San Diego to Bahia San Quintin, October 6th to 18th 2007

In April of 2002 I paddled a section of the Pacific coast of Baja with Konstantin Gortinsky and Sid Taylor. Before that trip Konstantin suggested that I read the book “We Survived Yesterday” by John Reseck. So I recognized the book when I saw Charles Harris reading it at a BASK meeting years later. I asked Charles why he was reading this and he said he was planning to paddle that coastline next fall. I asked if I could come along and he said yes! Depending on how interested Charles is in the planning stages of trips, this may have been a big mistake, or perhaps a great idea. I started printing up maps, building a planning WEB page, plotting float plans, planning meals, picking dates. Occasionally I asked Charles if he minded me taking over his trip, and he always said no. I convinced Charles that he really didn’t want to do the whole coast of Baja Norte and Baja Sur in one trip. That would take eight weeks at a reasonable paddling speed. It seemed better to do Baja Norte in four weeks this year and then come back to do the other half of the peninsula next year.

Several other people heard about the trip and asked to join us. I always referred those people to Charles and told them it was Charles' trip so it was up to him to include more people. Charles usually said yes, and at one time there were five people planning on going. Dick Ryon came on a couple of our practice paddles but then found that he could not get the time off from other commitments. When Gregg Berman almost dropped out of the trip, Charles almost canceled the trip. Charles said that he was beginning to feel that this trip was not safe with only two people! We shortened the trip to two weeks, changed the plan to only do 240 miles of the peninsula and arranged to do it during a period that Gregg could get off to join us. We’ll have to come back over the next three years to finish up the rest of the Pacific coast of Baja.

My Toyota truck was already insured to drive in Mexico, so Charles and I swapped cars the week before. He drove my truck down to The Old Mill, a restaurant/bar/hotel on Bahia San Quintin on the Baja Pacific coast. There he made arrangements to leave my car for two weeks. Charles hitched a ride to the nearest bus station in the San Quintin area, took the luxurious ABC bus back up to Tijuana, walked across the border and rode around on the extensive mass transit system in the San Diego area. Gregg and I met at Doug Hamilton’s house in San Jose late on Friday evening after work. Gregg added his gear to mine in Charles’ van and on Saturday we drove down to meet Charles. After failing to find a parking space near the border, Gregg and I asked Charles' advice about public transit. We took the trolly down to the border, walked across, bought tourist cards, walked back and took the trolly back to our hotel. The hotel was right on the beach in the town of Imperial Beach a few miles north of the border. Charles had arranged to leave his car in the hotel parking lot for two weeks. Now we had a car at each end and were free to start paddling.

All text and images Copyright © 2007 by Mike Higgins / contact