by Natalina Vienna Haugwitz
I have always been a romantic at heart for as long as I can remember. Rosy sunsets, the sudden shower of autumn leaves blown by a violent wind, an uncared for garden overgrown with wild flowers and bushes, and even the reflection of the sky on silver-gray puddles in road pot holes easily sets my mind off into wandering amidst the folds of my imagination. Natural beauty it seems, has a strong hold over romantics such as myself.
The peninsula of Baja California in Mexico is a place I have been repeatedly told as a paradise on earth. It has almost every kind of picturesque landscape, from beaches of powdery golden-white sand, deserts carpeted with the most colorful species of flowering cacti and mountain ranges of towering magnificence. All of them so overwhelmingly beautiful as to reduce one into tears of awe. Having spent most of my childhood years in Austria where I have been born and raised just like my parents and my grandparents, beaches and deserts were sights I have only seen in magazines and on television. So when I was told that my family were to spend three weeks in Baja California during our summer vacation, I felt my heart will soon explode since the excitement I felt was too big to be contained in fist-sized vessel.
To my great dismay however, I found out that we were going to visit Baja municipality of Los Cabos. From what I have read in magazines and on the Internet, Los Cabos is a popular tourist destination. Crowds of gawking tourists dressed in shorts and Hawaiian shorts are sure to be found all over the place, something I wished not to see since I wanted to fully appreciate the natural wonders of Baja California in their natural, peaceful state. Nonetheless, a trip to the beach, however crowded that beach is, is a wonderful opportunity for someone like myself who has lived in a country almost always blanketed by a thick carpet of white snow.
But life is always full of surprises and I received the most pleasant sensation of surprise the first time I laid eyes on the indescribable natural wonder which is the Land’s End Arch. The locals call it El Arco or the Arch. The Arch of Land’s End is this monumental rock formation and to be sure, my attempt to describe such a breathtaking natural wonder would sure be failed by words right from the beginning yet I will attempt it nonetheless. Imagine a cliff of golds, yellows, oranges and reds extending through a beach of white sand and all the way through the water. Farther out to the waters is another mountain-like projection so that it appears as if two mountains are standing side-by-side between the beach and the waters. The part of the cliff situated on the beach forms a tall arch as if God has carved a gigantic doorway where the waters of the Pacific Ocean and the waters of the Sea of Cortez meets and marries. These two large bodies of water join together here at the Arch of Land’s End and the peninsula of Baja California ends where the arch is found.
All around the beach where Land’s End Arch is situated can be seen colonies of fat, shiny sea lions and seals lounging on the shores and the rocks and enjoying the warms of the sun. And all around the top of the arch can be seen little white specks which are pelicans and seagulls flying about and lending their songs and voices to the air.
Locals say that every four years, the water under the arch subsides revealing the beach and it becomes possible for people to walk under the arch. The last time this happened was on May 2005, the same month my family went to Los Cabos. Whether it was pure coincidence or luck that I was there when this happened I do not know, but I was most grateful to have the opportunity of walking along the beach and passing under such an amazing and large natural arch. It makes you feel very small and insignificant, as if you were an ant walking through a wide open door yet it was a great and awe inspiring feeling at the same time. That part of the trip was something I will keep in my mind and my heart for a very long time and I am willfully resolved to coming to Baja after four years has passed in order to walk under the Arc of Land’s End once again.