1. 15/18. A thumbs-up would be the expected hand gesture of choice from Reid Casner. Walking back to camp from the shoulder-high rights filtering over the cobblestone reef, Reid smirks as he totes the Mike Hynson board he had borrowed for the session. His left arm comes up to his chest where he flips a defiant middle-finger mid-stride. The display is universally understood. The grin removes all negative sentiment. What is not captured is the short, controlled “Hagh!” he lets out as he passes by. Keep walking. 

  2. Up on the Skree from André Rober Beriau on Vimeo.

    Hiking up Mount Washington in Gorham, NH. We pitched camp below the tree line late in the afternoon and set out early the following morning. Kyle was tasked with filming a commercial for Hennessy Hammocks. I took my little Canon point and shoot for fun. Thank you.

  3. 14/18. From the edge of the cliff, the only place to go is down. Or out. There are a few islands west, southwest, or northwest of here. Otherwise, it’s straight out to the horizon line. When that spot is met, there is still, another horizon to chase. It would seem endless if it weren’t for maps, satellites, and televisions. To some people along the more remote stretches of Baja, and the fishermen who captain the pangas, it is possible that the world stops at that line, where the Earth has a slight bend to it. Only Jacques Beriau knows for certain what he is thinking about the lines that are reeling in from the west. Here, in Baja, there is time to wonder about all these simplicities. 

  4. 13/18. John Steinbeck spent time logging aquatic life on the other side of this peninsula 62 years ago. He published his, and Ed Ricketts’, findings in two concise texts that documented the six-weeks spent researching the Sea of Cortez for marine species. Eamon Rubira turns over rocks in the tidal pools along the Pacific Coast of Baja. Barnacles, sea anemones, and bait fish exist on what lingers long after the tide has receded. Tank tops and four-way stretch board shorts may not have been the clothing of choice for Steinbeck, though aside from the aesthetic differences, the curiosity that he sailed with remains a staple of the spirit that drives Eamon to bring what is learned in Baja, back to his classroom in San Diego. 

  5. 12/18. Weather-smoothed limestone cliffs fall to a gradual transition between land, beach, and ocean. At forty-five degrees, the uneven surface reclines to a comfortable seat on the sand. Cobblestones line the shore, forming small tide pools where baitfish and crabs battle for what other microscopic food sources have washed in on the last high tide. Jacques rests on the outer edge of a lean-to style cavern that tucks into a pocket on an overhang. Though the air is closer to the 80’s, the cool ocean temperature and the wind make it cooler than expected considering Baja’s southern location and desert landscape. The tide will be up in a few hours, and with it will come the picked over carcasses of seals, albatrosses, and other sea life. In time, they too will form into fossils that pack the thick layers of sand covering the coast. August 2013

  6. 11/18. Dust lifts off the soles of their feet. Western blowing wind carries the faint grains towards the Pacific Ocean. Almost a decade ago, they packed what they owned and drove across the States. They didn’t all come at once, though they came together. Two teachers, a marketer, a mason, and a writer. At twenty-two - or twenty-three - they were trying to figure out what to next. Under cloudless Baja skies and over the arid land of its desert sands, they meet to wish the first one to be married off well as he takes a new step. The stark landscape of Baja eliminates the distractors of mainstream America from interfering with a proper well-wishing. No phones. No e-mails. No internet. No worries about the future. The present is focus. The focus is the present. 

  7. 10/18. Do not close the door. Cracks of light passing through the misshaped boards will not provide enough visibility to spot scorpions, black widows, severely dehydrated urine, or the chunk of feces that someone air-dropped and failed to give a proper burial. There is a chance none of these threats are present, but there is also Murphy’s Law. This far into Baja, and eight miles to U.S. Highway 1, Murphy is the last person to cross paths with. Some so desperately choose to avoid this law that they’ll keep the door wide open, shorts around their ankles. Whatever can go wrong, will go terrible wrong. At least Fletch is alive. August 2013

  8. 9/18. Over exposed above the horizon, Reid and Carter get little coverage elsewhere. They surf with distinct style. Reid’s harkens back to the days when surfers rode the waves. Carter’s reflects the “surf the board not the wave” mentality, regardless, both surf with quiet understanding. Their personalities reflected in how they ride and not what they ride. Above the cliffs, they break character. Carter blasts out a shaka, Reid a few devil horns. It is good to catch them in a moment like this - when they’re not offering sage perspectives or well-traveled advice. Two brothers, at the edge of the solid world. Relaxing. 

  9. 8/18. Sitting. It becomes one of the better pastimes in the desert. “That rock?” is a close second. When it is flat, or the tides have changed, or the direction is a little off, or bodies are tired, or any other excuse, sitting takes precedence. If there is a trickle of swell, there is someone down below to watch. An afternoon in the chair can be entertaining. A walk to the van. A trek to the bathroom. A book to read. Actually, sitting around in the chairs is exhausting - mentally. It is the worst way to pass time in Baja. Trails run up to the tops of the hills. Ladders or ropes descend onto the rocky coastline below. Sitting does not last long. There is too much to be missed from the window of the cliffs. Moments like this exist mostly after dark, around a fire where dried stems of agave plants are dragged over the coals to send scorpions hissing towards safety. There is always something to do.  

  10. 7/18. One hundred years ago, San Diego and Southern California reflected a similar landscape. Caravans and covered wagons would have taken the place of panel vans then. Removing the modern amenities of gasoline, packaged foods, and electric lights, there is little that has changed geographically in Baja, Mexico. Wind still blows hard after the land becomes warmer than the ocean, the sun still burns bright throughout the day, coyotes still threaten the quiet of the nights with their blood-curdling howl, and the freedom of commitment still feels as palpable. The desert cloaked coastline of Baja honors what Southern California could have been if it weren’t for the development-hungry entrepreneurs who sought to turn the barren hills into endless-summer enclaves of respite from the hard won trek across America. The drive over the border has become as routine for Americans as changing an address, yet the wild pleasures on the other side remains to be changed.