MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 07



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A rest day between trip legs allows a land trip to Mission San Xavier in the mountains west of Loreto.




We had planned to spend only a half day in Loreto before leaving for the second part of the trip to the islands around Loreto. But the trip down from Bahia Conception had tired us out so we decided a day to regroup in Loreto would make the second part of the trip more enjoyable. Rick and Harding decided to spend the day in town lounging at the pool and walking about town. They also took on the task of rescheduling our camping reservations with the harbormaster. We anticipated problems there but all went very smoothly and efficiently.




Julio, Bob and I decided this quiet day provided a great opportunity to take a road trip into the mountains to see the other mission in the area, San Javier. For $90.00 each we hired the taxi once more to take us up ino the mountains for the day. We left at 9:00 AM and started up the steeply inclined dirt road to the mission. The Baja desert is incrediby dry. It had not rained here in over a year. But the wash spoke of the tremendous erosion that occurs in the flash floods when the sparse rains do come.

We stopped on the side of the road to look at a tree that poured its roots over the rock on the edge of a steep cliff. The roots followed the cracks in the rock, disappearing and reappearing as it sought small advantages in the harsh environment. They looked like they had been melted into the rock. We decided to call it the Dali tree.




Farther along the wash a small stream appeared. The small trickle of water collected in pools among the rocks. On the banks, date palms and rushes grew in abundance. In the presence of the life sustaining water, a lush and varied foliage flourished. Some sections of the stream were farmed as citrus farms with oranges, limes and other tropical fruit being grown using the precious water.

We stopped at a small parking lot and walked along the stream to see the rudimentary and faded pictographs on the underside of a cliff wall. The drawings had only recently been protected by a simple gate. Many of the pictures had already been removed by looters.




At the end of the road was the mission, the second mission of the Californias. We drove through the gates of the town and down a large cobble stone plaza. Town building were arrayed on each side of the street. A town meeting was being helded with citizens gathered around the town hall/police station. At the end of the plaza was the impressively large stone mission with a large bell tower. The bell was ringing and there was some sort of service in progress. The white stucco had long disappeared from all the walls of the Moorish looking mission except for the domes at the rear of the church. The entrance doors were ornately carved, particularly the one facing the cemetery.



In back of the mission was extensive irrigated fields. They used a series of earthworks and cisterns channeling and storing the water from the spring that was the source of the stream that we had followed up the mountain. Small plots of garlic and onions were protected from the wind by rows of citrus and large gnarled ancient olive trees.
We stopped in a small restaurant under an open thatched roof for a simple lunch of tortillas, beef and chesse. The open air resdtaurant was pleasant after the hot desert sun. We were well up in the mountains, 6000 feet I would guess, and although the air was cool the sun was strong. Yet it was definitely more pleasant than down on the coast. I am sure that in summer the mountains were a much more friendly place to be.

We loaded back up nto the taxi and began the trip[ back down the tortuous road. We could see remnants of the single lane road that used to be the only way up to the mission. Antonio's father used to drive gasoline trucks up the dubious looking road. When meeting another car, the car would have to back up for as much as several miles before finding a spot where the two vehicles could pass. We stopped at one curve to look out over Loreto and the Sea of Cortez beyond. The winding road snaked off in the distance.

There were wrecks in the ravines below several of the curves, another testament of the difficult driving conditions. We arrived back in Loreto safely. There Rick and Harding had had a good day lounging at the hotel. Rick had made another trip to a small store on the malecon to replenish his cigarette supply.

We went to bed early to be ready for the paddling for the next day. It took longer than usual to fall asleep because of the pulse of loud modern Latin music coming from a club several blocks away from the hotel. I was ready to get on with the second part of the trip.

On to Day 8................

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 08

The Sierra Giganta of the Baja peninsula form a spectacular backdrop to the azure Sea of Cortez from Danzante Island. We continue our trip with a day paddle for Julio and Bob and the start of the second part of our Mexican adventure for Rick and Hank.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 04

Our kayak trip continues from San Nicolas, past El Pulpito to the beautiful bay at San Juanico.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 10

Another calm day for our paddle back to Isla Danzante and then down to Candelero Chico where we spend the afternoon relaxing with snorkeling and playing in the shore rocks.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 06

Leaving our wind refuge at Boca San Bruno, a strong west wind keeps us tight against the shore as we paddle back to Loreto.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 09

From Isla Danzante, a short crossing brings us to Isla Carmen where we play tag with fin whales, 80 foot monsters of the Canal de Ballenas.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 01 - 18 miles

Launching from Playa Freson, we paddle up Bahia Conception, stopping at Isla Blanca. We arrive just short of our intended destination, Punta Conception.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 07

A rest day between trip legs allows a land trip to Mission San Xavier in the mountains west of Loreto.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 02

Leaving the shallow waters of Bahia Conception, we round Punta Conception, paddle into the Sea of Cortez and head south along the coast .

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 03

Fair winds provide and opportunity to try out my sail. We end the windy day high atop a sand dune.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Loreto - Day 11

From Candelero Chico we paddled 24 miles back to Loreto. The first half of the trip was flat calm. In the second half, a little tail wind makes the long mileage bearable.

MX - Sea of Cortez - 2006/03/15 to 2006/03/30 - Bahia Conception to Loreto - Day 05

Leaving San Juanico, the wind picks up to 20 to 25 knots ( Force 5) and we have a roller coaster ride down to San Bruno where problems with our chart leads to some interesting developments.


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