A whole lot of hiking

While in Isla Coronados, we decided to hike up the extinct volcano that lies at the center of the island.

We had read and heard it was a tough hike, but had no idea of what we were up against.

<This the third in a series of posts covering the 10 days-or-so we spent cruising the area between Puerto Escondido and Bahia Concepcion in Baja California. Click here to access the first post>

We had sufficient information to know the hike was challenging.

But it was one of those things. The extinct volcano was there, we happened to be there, there was the allure of the views from the top, and – heck – we wanted to prove ourselves.

Moreover, the stats of the hike weren’t all too bad: some 5 Miles (7km) up and down, and an elevation of 680 ft (200 Meters).

Debra (s/v Coastal Drifter) at the beginning of the trail
Debra (s/v Coastal Drifter) at the beginning of the trail
Which way ?!?
Which way ?!?

 

However, what makes it challenging is that it progressively increases in difficulty all the way to the top. At the beginning, you are walking on a neatly lined trail on flat terrain, going around the occasional bushes and scrubs. Then, there is at least 1 mile (1.6 Km) over a lava field. Here, you are basically walking on top of medium sized basalt rocks. They don’t move much, but are very irregular and sharp. And once you are through that part, already exhausted, you have the crater’s peak to climb – probably a 45-degree slope over lose gravel and silt.

The trail is very "civilized" at the beginning
The trail is very “civilized” at the beginning
But after some 30 minutes, it takes you over the lava field - another 1.5 hours walking on top of blazing-hot basalt rocks
But after some 30 minutes, it takes you over the lava field – another 1.5 hours walking on top of blazing-hot basalt rocks
From here on, the trail is marked by these cairns. Locating them is part of the challenge
From here on, the trail is marked by these cairns. Locating them is part of the challenge

 

But what compounds the difficulty is the blazing sun, particularly when you are crossing the lava field, and the heat radiates up from the black basalt rocks.

It took us more than 2 hours to get to the top, and another 2 to go down.

 

A quick stop for cooling down and hydrating up
A quick stop for cooling down and hydrating up
Paulo blazing the trail (pun intended)
Paulo blazing the trail (pun intended)
Cactus flowers
Cactus flowers

 

Luckily, our friends from s/v Adagio had warned about how challenging it is, and advised us to take a lot of water, which we obliged: we lugged over 3 gallons of drinking water, and by the time we were back, we’d drank it all!

The view from the top is indeed very beautiful and gratifying. It is also possible to tell the crater’s boundaries, though it is not as clearly defined as I expected.

On the way to the top. Phil and savannah yelled to us "it's just a few more meters"
On the way to the top. Phil and savannah yelled to us “it’s just a few more meters”
Adriana in the final ascent
Adriana in the final ascent
Commemorative group photo
Commemorative group photo
Phil enjoying his reward
Phil enjoying his reward
After all, that's what lured us there
After all, that’s what lured us there
And it was well worth it!
And it was well worth it!

What makes this hiking so special though is the challenge it represents. It is tough, it is not the kind of thing you look forward to doing again, but after you are done, there is the gratifying sense of accomplishment.

And in our case, there was the special perk of integrating the experience with homeschooling. Purposefully, we had been teaching geology to the kids, and we had them build a volcano as their science experiment after the Coronados hike.

We kept getting the hands dirty the next day, bringing the hiking experience into homeschooling
We kept getting the hands dirty the next day, bringing the hiking experience into homeschooling
Their challenge: craft a vocano
Their challenge: craft a volcano
Paulo took his duty seriously
Paulo took his duty seriously
The outcome. Here a proud Paulo and Raquel display their model in front of the real one.
The outcome. Here a proud Paulo and Raquel display their model in front of the real one.
The eruption ceremony was held at the palapa on the beach
The eruption ceremony was held at the palapa on the beach

 

Our friends from s/v Coastal Drifter joined in the eruption ceremony at the footsteps of the actual Coronados volcano and, like that, we had one fine afternoon, and had the opportunity to once again enjoy the achievement of having accomplished such a challenging hike.

Another beautiful sunset ... it's one after the other here on Baja ! (and we never get tired/used to them )
Another beautiful sunset … it’s one after the other here on Baja ! (and we never get tired/used to them )

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