One of the things I’ve learned from my ACL injury is that the path to health is never-ending and that the score of our “problems” is vast. We are not a heap of problems, though, but people surviving life (which we are doing beautifully BTW). Today, I am working on my body by choosing well, not because I’m trying to avoid or because I’m dissatisfied with a part of me. That is love.
If you haven’t been keeping up with my ACL journey and want to read more, here are a few of my recent posts from my other blog Kneed to Know:
“Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.” ~Albert Schweitzer
Some may think that Nick and I are tree-hugging hippies who only love human powered adventures. While we do love adventure, we also love speed though in all its forms. So when we discovered we could rent ATVs and rip around in Baja’s arroyos it didn’t take but a nano second for us to sign up.
We booked the full day tour – five blissful hours of dusty, noisy, redneck adventure. This turned out to be a good move, because we were only one of two ATVs on the ride. (If we’d booked the two hour adventure, we would have had another thirty ATVs for company.) Our riding partners were fairly experienced, too. There would be no stragglers today!
The first hour was a bit of a get to know your machine time. We ascended and descended some super steep slopes and progressively got faster and faster until we were pulling Gs around banked turns. Then it was off to the foothills!
Our first stop was high desert cactus land where our guide taught us all about which cacti were most important to avoid and which ones the indigenous people used for food, medicine and other purposes. We also learned about how the ribs of cacti direct the moisture in the air down to the ground for the cactus to collect and store.
Next we made a high speed bomb up a wide canyon to look at a huge boulder tipped delicately on tree. Pretty soon there wasn’t another soul around and we started to get an inkling of the vastness of this prickly landscape.
The silence didn’t last long. We fired up our engines and flew away, leaving nothing but swirling dust cloud in our wake. We blasted along some of the roads used by the Baja 1000 rally and finally found our way back down to the beach. Humpback whales greeted us, and our guide earned his tip, waiting for just the right moment to snap or picture with the waves crashing in the background.
I was dead exhausted by the time we got finished the ride, but not too tired to smile the whole ride back to our hotel with the memory of our adventure.
One of the coolest things we did in Cabo was visit Tortugueros Las Playitas to participate in a turtle hatchling release.
This amazing organization is helping the sea turtle population recover from the effects of development in southern Baja. They maintain a greenhouse which stabilizes sand temperatures and creates an ideal nest habitat for turtle eggs. The greenhouse maximizes hatch rates and balances gender ratios. Between mid-November and February each year, the organization releases the baby turtles that hatched that day into the ocean at sunset.
The first day we visited there were no turtle hatchlings. I guess they weren’t on our vacation schedule. We had such a nice dinner in Todos Santos that night that we decided to visit again on New Year’s Eve, figuring that if nothing else, we’d have another nice dinner.
This time we were in luck! The little turtles – about 100 in all – were so cute as they flapped their way down the sand into the ocean. The crowd groaned as the baby turtles got tumbled in the pounding surf and washed back up the beach, only to have to start their trek to the water all over again. And volunteers flung sand at gulls and frigate birds who thought we were serving up an all-you-can-eat buffet.
These little turtles are the epitome of vulnerability. Before they grow up, they’ll have to dodge predators who view them as a tasty bite-sized snack. If they make it to adulthood, they will have to dodge humans who want to kill them for their meat, eggs, and shells. They’ll have to avoid longhaul lines and try to distinguish between plastic bags and jellyfish. The former being deadly if they eat it. The 1 in 1,000 that survive to breed will return to the beach where they were born and hope that it’s quiet, dark and undeveloped.
I think this organization is doing a pretty darn good job at helping the turtles on a very shoe-string budget. If you’re so inclined, you can adopt a nest for $40 and help give these guys a good start in life.
On New Year’s Day, Nick and I took an amazing trip with a marine biologist out into the Pacific Ocean just off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to search for and photograph migrating humpback whales. In addition to the whales, we saw sea lions, frigate birds, pelicans, mobular rays (jumping out of the water!), a dolphin, boobies, and a sea turtle.
I wish I’d been fast enough with the camera to capture either of the two spectacular aerial breaches – one of which landed only a few hundred feet in front of our boat. Sometimes amazing things like that will just have to remain captured by the cobwebs inside my head.