The Daily Gusketeer

Baja Trek's daily blog.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Another Whale Shark Beach Express Trek in the Books

Another Whale Shark Beach Express Trek in the Books

Welp, we did it again. It's been 6 years since our first Whale Shark Beach Express. Six years of adventure. Six years of new friends from all over the world. And, six good years of happiness.

This year was amazing. A one of kind if you will. For the first time ever the Whale Sharks swam to us. That's right. Those huge living freight trains of living flesh came so close to the campsite on the beach that you could actually swim out and ride them. Never saw that before. They're kind of like puppies don't ya know. If they like you they'll follow you around and even let you ride them.

Something that you can tell your grand kids about for sure.

Of course we also did other things. It's not all serious business on a Baja Trek like swimming with Whale Sharks and Dolphins all day long. You have to have some fun, too. Ever go Scorpion Wranglin'? We did. They're fun to play with. And, it doesn't take a genius to do it either. In fact, it helps if you're slightly stupid. At least for us it does. Now don't go out and do this unless your past slightly stupid and well on your way to really stupid. That works for us too. Why? Cause you just might get hurted. And, no one is going to dare kiss your lil' boo boo. So, for the sake of safety (Safety is Job 2 on a Baja Trek. Fun is Job 1) I'm not going to tell you how to wrangle a scorpion.

 In other words "Don't try this at home kids" 

I know what you're thinking. That's effin' crazzzzzzy!!! Yup, it sure is. Your probably saying something like "I want to go on a Baja Trek and experience wildlife up close. BUT, not this close"

There are other options also ya know. You can go clamming, coyote watching, swim with the Dolphins in the bay or even go Crab hunting. We like to do that too. It's fun. And the little buggers are quick. Want to train for a Triathlon? Just chase a crab around for a few minutes. You'll get in shape real real quick. But, please folks practice catch and release. It's more fun like that. The Baja Trek Crew likes to catch em', tattoo em' and then release em' back into the wild. Why? So they can spread the Baja Trek Love of course. Can you imagine the look on the next person's face who catches one that has a "Gus the Bus" tattoo on his shell? Priceless I bet. At the very least worth a little itty bitty grin I think.

I could go on and on about things we do on a Baja Trek and the awesome places we go. But, that really isn't the important thing. What's important? It's making new friends, understanding new cultures and having unique experiences that create great memories that last a life time. Baja is just the canvas. The amazing people and  places are the paint. Love Love

Thanks! We Love you all         (Thanks Chase and Tamara for the great pics)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Baja Trek Annual Holiday Toy Trot

It's that magical time of year again. The time of year where you get that warm fuzzy feeling and everyone else has it too. It's contagious I tell you. We're doing the annual Baja Trek Holiday Toy Trot again this year.
It's so much fun. Just seeing the looks on those little kids faces when they get a Teddy Bear or toy for the holidays is priceless. There is nothing really like it anywhere.

The idea came about when I was a kid. Just a little itty bitty niggler if you will sporting nothing but my coolest pair of Batman feety pajamas. It was Christmas eve in our apartment complex and everything was not as quiet as a mouse.  

Our apartment was joined by other apartments on two sides and faced out to a small park area where all the kids would play on the grass. Not a bad place to play. Or see Santa! Anyway, it was Christmas eve and out of nowhere this monster station wagon jumps the street curb, drives into the park and stops right in front of my apartment. I in my feety pajamas just stared out the window while trying to hide behind the couch at the same time. It didn't work. I think I almost wet myself when the fat guy in the passenger seat got out of the station wagon and walked up to my door and knocked with a booming Ho, Ho, Ho. 

Holy Bat Crap Batman it really is Santa. I opened the door. He patted me on the head and handed me something. I don't remember what it was. It doesn't matter. It was awesome because it was from Santa. And that's all I need to remember.

Thanks you Mr. Santa Clause. It's in your spirit that we do these annual Baja Trek Toy Trots. Love Love             

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Weird Being Different.

So, we're going on almost 6 years now doing Baja Trek. We've met some of the best people on the planet and have experienced some of the greatest things Mother Nature has to offer. For that we are very thankful.

It's the little pleasures in life that make these kind of Treks so important.  A Shooting Orange Sunset, maybe it's a cresting over a valley that shows the next beautiful peak, or a sly coy smile from a person in the rear view mirror who has traveled continents to get on a Baja Trek.

These things are things that money will never be able to express on it's best day. There is no tip. There is no thanks.

There is no satisfaction  on the planet that can reward you like the look on someone's face after you know that they are having the time of their life.

Maybe it's swimming with a Whale Shark, or seeing people see their first shooting star.

Maybe it's their reaction when they hear their first Coyote howl at a full moon. I don't know, but I love it. It's energy! It's Love!   

Baja California is like that. It doesn't take you long to get back to Mother Nature here. You don't have to look far.

She finds you.

Baja is over two and half times longer than the state of Florida. She boasts just a little over 1/8th of Florida's entire population. All mostly along the boarder with Alta California.Y ou can imagine Mother Nature can be found  around almost every corner.

You really have to see it to believe it.

Of course, being what it is isn't for everyone. No Domino's Pizza or AAA here. This is the outback.

This is Adventure.

It's not for everyone and we like it that way.  We're thankful that places that are so close to the U.S.A. are like this. We're thankful that the great people of Mexico and Baja California have stuck to their pride of  identity. We Love you for it.

Just cross the Border and see for yourself.     

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baja Boogie

 Every once in a while the phone rings or we get an email from someone on the other end who has stars in their eyes and aww in their voice. The kind of person who can't wait to visit new destinations and experience new cultures. Most folks who do that travel half way around the the world and end up smack dab in the middle of all the culture and people they tried to leave back home.

Often, some of the best secrets are right out side your backdoor. And., Baja California is no exception. We'd like to think that the Trek Crew is pretty well traveled. So, we're always amazed how you can go just a few miles from the good ol' U.S. of A. and feel like you're a million miles from home. Unique food, great people and, best of all, no foolish little exit signs that say things like 'Biggest Ball of String" or "Drive through Tree". Because, what they really mean is "Stop! Get ripped off and leave as fast as you can, Thanks for your Money". Baja California isn't like that. You don't have to go far to find it, either. Just down the street, around the next corner or in that small pueblo is a place that has been undiscovered. Maybe you're the first one there?

The best way to experience this amazing feat is through the eyes of friends and fellow travelers. At least to me it is. To see someone see something truly amazing for the first time, and really appreciate it is what it's really all about. It makes the dirt roads, the busted knuckles turning wrenches and the long hours soooooooo worth every second of the adventure. And, that's exactly what it is. An Adventure.

Thanks great people who still have the spirit of adventure and are willing to act on it. We Love you.

Love Love!            

Monday, September 17, 2012

Got to Love Ma' Nature!

The adventures just keep coming. This is Baja California after all and there really is no place like it. In fact, you can go to the same place down here almost every week and it's different. Different in a good way. I mean the kind of different where you don't get bored. You get more accustomed to change in small and large things here. Unlike many places, each day south of the border is different. Colors are different. Smells are different. Things are moving.

Just last week we breezed into the Hot Springs down here with a small group of Trekkers. I guess "breeze" is an exaggeration. Ol' Gus the Baja Adventure Bus did his best to get up the rugged road that leads to these desolate gems of beauty. We purred through the rock gardens, up toward the cactus strewn low lands and then up the craggy road that marks the entrance to the hot springs. That 's when the real adventure began.

Now we've been doing the hot spring thing for, geez, going on our 6th season. At this point we think we have things pretty well figured out. You know, chest out and ego bulging figured out. Ma' Nature was going to have none of that. The road into the springs was so torn up by the recent down pours of rain that it wasn't even close to drivable. What did we do? We do what all Trekkers do. We saddled up the backpacks and hiked into the hot springs. Not a long walk. Maybe about a mile or so. The hike was the most beautiful one we have ever encountered. Fresh from the rain the palm trees were at their finest. Nature was out everywhere. Cactus in bloom and the smell of desert grasses filled the air. And! an awesome all natural hot spring waiting for us under the shade of the area's most beautiful trees made it even more spectacular. All thanks to Ma' Nature's wrath if you will? Without all that rain I doubt it would have been so awe inspiring. Thanks Ma' Nature. Keep doing what you're doing and making our lives interesting. Love ya!                

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Tipi for the Treks

We started by sitting around the campfire listening to the sweet sound of  a Coyote howl dance on the wind. The breeze came in off the Sea of Cortez cool and gentle. And, just like that an idea was formed. Why not bring Tipi's on the Treks? A Tipi is nothing like a tent. If you have ever slept in one you know what I mean.

A Tipi is solid, easy to set up and, best of all, it stands up to a good breeze really well. Once the decision was made we contacted one of those funky companies that sell such things and talked to one of the guys who makes them for a living. All he kept saying was "You're going to Love it" "You're going to Love it" - Just like a broken record. He said it so much that we got caught up in his exuberance, too. Before we know it we we're saying " We're going to Love it" " We're going to Love it" This soon became our new mantra. So without haste that pesky 3x5 plastic card came out and we purchased one on the spot.

The thing arrived. In a big box. All the Trek Elves stood around in amazement when it showed itself for the first time. It was Love at first site. We didn't know why but just looking at that Tipi laying there like a new born baby was a thing to behold. Now, I'd like to tell you that we heard angels singing and all that jazz but that's simply not true. The newborn didn't look like a Tipi but we could see the possibilities once it "grew up" if you will?

We had a Trek in two days to visit the Whale Sharks in Bahia de Los Angeles. The Trek Elves got the paint out and started painting. The baby was to be yellow and green. Why? That's what we had on hand at Trek Hq so why not? After half the paint was on the Tipi and half on us we set it out to dry.

On the beach for the first time we set the baby up. We  had no idea what we were doing. After some practice it went up pretty easy. Or maybe it was the beer. I don't remember, but it was standing and our chests were out with pride.

The first night it blew like stink and people's tents were flipping over like tumble weeds in the wind. That little Tipi stood tall and proud and didn't move an inch. After that we were sold. The Tipi is the way to go.

Thanks nice man up in Montana for you exuberance. You were right. "We Love it"            

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Another Year of Whale Shark Adventures

 Another Year of Whale Shark Adventures

It's that time of year again! The time of year of racing heart beats, road trips and adventure. Every year for the last 5 years Baja Trek has made the pilgrimage in August to swim with the gentle Whale Shark. The Whale Shark makes it's summer home in and around the islands of Bahia de Los Angeles in sunny Baja California. This year about 17 intrepid trekkers will be donning snorkel gear, loading up panagas and kayaks to follow these docile giants as the feed on plankton at a slow rate of about 2 miles per hour. It's an adventure anyone can do. To see and swim with one is an exhilarating experience to say the least. Here 's a video by our friends at National Geographic about what it's like-

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Environmentalists find opportunities in Baja California

The Great Recession halted many projects on the Baja Peninsula. Conservation groups used it to protect more open space, the Fronteras Project reports.

This is a tiny fishing village on the Pacific coast, about 400 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. There’s not much going on here as night falls on a recent weekday evening — just a few dirt bikers roaring around, and surfers catching the day’s final waves.

But only five years ago, this town was bustling with construction.

Santa Rosalillita was slated as the first step in the Escalera Naútica, or Nautical Staircase — a string of marinas that the Mexican federal government planned to build along the coast of Baja California and the Sea of Cortez.

Now, this marina is a giant sandpit. The main, three-story building that was supposed to greet boaters with a restaurant and Internet service, sits empty, rusting in the salty breeze.

The failed Nautical Staircase project has become the poster child for over-ambitious development dreams in Baja California.

“It was planned with the expectation that the real estate was going to continue growing," said Saúl Alarcón, executive director of the Mexican conservation group, Terra Peninsular. "They said: 'Well, let’s put some marinas in key places because we’re developing the entire coast. So eventually we’ll have thousands of people with yachts coming to Baja California.'”

During the recent boom years, many Mexican developers, and Americans in search of a plot of paradise, invested in Baja California's miles and miles of unspoiled, breathtaking coastline. Now, many are saddled with half-finished condos and acres of remote land with no electricity or water.

But some people aren’t all that upset about the development freeze.

“Definitely the downturn of the economy has been a positive boon for (Baja California's) natural resources," said Serge Dedina, executive director of WiLDCOAST, based in Imperial Beach.

“When the Baja Boom was happening, it seemed like environmentalists were fighting all kinds of projects," Dedina said. "From a plethora of liquid natural gas terminals to marina development projects, high-rise development projects and mega-resorts."

A lot of that has come to a halt. And thanks to the slowdown, WiLDCOAST and other conservation groups have been able to buy up discounted coastal land from speculators who once hoped to make a fortune selling beachfront real estate. They are establishing conservation easements on private land, and working with the Mexican government to form new protected areas.

“So in places like San Ignacio Lagoon, Magdalena Bay, the corridor between Loreto and La Paz and in the central Pacific coast, we’ve been able to preserve some really world-class coastal biodiversity areas," Dedina said. "Areas where grey whales go, and where you see whale sharks. Real world class, Africa-style wildlife destinations. So that’s really exciting.”

About four hours north of Santa Rosalillita is San Quintín Bay, an internationally recognized wetlands area. Tens of thousands of migratory waterbirds hibernate here. Clams and oysters are abundant.

“It’s one of the last (coastal) wetlands in North America," said Alarcón from Terra Peninsular. "I’d say, 80 to 90 percent of the habitat is still in good shape."

The local government had hoped this fragile bay would also house a marina. A mega resort and golf course were also once on the drawing board. But now, Terra Peninsular is coordinating with the government to establish a Federal Biosphere Reserve on nearly 300,000 acres here. It’s also working with local farmers to establish land use plans and sustainable agricultural practices.

Of course, development brought much needed money into this region. And with that money gone, conservationists are hurting, too.

“I mean, non-profits too, depend on grants and donations to do their work," Alarcón said. "When the development pressure goes down, the money for conservation also goes down.”

Back in Santa Rosalillita, locals say the jobs and income promised by the marina could have been good for the town. Even though it’s not likely to ever be operational, the marina project did bring electricity and a paved road. And a few surfing tourists: the marina’s break wall created a nice new wave.

Now, local fishermen are brainstorming ideas for what to do with this sandy corral.

"Some kind of farm," mused Javier Maclish, a local fisherman. "It would be really special if we could do that kind of work there. For example, an abalone or fish farm. Why not? I think we have a very interesting place to do it.

Transform a failed marina into fish farm? Indeed, why not? Baja's isolated residents are used to making something out of what appears to be to others to be a waste.

By Jill Repogle Reprinted from

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweat Lodge Ceremony, Full Moon Drumming & Hot Springs Soaking Trek

A traditional Lakota Inipi ceremony will be lead by Veteran Sun Dancer and Tokala Warrior, Joshua Mack. If you are being called to come together in a good way, to purify, lift up your prayers and intentions, share and heal, then answer the call.

The ceremony will be followed with a Full Moon drumming circle!

This will be a drug and alcohol free event, as to honor the Lakota tradition, the Canyon and ourselves in being totally present in our experience. Sweat, surrender, soak and sing! A’ho Mitakuya Oyasin! (We Are All Related).

This experience is a combination celebration, ceremony and Baja Trek.

If you have never been to Guadalupe Canyon Oasis it is truly amazing.

Day 1- Trek & Soak

We'll meet at the border if you are coming on the Gus the Beach Bus and drive east through the back country into northern Baja California.

On the way, we'll stop for supplies and a few tasty tacos in one of the smaller towns we meet on our journey. Then we'll head east on through the high desert chaparral and through some of the most awe inspiring rock gardens found on the west coast. The beauty alone will be enough to make us stop and gaze out over the majestic valley floor thousands of feet below before descending into what appears to be a whole other world.

Our experience continues as we turn from the pavement onto the road-less-traveled. The mid afternoon's warm sun will find us driving over the ancient dry lake bed of Laguna Salada. The dry lake bed is cradled for 60 miles to the west by the Pine tree-covered Sierra de Juarez mountains and the craggy peaks of the Sierra de Los Cucapah range to the east. After a final slow crawl up the rugged dirt road that leads to the hot springs, we'll sit down to a great dinner next to the campfire and soak our weary bones in the geo thermal hot springs.

Day 2- Drum, Sweat and Soak

December 10th is a full moon so bring your drum and celebrate with us while we beat to the earth's glory.

The new sweat lodge at the hot springs has not been used yet. This seems like the perfect opportunity to celebrate, purify, share and heal the energies that have come together to create such a unique place on this planet that we share.

We will greet our beautiful morning in the Canyon with breakfast and a soak. We will then gather at the Lodge to prepare the Sacred Circle and Fire, dress the Lodge and sit around the Fire for teachings, sharing and intentions, and making of prayer ties. We will crawl into Lodge before dark and come out into the evening, re-birthed, to share in a Wopila Feast, followed by a Full Moon Drumming Circle to launch our Love, Joy and Gratitude to Canyon de Guadalupe and her Ancestors!

Afterward, the hot springs will be patiently awaiting our presence to assist us in processing and integrating all of the beautiful gifts and experiences that we have shared.

Please understand that this will take a group effort to accomplish all that needs to be done for this ceremony to take place, and that each one of us will get out of the experience precisely what we put into it. In giving is receiving. It is also traditional to bring a small gift for the Fire Tender and anyone else you may care to share with. A pouch of Tobacco wrapped in a red cloth is traditional, but anything that comes from the heart is a beautiful way to show your gratitude to the Fire Tender for their hard work and focus.

There is no charge for the ceremony itself. Any Love-Donations will go toward to the costs of firewood, tools, blankets, and all that is needed to facilitate ceremony.

What to bring:
Loose tobacco for prayer ties and gifting
Two towels
Clothing must be 100% cotton
Men - sweat shorts
Women - a sarong or sundress
A great attitude, open heart, desire to help and willingness to surrender.

***If you have any surplus blankets to donate to the Lodge it would be greatly appreciated!***

Day 3- Mud Baths?

After a morning soak and a big Baja breakfast we'll begin our slow crawl back to civilization. We'll take our time and slide through a few smaller villages to sample the food and experience a bit of local culture.

Back at the border, we'll wave goodbye to our new friends, swap contact info and long for the next adventure. See you soon, amigos!

"My favourite thing is to go where I've never been." ~ Diane Arbus