Punta Pulpito – May 2020

After having seen the 145-meter Punta Pulpito from a distance for the past 6 weeks, we decided to motor up there for a couple of days for a change in scenery.  Punta Pulpito is an obsidian dome formed from volcanic activity that occurred 500,000 years ago.  The area is still active as there are nearby hydrothermal springs at Saquicismunde.  Interestingly enough, while writing the blog, I did discover the whole headland area is for sale and zoned for an eco-lodge, anyone interested?

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After anchoring, Tristan and Andrew went off to explore the coastline for fishing opportunities; unfortunately, the water was greener and colder than San Juanico so it was a little difficult to even see the fish.

Andrew and I took the dinghy around the headland to explore the sea cave.  The sea cave, while quite large, does require your patience while timing your entrance to coincide with the waves and maneuver through without snagging on the rocks.  After going through the sea cave we dinghied close to see the obsidian vein.  We decided it would be quite challenging to reach the base of the obsidian vein and were quite happy to view it from afar.

Sea Cave at Punta Pulpito

Some of the unusual rock formations around the point

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Obsidian Vein

After returning to the boat we waited for the sun to drop a bit before embarking on the Pulpito trail, with Andrew as my hiking partner. It is quite a challenge to reach shore as there is no beach; the only way to get there was for Max and Tristan to drive the dinghy close to the shoreline and then row to the closest boulder where Andrew and I clambered out.

After reaching shore we followed the dirt road until we reached a trail that branched off from it, along which we could head up the hill.  We no sooner reached the trail then started spotting pieces of obsidian scattered over the sand.  I collected some pieces for the kids and Tristan has plans to make a necklace out of one.  There were small collections of shells, maybe middens, and operculum.  After seeing all the obsidian, I did a bit of research on the legend of them from the First People, called ‘Apache Tears’. 

Shell midden and operculum

Apache Tears

 The legend is that after the Pinal Apaches had made several raids on a settlement in Arizona, the military tracked them and waited for dawn to attack.   50 of the 75 Apaches were killed and the remaining 25 retreated to a cliff’s edge where they chose to leap to their deaths rather than face the military.

The apache women gathered at the cliff bottom to mourne not only the warriors but also the loss of Pinal Apache’s fighting spirit.  The ‘Great Father’ believed the women’s sorrow was so great that he embedded their tears into the obsidian stone.  It is said that the owner of an obsidian stone will never shed a tear as the Apache woman had shed their tears in your place. (First People, ND)

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Obsidian (Apache Tears)

The hike uphill offers spectacular views of the anchorage on one side and on the other a sole ranch house.  Parts of the trail are narrow with steep dropoffs on either side which would result in certain death if you misjudge your step.  We reached the summit and while there was another path to another headline, Andrew was insistent it was a goat trail, but I think he was worried I would step off to my death. Even forgoing the detour, though, the view from the top was amazing.

The hike back down was relatively fast and unlike the ridge hikes we have done, where it is very easy to lose your footing with the gravel, the trail felt very secure.  We got down just in time to make back to the boat before dark.  The hike took about an hour to get up and 30 minutes to get down. 

I had hoped to take Tristan with me in the morning to get some photos with the sun in a better direction but we needed to head south due to the wind; next time.

First People (ND). Apache Tear Drop. Available at: https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Apache_Tear_Drop-Apache.html, Accessed on 26 May 2020

2 thoughts on “Punta Pulpito – May 2020

  1. Love hearing your adventures as always!!! I have seen many Apache tears in Arizona when my grandparents would winter there from Chicago. We would go mining for the Apache tears as young kids, same exact story that you had told!! Enjoy the hikes 😊


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