Las Animas, Punta Ballena, Misíon Santa Gertrudis

Next I explored the coast southeast of Bahía de los Angeles. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.9478, -113.5598 

Santa Maria Magdalena

I visited Santa Maria Magdalena, the "Lost Mission" site rediscovered by David Kier (See also, "The Mysterious Magdalena Ruins".) On the top of a hilltop with an excellent view of Bahía de las Animas are some old stone walls. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.7789, -113.3421 

Road North - to Santa Maria MagdalenaSanta Maria Magdalena - WallsSanta Maria Magdalena - Looking SouthSanta Maria Magdalena - Walls - Looking North

In a hillside cave, I found a very fuzzy creature busily wandering among the animal turds — that turned out to be a little gray spider.

Santa Maria Magdalena - CaveSanta Maria Magdalena - Hairy Gray SpiderSanta Maria Magdalena - Hairy Gray Spider

Bahía de las Animas

I camped here on the beach, near the fishing village of Las Animas. The cardón cactuses were blooming. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.8053, -113.3545 

Las Animas - Fishing VillageLas Animas - Beach - Camping - SportsmobileLas Animas - Beach - Camping - SeaweedLas Animas - Beach - CampingLas Animas - Beach - Camping - Cactus - Flower - Cardón - CardónLas Animas - Beach - Camping - Cactus - Flower - CardónCactus - Cardón

I wonder what's under these boards...? A well!

Las Animas - WellLas Animas - Well

Playa San Rafael

Some more driving, and a quick swim stop at this beach near Campo San Rafael. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.5993, -113.1309 

Road - Old WheelRoad West to Playa San Rafael - MotorcyclesBeach - Playa San Rafael - Plant - FlowerBeach - Playa San Rafael - Cactus - Cow - CardónBeach - Playa San Rafael - SportsmobileBeach - Playa San RafaelBeach - Playa San Rafael - Cactus - Cows - CardónSign - Campo San Rafael

Playa Morro Blanco & Punta Ballena

I camped again at this remote beach. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.4551, -112.9897 

Playa Morro Blanco - El Progreso - SignsPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - SportsmobilePlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Sand BagsPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - LagoonPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Sportsmobile - Beach - Time for a swim!Playa Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Beach - SportsmobilePlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Beach - Sportsmobile

Interesting beachcombing finds: crabs & crab shells, pelican skulls (lots!), another fuzzy gray spider, and a whale vertabra as big as my head! The whale bone was still somewhat greasy and smelly so I didn't take it home with me. In any case, I usually don't like to take souvenirs other than photographs.

Playa Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Dead StarfishPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - CrabPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - CrabPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Crab ShellPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Pelican SkullPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Pelican SkullsPlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Fuzzy Gray Spider - BonePlaya Morro Blanco - Punta Ballena - Whale Vertabra

El Arco Road

To complete the loop route, I drove southwest back to Highway 1 on the El Arco road. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.3515, -113.0062 

Punta Ballena - Turnoff - SportsmobileCactus - Cardón - FlowersCactus - Cardón - Flowers

Mesa el Carmen Cave Paintings

A short unsignposted hike (there are cairns) leads to these amazing hillside cave paintings. Huge red men, women, and animals tower above on the cave walls and ceiling. Representations of breasts are depicted on the sides of the female figures. The sign — found inside the cave — says, "This forms part of your identity. Help us to continue protecting it."

Mesa el Carmen - Parking - Joshua Tree - SportsmobileMesa el Carmen - Cactus - Yucca - FlowersMesa el Carmen - CaveMesa el Carmen - Cave - Cave Paintings - PictographsMesa el Carmen - Cave - Cave Paintings - PictographsMesa el Carmen - Cave - Cave Paintings - PictographsMesa el Carmen - Cave - Looking OutMesa el Carmen - Cave - LizardMesa el Carmen - Cave - Cave Paintings - Pictographs - Sign

Pozo Aleman

The cemetery at Pozo Aleman. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.0581, -113.3904 

Pozo Aleman - CemeteryPozo Aleman - Cemetery

Misíon Santa Gertrudis

The Santa Gertrudis de Cadacaman was a Jesuit mission in use from 1751 through 1822. It was extensively restored in 1997, and so I assume it has lost some of the weathered decaying character that I love to experience. When I visited, the building was locked (and no one was around) so I was not able to go inside. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth  28.0512, -113.0848 

Round back, I found a collection of palm leaves, and the remains of some animal legs.

This mission's bells are part of a separate structure, in the square in front of the church building.

Mission Santa GertrudisMission Santa GertrudisMission Santa Gertrudis - BellsMission Santa GertrudisSanta Gertrudis - Bones - Hoof

I have heard that there are some cave paintings nearby, but the guide office in town was closed (the use of a guide is required by law) — and, besides, my idea of adventure doesn't include guided tours. I had fun exploring the little community around the mission building — with a palm tree oasis, old stone walls, and crumbling adobe. I saw no people out there with me in the afternoon's 98°F sun.

Santa Gertrudis - Guide BuildingSanta Gertrudis - Palm Trees - OasisSanta Gertrudis - Palm Trees - Horse - OasisSanta Gertrudis - Adobe Ruins