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The Pack Family Journal is a place where we gather text and images of our lives, adventures and travels. This is a very personal site, written openly and honestly. Enjoy.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Baja Walk 2012

The Baja Walk 2012
On May 12 of 2012, John and Rachel Pack embarked on the journey of their lives. The Baja Walk 2012 was a great adventure that you never would expected. The rugged terrain, the harsh weather, the unexpected hardships – they contributed to an outcome neither of them could have ever anticipated. The most astonishing occurrence was related to John’s health. Even though he had always been an avid hiker, he was caught by surprise when the injuries made by the car accident he had in his 20s came back to him. This was caused by his heavy 80 lbs. backpack which was later on replaced with a cart.

=== The Baja Walk 2012 Book is coming soon! ===
Walk Away Cancer - Join the Baja Cancer Walk 100

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BajaWalk

Baja Walk Training
San Felipe to Coco’s Corner
Chapala to Punta Prieta
Punta Prieta to Guerrero Negro
Guerrero Negro to Vizcaino
Vizcaino to San Ignacio
El Datil to El Triunfo
The Last 200 miles
Road Home

The cart helped, but it was a mixed blessing because it was hardly suitable for off-road travel or hot asphalt. The cart needed a lot of maintenance, and in time it used eleven tires and four sets of wheel bearings. Though the walkers could not have managed to finish the journey by carrying backpacks, the cart turned out to be a weak point.

Strenuous experiences usually produce many changes in one’s outlook upon life, and John and Rachel are not an exception. The walk made them understand that nothing should be taken for granted, most importantly, their very existence. In fact, nothing can summarize their new perspective better than their saying “The bad makes the good better”.

Indeed, during the entire adventure, the good and the bad traveled side by side with them. The bad – winning a battle, but never the whole war. The good – struggling to keep the bad in check and helping the hikers push forward.

The journey had many beautiful moments, and one of the highlights was the arrival to San Juanico. The local school’s children secretly prepared a warm welcoming with ovations and chants. Also, many episodes of the adventure were marked by the unconditioned generosity of Mexicans they met along the way.

The 31 miles to La Paz were by far the most arduous part of the journey. The sun, the barbed wire, and the terrain unwittingly joined forces to turn the hike into an ordeal. In the scorching heat, John and Rachel furiously questioned everything in their lives, including the Baja Walk. In the vastness of the desert, the cart seemed to be the only thing which continued to keep them attached to each other. They spent the evening on the porch of a small restaurant at Km. 35 below a large religious shrine picking up the pieces of the day.

Good or bad, the days continued to go by. As difficulties came about, they literally took them in their stride, trying to stay focused on their goals. Miraculously, they kept going against all odds, mainly because they wanted to keep their commitment to their families, friends, and the charities. The prospect of having a cold Pacifico in the next town turned out to be an exceptionally motivating factor.

Above all, the whole experience showed to John and Rachel that they can truly do everything they have in mind. Physical limitations or unfortunate events can be overcome if you have the right attitude. They also learned that together they are strong enough to achieve feats which would be unattainable if done independently. In the middle of the desert, in areas without vegetation or shade, and in 100+ temperatures, the company they offered to each other was by far the most beautiful gift in the world.

They made their first steps with some goals in mind, but the outcome was somewhat different. While they succeeded in raising awareness about many charities, Loreto was left out due to the route change. According to the original plan, Loreto was included, but in the end, this became impossible given the equipment problems and the itinerary. In addition, their dog Cai was sent home to San Felipe from Gonzaga Bay because of the unexpected weather difficulties..

John and Rachel want people to bear in mind that everything was done for the charities of Baja. Their journey is an invitation to get involved as much as possible in the community in order to alleviate the suffering of the underprivileged. Of course, they understand that some people cannot travel 800 miles by foot, but there are other ways to help. Walk Away Cancer - Join the Baja Cancer Walk 100

Since the Baja Walk 2012 has ended, it is now time for a new beginning. John and Rachel have just got home, and they are already thinking about other expeditions. In the future, they thought about following the initial route on mountain bikes (ranch roads and country trails while avoiding pavement and highways) or put their sailing skills to the test by traveling the length of the Sea of Cortez with a Hobie Cat.

Indeed, this end is a beginning; in John’s words, “Baja is the land of adventure; we talk about it, write about it, we want to live it and experience it. The walk has given us the courage and the desire to do it all.”

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