. After enjoying the falls, we mingled with the ranch family for a while. They were more than welcoming, giving us a tour of the ranch, all of their animals, and of course sharing constant Spanish/English lessons.  We retreated to our camp feeling fully whipped and fully blessed.  Todo bien.    


  1. Cyndi says:

    Holy Moly! I wouldn’t think you would return down that path! I can envision you both now going along there? lol … I can laugh now since I know your safe on the other side!

Comments are closed.