Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall is here and the canyons are fun!

Fall foliage is turning on the mountain, the kids are back to school and the adults are out to play!  We had a great group out last weekend.  Jen and Beth of Scheels Sports in Utah drove down to spend part of their adventure weekend with us and we FINALLY were able to get some hard working, local Escalantites to join us!

The crew! Angelique, Amanda, Jen, Beth, Robert and Darrel are ready to have some fun!

Beautiful light in the canyon!

 Canyon selfie! Beth, Angelique and Jen take a break to take a shot!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baja Bound!

For the past three winters, Excursions has been spending time exploring the southeastern coast of Baja, Mexico. This year, after much research and on the ground experiences, we are excited to offer several multiday adventure trips in the backcountry of Baja. This beautiful, remote part of Baja has called to Rick the same way Escalante first drew him in over 20 years ago. The Sea of Cortez is world known for its incredible sport fishing opportunities, amazing snorkeling and annual whale and dolphin migrations. Jacque Cousteau once described it as the "world's aquarium" and the "Galapagos of North America". The beaches stretch for miles with hardly a soul to be seen, and the water is calm, warm and turquoise blue most of the year. The mountains and deserts host a surprising abundance of life as well as evidence of those that have come before. Rock art panels have been found all along the coast of the peninsula, some of which have gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status. 

Our base in Baja has been a sleepy little fishing village an hour north of San Jose del Cabo called Los Barriles. We have spent many days venturing to remote mountain villages and tranquil beaches, often finding ourselves the only human visitors much to the surprise of several sea lions and pelicans! On another excursion we discovered a remote beach littered with ancient Native stone tools and chippings. In the late afternoon we’d head down to the town beach to watch hundreds of baby sea turtles being released into the ocean, the hard work of a local conservation group, Grupo Tortuguero. Evenings were often spent at one of the many open air taquerias devouring incredible ceviche, shrimp and fish tacos, or amazing carne asada that was grilling all afternoon! 

While the area around Los Barriles is stunning and full of places to explore, the mountains north of La Paz kept tempting us as we studied maps and satellite images of their imposing beauty. We had finally found the backcountry we were looking for…and the exploration planning begun. 

Last winter, after much planning, organizing, and discussion we had worked out the logistics for an excursion into those mountains. Our team included Marjorie and Jean, interpreter and guides from La Paz, Rogelio who owns a ranch at the base of the mountain and packed our gear in on mule and horseback, and Polomo, a local guide who grew up on the mountain and knew its routes and secrets. Two friends/clients/all-stars, Tony and Judy also joined us for the adventure. Four days were spent hiking, scrambling, and rappelling through a geologic wonderland of green, pink, white and bluish rocks, hoodoos and canyons. Polomo showed us the remains of his family’s homestead at a palm oasis on the slope of the mountain, what a childhood he must have had up there! The excitement of discovery was palpable as we pushed for the saddle and hopefully a route to the summit and a possible canyon descent. 

Routes were evaluated, new vistas peaked interest in further exploration, palm trees whispered of undiscovered oases and all around the rocks and geology teased us with their mysterious origins. We will be back…the mountains are calling!

We will be hosting trips this winter 2014/2015, email for more information and trip dates at

Follow this link to watch a slide show of our Baja exploration trip last winter: