San Cosme, San Javier, San José de Comondú

Back on the paved Highway 1, I headed south, camping as I had back in 2005 on the Bahía Santa Inés beach at Punta Mapachito, the last bit of undeveloped beach in the area. This beach boasts plenty of interesting seashells. Someone had built a very elaborate driftwood structure. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 27.0309, -112.0080 

Santa Inés - Punta Mapachito - SportsmobileSanta Inés - Punta Mapachito - Driftwood HouseSanta Inés - Punta Mapachito - Sunset - SportsmobileSanta Inés - Punta Mapachito - Seashell

Loreto

Passing Loreto, I saw many of lush resorts and golf courses. I didn't even slow down.

Loreto

San Cosme Hot Spring

The road to Agua Verde winds steeply down from the Mesa Siquito though a series of exciting narrow switchbacks. At the bottom is San Cosme, where there is an underwater hot spring close to the shore. It is only accessable at low tide, from a seashore "road" that is usually submerged. The local ejido has added a locked gate on this route, so I had to ask the caretaker for permission to enter. He repeatedly expressed how much he liked my baseball cap, so I left it with him as a gift. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 25.5916, -111.1731 

San Cosme - Hot Spring - Beach RoadSan Cosme - Hot Spring - Low Tide Road - SportsmobileSan Cosme - Hot Spring - Low Tide Road - SportsmobileSan Cosme - Hot Spring - Beach - Gate - Ejido HouseSan Cosme Hot SpringSan Cosme Hot SpringSan Cosme Hot SpringSan Cosme - Hot Spring - Beach - Tidepool - Sun Star

The tide was rising, so I made the tough decision to leave beautiful San Cosme hot springs, and do some more exploring elsewhere, rather than commit to staying there for another eight hours until the next low tide.

I scouted around along the road to Agua Verde for a nice place to camp along the shore, but I found the beaches to be signposted as restricted by the local ejido.

Estero San Cosme - Rocky Beach - SportsmobileAgua VerdeEstero San CosmeEstero San Cosme - Restricted Area Sign

I ended up camping up in the hills in a secluded spot I had found back in 2005. This wasn't on the beach, but there was a nice panoramic view of the coast!

Campsite View - Estero San CosmeCampsite View - Estero San CosmeCampsite View - Estero San Cosme

Sierra la Giganta

Next I spent a couple days on a journey over inland backroads from Loreto up Sierra la Giganta to Misíon San Javier, and then onwards to the Pacific coast along a rocky dirt track. Slow going!

Misíon San Javier

The road from Loreto to San Javier is paved, but very winding and steep.

Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó was a Jesuit mission in use from the early 1700's through 1817. The mission is currently in great shape (restored), and is interesting to explore inside & out. I wasn't sure why someone had carefully placed this potato — as an offering, perhaps? See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 25.8610, -111.5438 

Mission San JavierMission San JavierMission San JavierMission San Javier - A Potato...?Mission San JavierMission San JavierMission San JavierMission San JavierMission San JavierMission San Javier - GravesMission San JavierMission San JavierMission San Javier

Then, heading west again, I left pavement and the going got rough — steep and rocky — often washed out. If I had a motorcycle I bet I could cover this ground much quicker, but with my van's stiff suspension I was often travelling at 15 MPH. Bumpity bumpity bump. I passed sites my map identified as Monte Alto, Palo Chino, and Las Animas — each having just a few ranch buildings with thatched roofs and walls made of woven mats. Nobody was around except for some very hungry looking goats who were very excited to see me and disappointed when I left.

Road West - Sign - RoadRoadMonte Alto - RoadPalo Chino - GoatsPalo ChinoHill Climb - RoadHill Climb - Road - SportsmobileHill Climb - Road - SportsmobileLas AnimasLas AnimasRoad - Downhill - Sportsmobile

El Horno

This ruined structure once was used to make mortar for building the nearby missions. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 25.9965, -111.7104 

El Horno - RuinEl Horno - RuinEl Horno - Ruin

Misíon San José de Comondú

In an oasis valley of palm trees are the towns of San José Comondú and San Miguel Comondú.

Arriving at San José ComondúArriving at San José Comondú - Sportsmobile - Sign Loreto Las Parras San JavierSan José ComondúSan José Comondú - SportsmobileSan José Comondú - Playground

This location for the Misión San José de Comondú was in use as a Jesuit mission from the mid 1700s through 1827.

I visited the old mission chapel. This chapel is only standing remains of the original Misíon San José de Comondú building — most of which was torn down in 1936. The front face of the chapel is a modern reconstruction in period style. The chapel orignally faced into the interior of the larger mission building. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 26.0596, -111.8226 

Mission San José de Comondú - ChapelMission San José de Comondú - ChapelMission San José de Comondú - Chapel - Wooden Window BarsMission San José de Comondú - ChapelMission San José de Comondú - Chapel

Exploring around the chapel, I found a bell, some wall ruins, some outhouses, a barred door that I read was once used as a jail, and a twisty gnarly old tree.

Mission San José de Comondú - Chapel - Bell - Virgini Immaculatae DicataMission San José de Comondú - Chapel - PiecesMission San José de Comondú - Chapel - Outhouse in BackSan José Comondú - JailSan José Comondú - Jail DoorSan José Comondú - Twisted Tree

The main road out of town heads southwest. I instead took the more minor road northwest, which climbed steeply back up onto the mesa, with a great view of San José Comondú. The town cemetery is also up there. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 26.0593, -111.8338 

San José Comondú - Climbing Up Road to the West - SportsmobileSan José ComondúMisíon San José de ComondúSan José Comondú - Climbing Up Road to the West - SportsmobileTire - Sportsmobile - TireSan José Comondú - Cemetery

El Pabellon

I love roads that climb to mountaintop vista. El Pabellon is a conical hill with its top sliced off — 600 feet from base to top. A set of radio towers is up there, which require an access road — a very steep & narrow crumbly 4x4 road, it turns out. From the top I watched the sunset, and camped for the night. See in Google Maps See in Google Earth 26.0988, -111.8952 

El Pabellon - Hill - Radio TowersEl Pabellon - Hill

As you might expect, there was a stunning view of the surrounding landscape from the top.

El Pabellon - Hill - View - Looking SoutheastView from El Pabellon - Hill - Looking Southeast - Tinaja de MorenoEl Pabellon - Hill - SportsmobileEl Pabellon - Hill - Radio TowersEl Pabellon - Hill - Radio Towers - Radio MachineryEl Pabellon - Hill - Radio Towers - Asoc de Radioexperimentadores de Baja Calif Sur A C - Repetidor Cerro El PabellonEl Pabellon - HillEl Pabellon - Hill - SunsetEl Pabellon - Hill - Sunset - SportsmobileEl Pabellon - Hill - Sunset

Driving down was almost as exciting as driving up.

El Pabellon - Hill - Sportsmobile - Driving Down

Continuing west.

El Cociteyo - Buildings - Thatched Roof - Woven WallsEl Cociteyo - Building - Thatched Roof - Woven WallsSportsmobile

San Isidro and La Purisma

The next towns with access to water, San Isidro and La Purisma, marked the end of my bumpy trans-peninsula journey from Loreto to the Pacific Coast.

Looking West into San IsidroLooking West into San IsidroSan IsidroSan IsidroSan Isidro - Aqueduct

These poor cows didn't have a way to pull off the cactus pieces stuck to their noses.

Cows - Cactus StuckCows - Cactus Stuck