That evening we reached Rancho Los Girasoles, a small ranch owned by Jesus María and María Luisa. They had had to relocate their home twice, due to flooding in the canyon, but were still trying to make ends meet. An unseasonably dry period had now left them having to buy in feed for their few cows, so they were taking any opportunities possible to generate income by offering camping for cyclists and basic supplies. Jesus María was delightful and clearly enjoyed the company, helping me mend the fly of our tent, which the cat at the Casa de Ciclistas had put its claws through. The next morning, over breakfast, we were able to watch María Luisa making tortillas from scratch. She was clearly an expert, in fact she had regularly worked at a local tortilla producer, so not only was it an honour to witness the skill with which she crafted them, but the end products were exceptionally good. We must have easily polished off a dozen, along with tasty refried beans!
The next day was hard work – the sun was pretty scorching and the terrain made for slow progress. It was generally either sandy tracks or big round stones on the river bed. Our 3″ wide tyres once again played their part though and at least made progress possible. Given that it was knocking on summer, the river crossings were more like puddle crossings on the whole, although late in the afternoon we finally came across a much larger section that offered up a chance for a dip to cool off…
We managed to finish off most of the stream crossings and climb a little out of the canyon to camp that evening, just before the highpoint of Cerro San Miguel. Weary but elated, we watched a lovely sunset.
The next morning, we woke to the delightful sound of a hummingbird around the tent, buzzing from tree to tree, feeding on little red flowers, before coming over to investigate all the bright colours of our bikes. It hovered little more than two metres in front of us whilst we were having breakfast.
That morning, we finished off what little ascending we had left and then descended through a clearly storm-affected gorge before emerging onto a dusty and hot dried river bed leading to the coast. By mid-afternoon, however, green came into view and we were soon rolling amongst leafy orchards and palm trees as we arrived at the seaside freshwater oasis of Mulegé.