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Valley of the Giants
Located in the northern part of the Baja California Peninsula, between the wide sandy beaches north of the Sea of Cortes and the rustic desert and mountains of Sierra de San Pedro Martir, The San Felipe-Puertecitos tourist corridor is an area of unique beauty that offers endless possibilities either for adventure lovers or for those who just like to relax and watch long sunsets on the beach.
This route borrows its name from the site known as Valle de los Gigantes (Giantâs Valley) thus honoring the extraordinary and peculiar cacti (cardones) that grow as giants within this zone and that, in some way, have given Baja California its identity.
Located 15 Km south of downtown San Felipe and pretty close to the tourist camp Punta Estrella, Valle de los Gigantes is a must see site for San Felipe visitors. This places main tourist attraction is a huge amount of peculiar cacti known as cardones (Carnegia Gigantea), which are unique in the world and are native only to this area. This valley will marble you with its enigmatic atmosphere while you walk beside real Giants that have witnessed the passing of time, and that complement the desert view along with other plants within this area.
- Location: Km. 14 of highway Num. 5 San Felipe a Puertecitos, take the detour to the right side and travel 200 meters on the unpaved road.
- Tourist Attractions: Valle de Cardones Gigantes (Giant Cardones Valley, Carnegia Gigantea) wich is unique in the world.
Los Gigantes (The Giants)
From all the deserts plants species, the most impressive ones are undoubtedly the Cardones (Carnegeia Gigantea) which attract attention not just by their height and corpulence, but by their peculiar shape and centenary life.
The cardones are native of the desert of Baja California and Sonora. Their roots spread to a wide area of approximately 30 meters in order to trap as much amount of water as possible. After a short rainy season, the cardon is capable of absorbing several tons of water that will allow it to survive for years. This species is also known as a Sahuaro Gigantea.
The cardonas seed is no larger than 1 millimeter, however after the first year of development the plant will be six millimeters in height, and when it turns fifteen years old it will be 30 centimeters high, reaching two meters at the fiftieth year. However, it will not have its first twig until being seventy-five years old, which is the age when it will bloom and produce seeds for the first time. A grown (adult) cardon produces approximately 40 million seeds during its life, but it is possible that only one of them survives and reaches mature age.
The Cardon Cactus trunk
The middle of the cardon is a woody trunk that, along with its cylindrical stems (twelve or more) composed by woody elongated ridges. This gives it consistency and capability to contract and expand when storing great amounts of water through some corrugation folds. Likewise, its thick green skin performs the photosynthesis process and keeps humidity while the thorns discourage animals from stealing its water.
A shelter within the Desert
Eagles, owls, birds of prey and several species of wood peckers live on cardones. They make numberless holes on its trunks and twigs to nest or rest within them. This causes the cardones to heal its injuries with a healing tissue that stops the loss of water. In the past, native Indians used those squashâlike cavities as water pots; the woody elongated ridges which supported the huge weight of water-filled cardones have been use to build shelters and fences.
In 1992, the Mexican Government gave a Cardon specimen 17 meters in height, 10 tons of weight and an approximate age of more than 1500 years to the Spanish Government, with the purpose of being exhibited during the International Sevilla Expo 1992, carried out in the industrial, political, administrative, and service center in the region of Andalucoa, due to the 500 years of the discovery of America. Currently, this specimenes magnificence can still be admired, and it continues impressing all those persons who are lucky enough to watch it.
Source - Discoverbajacalifornia.com