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Graham Mackintosh, Baja California Adventurer

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Graham Mackintosh and Friend

Graham Mackintosh and Friend

Graham Mackintosh once described himself as the least adventurous person in the world. Some 30 plus years later, he can look back on adventures that most people would never dream of.

Mackintosh was born in London in 1951 of a Scottish father (Inverness)and an Irish mother (Kilrush, Co. Clare), he grew up in Slough, Berkshire, and received a BA Hons degree in Sociology from the University of Leeds.

In 1983 he was a lecturer at a college in England teaching social sciences and special education to unemployed teenagers. Hoping to show his students that a shoestring expedition could be the adventure of a lifetime, Mackintosh, who described himself as the “least adventurous person in the world,” set out to walk around the beautiful but dangerous coastline of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

He was out to to show his students that “the adventure of a lifetime” could be enjoyed on a shoestring budget.

Two years later, he completed his 3.000 mile (4,800-kilometer) circumnavigation walk on foot around the entire coastline of Baja California. He wrote a book about his experience called Into a Desert Place and subsequently won an award for Adventurous Traveler of the Year.

It turned out that one adventure wasn’t enough for the unadventurous Mackintosh, who embarked upon another Baja expedition in 1997, walking 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers
down the mountainous interior of Baja California from the border all the way to Loreto. Journey with a Baja Burro, Mackintosh’s second book, tells the tale of the hike.

Two more books have followed: Nearer My Dog to Thee, the 2001 story of his four months with two street dogs in the Baja mountain range, Sierra San Pedro Mártir, and Marooned with Very Little Beer, which followed a two-month kayaking trip in the Sea of Cortéz, where he also hiked the island, Isla Angel de la Guarda.

Another adventure in 2013 hasn’t yet produced a book, but it is written up on Mackintosh’s website ( It was to be one of his biggest challenges — climbing 9,800 foot (3,000-meter)-high Picacho del Diablo, Baja California’s tallest mountain.

He admitted he wasn’t a climber, but allowed that he didn’t undertake such challenges without considering every possibility for things going wrong. Plus, a bit of tension and anxiety, he said, is a good thing.

“You really need a little fear, a little pressure to keep you focused and alert. But not too much that you feel overwhelmed.”

Mackintosh, who now resides in San Diego, California, says all his Baja adventure have begun with that uncomfortable tension, which turns into confidence as he settles into the trip.

He admitted that climbing Picacho del Diablo, or Devil’s Peak, might be beyond him. “But I will at least try and see what happens and be prepared to leave it for another day if necessary.”

As it turned out, he did have to leave it for another day after one of his climbing companions, aged 72, decided en route that he’d best not continue. Mackintosh notes that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination.

He should know, he’s seen a thing or two.

Mackintosh as written a couple of other great books about his adventures, and his bio, photos and all his books are available on his Amazon page.

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