EDITOR NOTE: Baja state officials are stepping up their game to obtain internationally recognized certifications for hiking trails. The trail can become certified with better trail markings, maps and easier online access. Just in time to become social again, with nature.
Laid off from her job as a dialysis tech during the pandemic, Mexicali resident Beatriz Ojeda felt like she could not take another day alone in her home.
“I’ve been struggling to get out of bed,” said Ojeda, 45. She’s been depressed, “to the point that I never would have thought I could get like this — because before the pandemic I had always been so happy.”
So when a friend invited her to take a hike, Ojeda took her up on it, just so she could get out of the house.
She has company. Baja Californians have been turning to the remote, natural wonders of the state, whether they seek the isolated white-sand beaches and natural pools of Bahía de los Angeles or one of the state’s recently snow-dusted mountain ranges.
It’s a trend Mexico and Baja California officials have embraced by certifying certain trails — installing maps at trailheads, gathering information online for hikers, and placing signs throughout those trails to let users know if they are on the right path.
Baja California has the most certified, marked hikes of any state in Mexico, according to state officials, with 12 certified trails, from the national park Sierra de San Pedro Mártir in Ensenada to Rosarito to Mexicali.
The state is also in the process of certifying what will be the longest hike in Latin America, running 68 miles across the state and along the ocean all the way to Baja California Sur.
State officials have recently partnered with the company Baliza México to certify its hiking trails according to an internationally accepted system they say makes them safer and easier to navigate and enjoy.
“People want to escape the day-to-day,” said Mónica Véjar, executive director of Baliza México. “If we add in the pandemic, people have had even more to deal with, and they are looking for that escape.”
Originally posted on: The San Diego Union Tribune.