We arrived at The Wall after two blissful days longboarding waist high peelers at Alejandro’s. We potentially would not have left the sandy beaches and small, friendly campground of Alejandro’s had we not heard so much about the Wall. Our 1987 Toyota Dolphin could not quite make the coastal route, so we took the highway to an unmarked turn-off right after Km 60. We found about 5 miles of dirt road llena de cobblestones sticking straight up. It was slow going but finally we started to see other campers, 4x4’s and nice looking, lobby rights wrapping into the bahia.
After the tight camping scene at Alejandro’s, the Wall seemed pretty desolate. There is no protection, no dunes, just a long point covered in cobblestones backed by desert with camps spread throughout. There were about 30 people camped out, many of them in for the whole season. As we biked towards the point, we found extremely friendly people, and exquisite rockwork. There were several ovens, a full cobblestone patio, and this beautiful compass — all made of rocks gathered from the shore. One could tell that folks around here have plenty of time on their hands.
Our first evening there was my birthday! We got in the water at the bay for a sunset longboard session and scored a few lefts and a right. They were the usual mountains of water slowly approaching and then breaking into nice easy faces with space for a few turns. Erik and I shared a wave to shore and had a birthday high five just as the sun slipped away.
Night had fallen and it was time to get cooking. We had picked up 36 tortillas, still warm from the oven and made 100% de maiz for 10 pesos a few days earlier. This incredible deal had made most of our meals tacos — both made in our kitchen and sampled on the road — for the last few days. We had enjoyed Quesatacos, a flour tortilla grilled with cheese and filled with carne asada and avocado; al pastor, delightfully spiced meat shaved off of a spindle and wrapped in tortilla; y tacos de pescado, tacos full of freshly caught fish. In honor of my birthday we decided that it was high time we got our vegetables on for dinner.
Enter the Hobo Pack, a basic party trick that every camper should know. These packets of goodness can be made with an endless combination of ingredients and require very little clean up. Plus, they are made over the fire, which is always fun! Adding raw meat to the mix will give your Hobo pack a more robust flavor though I rarely have raw meat in the backcountry so mine tend to be veggie. You can even prep them in your home kitchen before you hit the trail and cut the clean up down to zero!
For my birthday hobo packs we used:
- 2 small russet potatoes
- ½ butternut squash
- 1 beet
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1 shallot, sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil per pack
- salt, cumin, oregano, cayenne
- Tin foil
- A camp fire
This recipe makes two hobo packs
1. Lay out 1-18 inch piece of aluminum foil per pack. Have your PIC (Partner in crime) start the fire so that the coals are ready when you are. Or start the fire yourself. Like a boss.
2. Cube potatoes. Peel and cube beet and butternut squash. Place equal portions on each piece of foil.
As a general rule, try to put the items that take longer to cook on the bottom so that they get more heat from the fire.
3. Add oil to each pack and mix around to make sure all veggies are coated
4. Add garlic, shallots salt, pepper and spices to taste. Mix spices around using your clean hands or a wooden spoon so that they all get a nice flavoring.
5. Close up your packs tightly. You want to make sure that they are securely closed so that no ash gets in, and yet are still easy to open and re-seal so that you can check for doneness. We recommend rolling and folding the top neatly.
6. Take your packs and toss them on the fire! If you’ve made a cooking fire and only have coals, then you are set, put the packs right on the coals seam side up. If you are partying and have a big fire, make sure to put your packs on the outskirts over coals, or even pull some coals to the side (still in the fire ring) to set up a little cooking zone.
7. Kick back! Have a nice philosophical discussion about the trees around you and how old you were when you first noticed that they sway and creak. Keep an eye on the packets and feel free to turn them about 90 degrees every 15 minutes or so for even cooking.
8. At 30 minutes, open up one of the packs and check for done-ness. You are looking for creamy potatoes, not just soft. By the end of the process, there should be crispy bits as well!
9. Once you decide that your food is ready, pull them from the fire (using tongs), crack them open and let cool for a few minutes. You can eat them right out of the pack on your lap around the fire though the bottom will be hot, so it is nice to put a plate underneath. It is crazy easy to clean a plate that has only had burnt tinfoil on it.
Part of the glory of the Hobo Pack is its simplicity and ease of clean up, but you can also roast vegetables (hearty ones) in this fashion as a side for a larger meal. If you do decide to add meat, its nice to put it on the top layer of your ingredients so that the fat runs over the veg as it all cooks, and the meat cooks most slowly.
We also Dutch Oven baked a chocolate cake for my birthday, which we put on too high heat. But the icing was right on point!
The next morning we woke to the same looking wrapping rights at the bahia and decided to check the point for a nice short board session. The waves looked fun, and the crowd was mellow so we paddled out. What a fun surf! The Wall was certainly not at its best, but we still got a bunch of fun, long rights. The drop was steep and a bit shifty, but the wave was not too heavy. It was a great session and afterward I finally felt surfed out after the last few days and had an easy afternoon. The next morning the winds were howling, so much that everyone took their tarps down and holed up in their cars. I am talking 30 mile and hour winds, not the 10mph that Surfline told us! Erik and I packed up the rig and headed to Guerrero Negro to see the whales. And we saw enough whales to make us feel high!