Spring break in our school district started on March 30. Last year, my son went with ‘Amo Pescar’ and me to Baja, (see http://vivabaja.com/401). This year, my 11 year old daughter Sarah wanted to go to Baja… I couldn’t say no (I wanted to go, too)! I still had a lost mission to find and a desire to see the ‘other’ end of the Las Flores railroad.
The beach at Camp Gecko, Bahia de los Angeles.
Travelpearl (aka Debra) and Paulina ride over to our camp to visit Sarah and me.
We drove around the bay from Gecko to ‘Rincon’, Sammi Diaz’ property for vacation homes. Note the vulture warming its wings in the morning sun.
The end of the road at the El Toro Copper Mine. Located about 7 miles northwest of La Gringa (north end of Bahia de los Angeles), GPS: 29°5.87′, -113°35.82′ (WGS84).
Copper deposits are the green rocks near the top of the mountain.
The next day, we traveled the seldom used east/west road between Valle La Bocana and Valle San Rafael in search of the lost mission site, Santa Maria Magdalena…. It is still lost!
What we were looking for… an ancient wall, stone piles, and native sleeping circles, as shown in these photos from a 1966 Desert Magazine story by Choral Pepper. The site was discovered by the Erle Stanley Gardner expedition.
The old Erle Stanley Gardner road soon joined the new graded road to San Francisquito where we turned north and passed by Bahia San Rafael. Two American kayakers on a wilderness adventure were there (far left and right). David K and Pancho in the center.
Las Flores Railroad 1895-1910
The next day, Doc (Dr. Abraham Vazquez) and I followed the Las Flores railroad bed five miles to its terminal. There, over two million dollars in gold and silver ore was loaded.
The well built elevated railroad bed curves to the terminal.
San Juan Tram / Las Flores RR Terminal Platform
Where the ore buckets dumped into the train cars. The giant turn-around wheel for the 2.5 mile wire rope tram was where Doc is now standing. This large stone platform is not visible from the Jeep trail. Park near 28°44.45′, -113°32.81′ and walk north.
Abraham (‘Doc’) and David K Apr. 3, 2002
On the mule trail to the San Juan Mines, where the overhead tram replaced the deadly mule trail in 1894. Timbers lay about, see the one behind us.
Some of the 2.5 mile wire rope that brought the ore down 4,000 feet in elevation from the mines to the railroad.
One of the ore buckets from the wire rope tram. Mining all but stopped by the revolution of 1911.
Doc rushes quickly to my camp and announces Jesus Flores is riding by Camp Gecko, on his burro!
Jesus Flores of ‘The Lost Mine’ Fame
I brought my copy of Erle Stanley Gardner’s 1961 ‘Hidden Heart of Baja’ in case of just such an encounter. Here Jesus autographs his full page photo from over 41 years ago!
Jesus Flores who has a secret (lost) mine, has an entire chapter in Gardner’s book. In 2001, he was our guide searching for the lost mission ( vivabaja.com/van1). Both are still lost!
Typical Central Baja Desert Scenery
Along the road to Mission San Borja is this awesome natural cactus garden. On Thursday, Bedman (Steve), Emma, & Debra joined Sarah and I on the day’s adventure.
Here’s a boojum with dreadlocks!
Some of the graded road into San Borja was smooth…just some!
Sarah at Montevideo pictographs. Two miles south of the L.A. Bay highway towards San Borja, a Jeep trail turns east for 5.8 miles. 28°54.75′, -113°43.27′ (WGS84)
Steve (Bedman) and Emma at Montevideo. It was late in the afternoon, but the quick visit was enjoyed .
Debra (Travelpearl) at Montevideo…
Sarah climbs up for a closer look at some pictographs.
Mary Ann Humfreville exchanges addresses with Kathy and Jim who met them (Travelpearl, Mary Ann & Miguelito) the previous week, at Playa Santispac. They recommended Kathy and Jim come to Camp Gecko to experience L.A. Bay.
Group Photo at Las Hamacas Restaurant
Top Row: Bedman, Baja Nana, David K, Travelpearl, Kathy, Jim, Mary Ann Humfreville Center: Sarah K, Cody, Katie Bottom: Emma, Miguelito, Paulina March 30 to April 6 was a great week. The weather was perfect. A wind storm hit the day after we left! We visited with some friends from the Amigos board that included Paulina & Paulette (Baja Nana), 4Baja, Bedman & Emma, Travelpearl, Mary Ann & Miguelito Humfreville & Mike S. (Cook). We explored great new and previously visited sites. We now look forward to returning. After all, the lost mission still is LOST! Viva Baja everybody! http://vivabaja.com/