Desert Dreaming in El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar

Published on Stranded on Land.

Past the little ranger station, driving on the main road, piles of geological wonders start popping up on the horizon while the dry bushes blur out your close up view. Saguaros parade alongside creating the most geometrically organized formations, while birds, rodents, and insects watch you pass by from their hidden nooks. You are on a surreal ride through multiple golden hours and beings. The heat of the midday finds forgiveness with the fall of the cool night.

Just a couple of hours south of the Mexicali border in Sonora, Mexico, stands a true natural marvel. One of the most distinctive landscapes in North America that can be viewed from outer space, The Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar is a desert for dreaming. Its vast biodiversity, active dunes, and the largest concentration of Maar craters in the world are the key characteristics that set this desert apart from others.

There is something very special, even magical, about a cared-for desert. There’s a reason why someone fought to protect to preserve this land; actually, there are many reasons. Walking back through history and even pre-history, El Gran Desierto de Altar, being a volcanic area, has been the epicenter of unbelievable energy shifts and literal outbursts. It has also been home to more diversity at a time than most places get to be during an era. People have walked across its deathly but giving stretches for hundreds of years as part of their nomadic routes, others in the search for treasures, scientific evidence, and even astronautical training. People have inhabited the land, giving it the respect it deserves, honoring its beautiful resources. Today we visit to stare in awe while being lucky to share the purified air with nature.