Part 2: San Quintin to Punta Canoas


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The Trip

We had a great night at the hotel and we all slept good being out of the rain and wind.  After breakfast in the hotel restaurant, we packed and headed out on the beach with the trucks.  Destination for the day: Punta Canoas to hook up with another San Diego unimog owner, Richard.  Along the way, we would see some very interesting scenery.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

We passed around the hotel and right out onto the beach.  From there, we headed east, then south along the coast.

We stopped for a photo opportunity.  The 1017A ran pretty well in the sand given that I was running about 27 psi of tire pressure.  I was reluctant to go too much lower due to risk of de-beading the multi-part rims.  But, before the trip was over, we were running at 20 psi and had no problems.

The beach was flanked by large dunes, preventing our escape until their end several kilometers to the southeast.

Matt tries one escape route, but in the end, elected to continue down the beach.  It turned out that we were able to exit the beach before the tide came in through a small village.  From there, we headed east to Mex 1, then south on the highway to El Rosario.

We made a diesel stop at El Rosario and then headed south again toward Punta Conoas.

South of El Rosario, the road travels along a high ridgeline, about 1500 feet above sea level.  From the ridge, we could see far to the east to snow covered peaks of one of the near-by ranges.  The previous day's storm had been cold enough to not only bring wind and rain, but snow to the slightly higher elevations.

The odd cactus are called cirios (AKA Boojum Tree) and they provided a striking contrast to the snow-covered hills in the distance.

At the crest of the ridge, at a point marked as "curva pelagrosa" (dangerous curve), we passed this big rig over the side.  The police were there as well as a pathetically small wrecker and a salvage truck.  I am sure that this accident happened during the storm the previous night.

The owners of the tank lines sent another truck to attempt to salvage the contents of the wrecked truck.  It was good for the driver that the load did not catch on fire as the tank holds propane.

Further south, back on the flats, I captured this photo of a lone cardon cactus.  The vegetation in this area is tightly linked to altitude.  The big cactus, cardons and cirios, primarily grow in a narrow band of 1500-2500 feet altitude.

We hit the turnoff for Punta Conoas and then turned west on the dirt.  Along the way, I got the shot above during a bio-break.

The cirios are unique and can grow to 30-60 feet in height.

The previous day's rain had left the trail soft and muddy and we were bringing much of it along with us.

South of our position we could see cardons, cirios and Old Father cactus.

The Old Father cactus have dense spines at the growing end of the stalk and almost no spines on the shaft.  The spines look like hair, but are very sharp and cruel.

Our trail took us through large stands of cardon cactus.  As a consolation prize for the heavy rains and mud, the road had been graded only a few days prior, making the path pretty smooth.

We found a spot for lunch and made sandwiches and had a few beers.

Despite the rains, the recent grading made for a pretty easy passage on this portion of the trail.

We passed through several areas of dense desert vegetation.

The cirios looked pretty happy and I am sure that the recent rains would make them even happier.  Each of the small side shoots on the cactus have ugly thorns to discourage the animals from eating the stalk.

We finally made it to Punta Canoas and found Richard in his G-wagon watching our approach from the top of a hill.  We drove up to meet him.

The crest of the hill required a tight turn-around, so I left the 1017 at the bottom of the grade.

Nearby, there was a reasonable stand of datillo cactus.  These cactus are very similar to the familiar Joshua Tree cactus.

From the top of the hill overlooking Punta Canoas we had a commanding view to the south.

The view north was equally as impressive and we could hear the waves crashing on the shore.

Richard showed us a path that led down the cliffs to the beach below.  The trail went through a narrow canyon that required careful driving.

A group shot with the cliffs of Punta Canoas in the background.

We could not stay on the beach as the tide brings the waves to the edge of the cliff.  Since the wind was still blowing hard, we retreated a short distance inland to find a camp site.

Richard had cooking duty and he made us lamb stew with Guiness beer.  For dessert in the desert, we had whiskey and chocolate.

The trail to Punta Canoas was easy and wide.  The recent grading made the passage quite comfortable and the stands of cactus near the road kept things interesting.  The camp site we selected was more sheltered than the point, but only in a relative sense.  The wind continued most of the night keeping things cold.

Tomorrow, we head down the coast to the south.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2011, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.