Saturday, March 8, 2008

El Faro (The Lighthouse) 3.8.08

This lighthouse sits atop Cerro Creston, Mazatlan's highest hill. There is a dirt path and then 300 plus steps. The El Faro Lighthouse in Mazatlan is considered the second highest natural lighthouse in the world, after Gibraltar, although it is no longer in use.

We started near the sport fishing fleets in the old harbor, Boats anchor in the old harbor at no charge, and pay 30 pesos ($3) to land at the dinghy dock, which also includes shower facility.

Unfortunately you begin the hike at the site of the water treatment plant in Mazatlan, giving off a very unpleasant odor. Luckily though, you only endure the foul smell for a couple minutes as the ascent is quite quick. The incredible view of the entire Mazatlan area is well worth the challenging hike up the hill, which is 515 feet above sea level. Mazatlán's lighthouse (El Faro) began to shine by mid-1879. The lamp had been handcrafted in Paris, containing a big oil lamp with mirrors and a Fresnel lens to enhance the light. Since the light was static, in the distance it was often mistaken as a star. By 1905 this lamp was converted to a revolving lamp. Today, the 1000 watt bulb can be seen from 30 nautical miles (60 km).
During the hike, we saw some kittens, unusual trees in the mountain,

& even an iguana.

There were only a few other people on the trail and many were using it as their exercise for the day, running up the stairs. Once at the top, we gazed at the spectacular view and chatted with the guard inside. Here are a couple pics of the view...

We had rested up and were ready to leave when the guard hollered at us “Amigos!! Mira!” Mira means ‘to look’… and he was pointing up to the top of the lighthouse. We were allowed to go INSIDE the lighthouse!! It was incredibly cool – there were some rickety stairs & a spiral staircase we had to traverse, ducking the entire time to get inside & once inside, there was barely room to move. The light was out as it’s only lit at night and the guy had stopped the radars that surround the lighthouse (thankfully!). The lens was magnificent and I tried to get pictures to show the detail & how thick they are. It was so impressive. We gave him a granola bar & chatted as much as we could when we came back down & then headed back down the hill.

Here's a picture of Anne & Jeff over looking the old harbor...
More to follow!


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