I'm back in Baja! And it feels fantastic. It's been about 5 years since I was last down here working on the Sea Lion and Sea Bird and I have sorely missed its incredible wildlife, stunning sunsets, and clear blue waters that light up with bioluminescence at night. It is such a special place. And Baja is actually where I started my career at sea over 10 years ago. I had just finished college in upstate New York, bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii and was living on Maui when I came across a full page ad for Lindblad Expeditions in a National Geographic magazine. I applied online for a steward position and two weeks later I was flying down to La Paz, Baja to meet the Sea Lion. Little did I know that 10 years later I'd still be coming to work in this magical place.
But let's back up a bit, because a lot has happened over the last few weeks leading up to my latest contract on the ship.
Prior to landing in Mexico 8 or so hours ago, I woke up to a very snowy morning in Flagstaff, Arizona after a week of amazing mountain biking in Sedona. Adam (my mountain biking guru/boyfriend/I don't know what's happening because I travel too much) and I had driven up there from Sedona the night before so that I could catch an early morning flight to Mexico, which thankfully took off despite an hours delay and wicked winter conditions.
I’ll be posting a more detailed guide to our Sedona mountain biking adventure soon, but for now I can assure you that it was an epic week of mountain biking fun with two other friends - Rachel and Stephen. The weather was perfect, not too hot or cold, the trails weren't overly crowded despite it being spring break week, the views were absolutely stunning, no one incurred major injuries (although my shins are pretty shredded due to the fact that I switched from clipless petals to flats about three weeks ago) and there were plenty of laughs and good food. This was my second mountain biking destination trip with this crew (read about my first one here) and it most definitely won't be the last. I am hooked.
In all, over five full days in Sedona we rode 80+ miles of singletrack and tackled some pretty hairy stuff. Hangover Trail is probably the hardest trail I've ridden to date with its narrow, semi-exposed track that runs along a cliff face and under low rocky overhangs (hence the name Hangover) and its super steep rock gardens and rock slabs. I cleaned about 80% of in. Hiline was another tough trail that we rode. It has one section that I kind of get shivers just thinking about. I rode half of it solidly and rode the other half of it very unsolidly. Next year I'll have another go at it, but for now let's just say that I was glad I had finally upgraded to a breakaway mips helmet.
Our other days in Sedona were filled with fun link-ups that had us huffing and puffing up challenging climbs and whooping and hollering down sweeping descents. We rode dozens of amazing miles with stunning views and I'll be posting a Sedona Mountain Biking Guide with more details soon! For now, here are some shots of the trip.
Going back in time even further though, before Adam and I got to Sedona, we stopped to ride in Las Vegas (Good Call to Legalize It to Menny Thanks) and then Kingman, Arizona (Beale to Castle Rock Connecter to Badger as a shuttle). It's a nine hour drive from Bishop, California to Sedona, so it was nice to break the trip up a bit with a few fun rides along the way. I even tackled my largest drop yet and while it wasn't as smooth as I'd like, I didn't crash which is always a plus! The photo below doesn't do it justice, but trust me, it was a good sized drop. Adam, on the other hand, took on an even bigger challenge - clearing a three-tiered rock drop and while he did it quite beautifully his rear tire landed on a sharp rock and he blew out his tire.
All-in-all, we did seven straight days of legit mountain biking.
I'm a tired puppy.
And now I get relax/work in beautiful Baja Mexico for the next four weeks :)