I am happy to share with all of you a new El Camino Real hiking and exploring web-map. It is the product of many years work and finding the true mission road between Loreto and El Rosario using historical data and actual, on the ground research. I was introduced to these folks by Trudi Angell and for the past few months have followed and discussed the web page map with Kevin. Here is the website: Camino Real Baja
It is new and may undergo some revisions, just click on the menu items and the map is the section called Waypoints. It opens up in Google Earth and you may need to spread the timeline pointers apart for the thousands of waypoints to open up. Just zoom in and explore from above!
North of San Borja, the Jesuits had not had time to build the typical road to Calamajué and Santa María as they were removed from the New World the following year. The Franciscans and Dominicans who replaced the Jesuits did not have an interest or mandate to construct the roads to the same skill or degree as had the Jesuits. The ECR north of San Borja to El Rosario resembles little more than a cattle trail (if it can be seen at all) with a few exceptions.
Here is their story:
We are Genevieve Mattar and Kevin Branscum. We met in South America while she was guiding fellow Canadians to the ruins of the Andes and the forests of the Amazon. He was an American seeking adventure in the Andes. This was long before we began to explore El Camino Real. Since then, we have been teamed up, both seeking adventure around the world. We have traveled to many places and have had incredible experiences, but the place that keeps drawing us back time and again is Baja, Mexico – more specifically, to explore El Camino Real. This is the mission trail that leads from Loreto in Baja Súr, Mexico to all of the Californias. They include Baja Súr, Baja, and Alta California which is better known as the state of California.
We first became interested in the old mission trail in the year 2000 while visiting the rock art of the Sierra de San Francisco. When we came across a trail that had a different look from the one we were following, we asked our local guide about it. He replied, “That is the old mission trail, el camino antiguo de los misioneros”. It headed south up and over a distant pass, and in the other direction followed the valley we were in, traveling northward.
The mystery of that trail, combined with the history of it and the beauty of its surroundings, had us hooked. For the past 18 years, we have returned to explore El Camino Real, finding more and more pieces of the trail. Our goal was, and still is, to accurately fix its exact position and then share it with you. We feel that this is the only way we can help keep this fantastic trail alive.