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Author: Subject: Salsipuedes Canyon by Fatbike
David K
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 10:36 AM


Thank you Mark... Perfect report and it is so appreciated that you are sharing your adventure with us. The ability to have water for a week using that trailer is surely what makes this kind of travel in those Baja locations possible... along with your youth and strength!

Have you considered doing sections of El Camino Real, perhaps the places where it is mostly level?




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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 04:02 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by David K
Have you considered doing sections of El Camino Real, perhaps the places where it is mostly level?

I haven't but will look into it. I am always looking for multi-day expeditions to go on. If you want a great blog of a bike tourer check out Cass Gilbert's While Out Riding. I did a 2 week tour of the Indian Himalayas with him several years ago and he basically spends his life riding his bike.

OK, last set of pictures ... I decided to try driving the car up the dry lakebeds to where I'd start hiking up to the pass in from the east. I checked it out the previous June in the 40 degree heat so knew exactly what to expect.

Donkeys in the first dry lake bed.


After the first lakebed the ground gets more rocky and moonscape-like. Around 29 5.319' N 113 45.352' W


I made it across from the first to second lakebeds. The road isn't too challenging but the ground clearance of the car was very low so I had to stop every 50 m and move rocks off the road. But I got through OK. I was worried about the sandy sections later on but it was good. If I got into trouble coming back I'd just turn around and go backwards so the front wheel drive turns into rear wheel drive.




There are a few isolated cactus growing in the middle of nowhere in the lakebeds.


Campsite: 29 16.289' N 113 50.632' W


That night I slept in the back seat of the car.


The next morning I got ready to head across. I was going to ride to the island on the left, then ditch the bike at 29 16.003' N 113 52.279' W and hike the rest of the way to the saddle left of the mountain in the middle. Over that saddle is inside the Salsipuedes drainage.


Another view of where I was going:

I crossed a faint jeep track about 100 m before the island, which you can actually see in GE. I left the bike on the north side of the island and got my hiking gear together.

What it was like hiking across the lakebed:


A raven came by and sat in a cactus to watch me go by. Not sure if he was just curious or waiting for me to die... I stashed two water bottles along the way, burying them. I went past a clam shell, don't know what the story was behind that. Maybe a fresh water one from when this was a lake?


The hike was so gradual I didn't notice the elevation gain of 300 m. It was pretty easy and I got to the base of the steep section and set up camp:
Somewhere around 29 15.304' N 113 55.795' W


Good to see there are lots of bees in Baja. There was a lot of life here, it was really pretty desert country.




And looking across to the hill here: 29 15.334' N 113 55.214' W I could see switchbacks, I guessed from antelope.


That night I got really worried about the car and my bike. I noticed a slow leak in one of the car tires and I left the bike pump with my bike, along with the tire changing equipment. So if someone stole the bike I could be screwed. And maybe the insurance didn't cover the car if it's so far away from the highway (40 km). I decided to haul it up the hill the next morning to assess the pass and get back to my stuff quickly.

This is what the climb looked like. It was about 45 degrees most of the way with loose rocks and agaves to stab your legs if you're not careful. I was heading straight up to the right. Around 29 15.199' N 113 56.026' W




After the first hill it mellowed out a little bit and continued on to the saddle. Looking north-east back to the dry lake:




At the saddle! Looking north-west towards the mountain: Around 29 14.949' N 113 56.488' W


And the shot we've all been waiting for: looking west to the upper Salsipuedes drainage. The terrain there is pretty mellow and I could have continued fairly easily but I wanted to get back to the car. It looks like from GE it doesn't get a little challenging until a few km in.


At the time I thought, OK I can hike up but there's no way you could get a bike up. In thinking back, it may be possible. You'd just have to bring lots of water which you stash at the bottom of the hill (also leave lots of extra to allow you to ride back out if you need to), preferably go with other people, and get your gear sorted out so you can throw it on your back for hiking it up. Then plan for two days to get all your gear up to the pass in stages. I am good at climbing hills so I could probably do it, except my knees don't like going down so with all the stages I might twist a knee. You'd just have to be really careful and slow.

I went back down pretty fast, but carefully. I packed up and hiked back across the lakebed. As soon as I got within range I took some telephoto shots of the island to see if the bike was OK:

Whew! That littlle blue dot left of center. And the car was still white too. I was being a little paranoid since no one had come by, but it would have been easy to follow my tracks and take the bike. In retrospect I could have ridden it all the way up to the campsite with ease.

The rest of the day I relaxed at the car and prepared to drive back out the next morning.





On the way back I zoomed around the salt flats and got some good videos. But you have to be careful of the potholes! Somewhere around 29 14.327' N 113 50.908' W


This is at the southern lake, almost back at the highway. Around 29 3.412' N 113 46.737' W


So in retrospect I wish I hadn't taken the car up the dry lakes, it was causing me too much worry. It would have been easy to ride the bike in, it's only 40 km which is an easy day on those flat roads. Just get someone to drive you up the highway. And the other problem with the rental car was that each day was burning up money, so I didn't want to commit to another couple weeks for another attempt down the canyon. Next time I'll catch a ride or take the bus. But still, this was a great scouting trip and I'm going to come back as soon as I can organize it to try again, otherwise it'll have to wait until the autumn when it cools down.
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 06:03 PM


These last group of images are your best in my opinion. I especially like the moon shot.

Have you considered entering Salsipuedes from the lake just a mile north of where you came in.

2916'2.18"N 11355'55.68"W

I think the climb north from this spot would have been less severe.
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 06:34 PM
Mark_BC


Mark,
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 06:40 PM


The most outstanding trip report and pictures I have seen!

Wish I were 100 years younger. :lol::lol::lol:
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 06:53 PM


yeah Mark, one of the best reports EVER here!

i'd be onboard next time with enough planning to take you to the launch area and maybe stay a night so you could place some water/supplies along your route. sounds like a great adventure to be a part of.




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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 08:41 PM


Wow some really beautiful pictures. The Baja landscape can be so beautiful yet so dangerous.
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[*] posted on 1-30-2014 at 08:48 PM


In one word: SWEET!

Central Baja is just so great. Thank you Mark, we rarely get such a view of our planet... Planet Baja! :bounce::bounce::bounce:

Edit: The sea shell was likely from the Cochim (specially if far from auto roads).

I have seen sea shells way way far from the sea, that were not (yet) petrified.

[Edited on 1-31-2014 by David K]




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[*] posted on 1-31-2014 at 12:18 AM


Mark,
I can also hang with Woody for a couple of days wherever we dump you. :lol:

We will have lots of water that you can bury just in case of a retreat.

Also will give you a handheld two-way radio which should work to contact us for a mile or two. We can probably arrange for boaters that have a FRS/GMRS radio to listen for you if they are near the mouth of Salsipuedes.
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[*] posted on 1-31-2014 at 12:27 AM


I agree. These are real nice images. They are very inspirational.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 10:46 AM


Thanks for all the support guys! I still have tons of video to go through, which would also make some good photos if I took screen shots. I'll try to sort that out over the not too distant future.

Also, someone asked what filter I was using, it is the Sweetwater Guardian. A plastic thing that I would like to replace. The desalinator filter was the Katadyn Survivor 06.

Quote:
Originally posted by Skipjack Joe
Have you considered entering Salsipuedes from the lake just a mile north of where you came in.
2916'2.18"N 11355'55.68"W

I think the climb north from this spot would have been less severe.


Hey Skipjack, I thought about that one but it looks pretty hairy entering the main canyon here: 29 17.237' N 113 57.989' W

Based on previous experience, if it looks at all rough on GE, it probably is very rough! But maybe with multiple people and climbing gear it would be do-able.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 11:40 AM


Thank you Mark... I wish there were more off road adventure trip reports like yours! Love them all...



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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 01:55 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Mark_BC

Quote:
Originally posted by Skipjack Joe
Have you considered entering Salsipuedes from the lake just a mile north of where you came in.
2916'2.18"N 11355'55.68"W

I think the climb north from this spot would have been less severe.


Hey Skipjack, I thought about that one but it looks pretty hairy entering the main canyon here: 29 17.237' N 113 57.989' W

Based on previous experience, if it looks at all rough on GE, it probably is very rough! But maybe with multiple people and climbing gear it would be do-able.


Ah yes, I saw that area as well. It looks like heavy boulders barricading the wash across the canyon. Didn't know how hard it would be to get past a couple of such spots on that arm.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 02:13 PM


WONDERFUL PHOTOS! GREAT TRIP!
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 02:20 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Skipjack Joe
Quote:
Originally posted by Mark_BC

Quote:
Originally posted by Skipjack Joe
Have you considered entering Salsipuedes from the lake just a mile north of where you came in.
2916'2.18"N 11355'55.68"W

I think the climb north from this spot would have been less severe.


Hey Skipjack, I thought about that one but it looks pretty hairy entering the main canyon here: 29 17.237' N 113 57.989' W

Based on previous experience, if it looks at all rough on GE, it probably is very rough! But maybe with multiple people and climbing gear it would be do-able.


Ah yes, I saw that area as well. It looks like heavy boulders barricading the wash across the canyon. Didn't know how hard it would be to get past a couple of such spots on that arm.


I am still very curious about the reported guys that came up Salsipuedes from the sea and ended up on Botica Dry lake, but not via Botica Canyon as ESG and crew did.?!?!?!?!? Am I getting confused here? Was that not reported by the BOLA guys??

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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 02:32 PM


Don't mean to insult your intelligence and you most likely know this, but ...

If you zoom in close to the ground in google earth and then tilt your viewpoint forward using the topmost circle with the N on it. You can then move forward at a constant elevation and see your intended journey at a height of, say, 50 feet.

You indicated that the real world looks very different than GE. Perhaps that's because you are always looking straight down.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 10:11 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Barry A.
I am still very curious about the reported guys that came up Salsipuedes from the sea and ended up on Botica Dry lake, but not via Botica Canyon as ESG and crew did.?!?!?!?!? Am I getting confused here? Was that not reported by the BOLA guys??

Barry


I wonder if they came up this arm and then hopped east over to Botica Wash:
2920'23.06" N 11356'56.36" W
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[*] posted on 2-2-2014 at 10:28 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Skipjack Joe
Don't mean to insult your intelligence and you most likely know this, but ...

If you zoom in close to the ground in google earth and then tilt your viewpoint forward using the topmost circle with the N on it. You can then move forward at a constant elevation and see your intended journey at a height of, say, 50 feet.

You indicated that the real world looks very different than GE. Perhaps that's because you are always looking straight down.


Oh yeah I look at it from all angles. That location goes down almost 100 m over about 500 m so that is a 5:1 slope which would probably mean a lot of cliffs with the big rocks you can see on GE.

Some of the areas I went to showed hardly any hill at all but in reality it was very steep. Basically, if you see rocky terrain in GE you should expect it to be very steep.

The second route I tried in looks more reasonable (once you get up the hill) because most of the way isn't rocky, it's more typical desert terrain that you can walk through. You can see the big bushes on GE and the terrain is quite flat meaning the few areas that look a bit sketchy in the wash could likely be hiked around by leaving the wash if needed.
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[*] posted on 2-5-2014 at 10:25 PM


OK so I edited the previous posts and added coordinates where I could remember or place the photo.
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[*] posted on 2-17-2014 at 04:46 PM


Well it looks like work is slowing down again and I should have the opportunity to try the Salsipuedes descent again, this time older and wiser. I am thinking that I may head down in the next few weeks. I am not going to rent a car, that was too much of a noose around my neck. I am hoping to catch a ride if one is available. Ill pay for gas etc. All youd have to do is drop me off at the side of the highway

This time I will try a different approach. I am not going to try to go down the whole drainage from headwaters to sea like last time because it is too difficult on a first descent trip by myself. Instead Ill go in halfway down the canyon from Botica lakebed. It would be a better story to do the whole canyon, but Id rather be able to finish the loop.

There are a few areas that look a little sketchy, like between these two locations:
2919'22.74" N 11358'40.57" W
And 2920'24.43" N 11359'25.66" W

I dont want to get down the canyon and find that its impassable again.
So I will ride my bike up the dry lakebeds from the BoLA highway to where I got last time with the car, but then go over towards ESGs campsite and hike up the hill at the place where Eidsco has a photo on GE. From this photo you can also see that the hills arent too steep.
2918'50.19" N 11354'09.58" W

Then I hike north a bit and then turn west and cross over the lakebed into the drainage via this modest hill:
2919'46.36" N 11356'36.67" W

From there its pretty straightforward another 23 km down the wash out to the sea. I dont see anything on GE that is a cause for concern, and once I get to Larrys photo on GE, I know Im home free because if he got there on quads Im sure a bike could get through! What Ill also do once I enter the main drainage is turn left and go back up to see how far I can get before the terrain gets too rough. That would help with planning future descents down the whole drainage if anyone ever decides to try that.

I will have to take all my water, so planning on around 30 L, which should last over week. On one hand, it will be warmer this time, but on the other it wont be such hard work as last time.

Once I get to the sea I only need to packraft down to Candelero. From there I can ride up the wash but to avoid backtracking down the lakebeds I plan to take a nicer route and cross this pass here which leads down into Bahia Guadalupe:
2916'16.47" N 11345'38.72" W

From Guadalupe I can ride south and go up this wash which leads to a small road:
2907'46.31" N 11337'19.63" W

This road goes all the way back to la Gringa.

Ive been sick almost the whole time since I got back, with the flu / bronchitis but hopefully it should soon clear up. So crossing fingers that nothing will come up to keep me away this time.

BTW, I have been going through my video footage from the first trip and some of it turned out really well! If I get more of that on this next trip Ill definitely have something to make a movie out of. But I need a good story to make a movie, and getting turned back by difficult rocks isnt a good story.
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