Laguna Salada

My original plan was to explore Laguna Salada by driving on the dry lake bed (playa) surface — but it did not turn out to be dry. Instead, I headed south on the dirt road along the west side of Laguna Salada, which starts at a place called Ejido Luchadores del Desierto ("Fighters of the Desert"). See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.5719, -115.7943 

Looking East - Sign says, "Ejido Luchadores del Desierto"Laguna Salada - Wet

I stopped at a rocky "island" in the lake bed to survey the area. There were quite a few offroading vehicles at the north end of Laguna Salada. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.4584, -115.7919 

Laguna SaladaLaguna Salada - Motorcycles & Offroad VW BugLaguna Salada

I decided to try a detour east back onto the lake bed to test its surface, but the main route was still impassibly wet.

Laguna Salada - MudLaguna Salada - MudLaguna Salada - Mud - SportsmobileLaguna Salada - Mud

Continuing south, I stopped to camp at some rocks near Guadalupe Canyon Hot Springs to see if I could find some of the rock art that was marked on my map. I never did find any petroglyphs that evening, but I did have fun climbing on the rocks, investigating countless holes and caves.

Laguna Salada - Sign for Mexicali - SportsmobileCañon Guadalupe AreaCañon Guadalupe Area - SunsetCañon Guadalupe Area - BeetleCañon Guadalupe Area - GrottoCañon Guadalupe Area - Sunset - RockCañon Guadalupe Area - GrottoCañon Guadalupe Area - Sunrise - GrottoCañon Guadalupe Area - GrottoCañon Guadalupe Area - SunriseCañon Guadalupe AreaCañon Guadalupe Area

The next day, I tried following what looked like the most popular tire tracks in the sand, and they lead me to a canyon with a seeping spring, palm trees, and some rock art! There I also found a grinding hole. I'm told there are many other nearby petroglyph and pictograph areas, but at least I found one site!

Cañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - Grinding Rock HoleCañon Guadalupe Area - Palm TreesCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - Palm TreesCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - PetroglyphsCañon Guadalupe Area - Palm Trees

An olive tree plantation at the Cañon Guadalupe road turn-off — lots of very dry olives on the sand. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.2014, -115.7099 

Laguna Salada - Olive Plantation - TreeLaguna Salada - Olive PlantationLaguna Salada - Olive Plantation - OlivesLaguna Salada - Olive Plantation - OlivesLaguna Salada - Signs - Cañon del Palomar - Cañon Guadalupe - Sportsmobile

An abandoned vineyard See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.1327, -115.6356 

Laguna Salada - Abandoned VineyardLaguna Salada - Abandoned VineyardLaguna Salada - Abandoned Vineyard

I tried to find a road heading east, over to Highway 5, but ended up on a bumpy race trail instead. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.0085, -115.4986  The little "CODE" race signs were everywhere. The race trail was painful to drive — because of the bumps, my van would become airborne if I exceeded 15 MPH. For a couple hours, I crept along, until I ran into Mick and his buddies (Americans living in the Mexicali area) who explained how to get back to pavement. Mick also gave me some ideas of other Baja locations to visit. Thanks, Mick!

Laguna Salada - Race Course Marker Sign - "CODE" Off RoadLaguna Salada - Race Course Marker Sign - "CODE" Off RoadLaguna Salada - Race Route - SportsmobileLaguna Salada - Race RouteLaguna Salada - Race Route - Mick

A lunch break before heading north and east over the lake bed, with mud that was only partially dry. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth  32.0630, -115.4263 

Laguna Salada - Lunch - SportsmobileLaguna Salada - SportsmobileLaguna Salada - Too muddy to cross - GeoffLaguna Salada - Crossing water - Geoff

By mid-afternoon, I made it to Highway 5! Heading south towards San Felipe, I passed through my first of many military checkpoints on this trip.

Highway 5 - Military CheckpointHighway 5 - Military CheckpointHighway 5 - Military CheckpointHighway 5 - San Felipe - Feliz Año 2009