New Years Day 2017 at Bahía Las Animas.
A final look at the Las Animas Bay, heading south.
It was raining but the sun gave me a rainbow!
The Las Animas road is an unimproved track between the cacti.
The ‘mystery wall’ is just below the ridgeline on this hill, two miles from Las Animas fish camp. Choral Pepper and others with Earle Stanley Gardner discovered this in 1966. Choral researched Jesuit archives and concluded this was an abandoned mission project shown on a 1757 map and called Santa María Magdalena. See my trip report going to the mystery wall: vivabaja.com/109
The scenery alone is worth the drive!
South of the Las Animas junction, the road nears the coast at Boca Grande, a mudflat notorious for swallowing 4x4s!
The shore of Bahía San Rafael, a mile north of Pancho’s place.
My Tacoma is right at home in Baja California, where it was built (Toyota de Baja California).
The view north from Pancho’s at Bahía San Rafael. Pancho died just over a year after my 2017 visit.
Me and Pancho on a previous visit, in September 2016.
Pancho’s place, offering cold drinks, tacos, and tire repairs. He was an extremely hospitable man and always gave gifts of shells to the ladies and children. Pancho was extremely ill and fortunately, could be taken to a doctor in L.A. Bay who advised he be taken to the hospital at Guerrero Negro. He did not make it. The belief is he ate a puffer fish… the wrong part. Pancho will be greatly missed.
Adios Pancho as you go from one kind of heaven to another
South from Pancho’s then east on the good, graded road to Punta San Francisquito.
The bay at Puerto San Francisquito, Beto’s place.
Beautiful little bay and beach. Beto offers camping and a house rental is available . http://www.puertosf.com
Just to the south of Beto’s is the old fly-in resort of Punta San Francisquito. Sadly, the resort is very run-down.
The beach faces south and it is excellent. Perhaps someday the resort will be spruced up again?
A sideroad goes north to the south shore of Bahía San Rafael.
What will I find on this dirt road?
A beautiful beach? Yes, that is the magic of Baja: dirt roads take you to the best places.
I camped here and this was the next morning.
Islands in the gulf.
Driving out, I spotted fossilized sand dollars, inland and many feet above the current sea level.
Guest cabins at Rancho Escondido.
Rancho Escondido was closed both times I visited in 2017 (January and June). Their Facebook page shows them open other times? www.facebook.com/ranchoescondidobc The road past the ranch goes to the village of El Barril. I visited it in June, so see the June 2017 (Trip #5) page for more on there.
Driving back north to Bahía de los Angeles is this one, long grade.
The old road north junctions here. It is rarely used and may be hard to even find in some areas after flash floods. Rancho La Bocana is off the road, in a canyon. Some maps call it Rancho San Pedro.
Nearing Pancho’s Bahía San Rafael driveway, from the south.
The little road to the Tramline and Railroad Terminal is mostly used by motorbikes and ATVs.
Seeing a 125-year-old railroad bed in the Baja desert is remarkably interesting to me. I wrote about it: A Desert Railroad
The railroad is curving around to the terminal platform.
The terminal platform is where the tramline ore buckets dropped their load into the train carts.
Heading back to my truck.
The view to L.A. Bay from the railroad.
Almost to my truck… See it through the brush? The railroad bed is covered by sand where it crosses the road making it extremely hard to find. More on the mine, railroad, Las Flores, and map: From Bajabound
Leaving L.A. Bay is not an easy thing to want to do.
Some of the tallest boojum trees (cirios) are along the L.A. Bay highway.
Elephant trees are another interesting Baja-only plant .
In January 2017, building Highway 5 through the canyon, northeast of Laguna Chapala. The highway was finished three years later, after 13 years since the project began at Puertecitos, 76 miles north of Laguna Chapala.
On the way home, I stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant and bumped into Off-Road Racing Legend, Ivan Stewart. Ivan also helped Toyota develop the TRD Tacoma like the one I drive. I gave Ivan a copy of my book.
Thanks for joining me! Trip #2 will be coming soon! https://vivabaja.com