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Author: Subject: Gonzaga Bay to Mision Santa Maria (and SP Martir hike for April)
Don Jorge
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[*] posted on 12-21-2003 at 12:17 AM


Hi,
Just got back from doing this hike. The short version: Logged a 15 mile round trip hike to the Mission from the junction of the El Camino Real and Arroyo Santa Maria. Thanks David K for that location.
I went up the ECR, 8 miles logged, and came back down Santa Maria canyon, 7 miles. It took me 13 hours. 5 1/2 hours up, 7 hours down, 1/2 hour for lunch.
The numbers say it all. The arroyo approach is a butt kicker!
The ECR from the trailhead is a fairly well ducked, uneven traverse of the North rim of Santa Maria Canyon. It is mostly grunt work, staying on the trail requires a bit of concentration for the first 5 miles. The last 3 miles are well ducked and easy to follow. The ECR junctions with the bulldozed road on the east side of the arroyo along a branch canyon.
The descent is pure fun. Nice granite walls, lots of water, palms, pools and more water. Lots of scrambling, bouldering and more.
There are 3 class 5 moves in the canyon descent which required me to lower my pack with webbing before carefully making the moves down. 2 were simple moves but the third problems' safest solution required me to jump in the big pool and swim across it. Cold water, but it felt great. That pool is a photo at Alfonsinas.
After that it was just another scramble through another granite walled watercourse and palm filled oasis with the last two hours requiring a headlamp to help find a route to camp. I took a few photos and logged some waypoints. I will put together a page and have it up soon.
This is a great hike!
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[*] posted on 12-21-2003 at 12:27 AM
CONGRATULATIONS!!!


Way to go Don Jorge! I will look forward to reading more details and seeing photos and GPS.

Great to know 8 miles up the ECR/ 5.5 hrs. And, 7 miles via the canyon, but longer time and swimming required! No wonder Father Serra had the trail moved up into the mountain!

[Edited on 12-21-2003 by David K]




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[*] posted on 12-21-2003 at 12:12 PM


Thanks for your report on your hike, and congratulations on your success. Looking forward to attempting the hike, also. Your waypoints will be appreciated..."El Mochilero"
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[*] posted on 12-22-2003 at 05:52 PM
Baja Almanac


Don Jorge, I sent you a PM. Did you get it. As far as the almanac goes, it looks to me as if very few people have enough energy to do much besides copy other maps for their new ones. Because on more than one occasion the maps I have, numerous by the way, all had the same mistakes. There are many Mexican maps available that are a bit more accurate. I also noticed so many books written on "The Missions of Alta California" at the La Paz Museum. It makes me wonder why there are so many more being written. And I can't wait to compare notes when the new issues come out.
A Mexican's version of their history as opposed to an Americans version of someone elses history. Should be interesting.
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David K
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thumbup.gif posted on 12-22-2003 at 06:21 PM
OUTSTANDING!!!!


Outstanding job Don Jorge! Photos, story and GPS data for both the El Camino Real and the Santa Maria canyon. http://www.southcoastfarms.com/gonzaga_to_mission_santa_mari...

Naturally, I have some questions!

Up until and including Junipero Serra's long walk, the canyon was the ECR route... It was very difficult (known as El Cajon), but passable with a few falls to the pack animals. Do you think there was a trail along the canyon wall that stayed above the water, that has since washed away?

The Franciscans after Serra's passage had the newer ECR built north (above and out) of the canyon.

Just beyond my last waypoint, where did you find the ECR where it disappeared on Chris and I (higher or lower)?

May I add your web page link to davidksbaja.com?

Thanks again for your efforts and great success!

[Edited on 3-13-2004 by David K]




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[*] posted on 12-22-2003 at 06:42 PM


Hi David, Thanks.

I found the trail up from your last waypoint. Everytime I lost it I found myself lower and south of it. Everytime. It got to when I couldn't find it I just went up and there it would be.

I think the canyon has inevitably changed over the last 200 years. But I believe the old trail is higher up where I went looking for it or higher up on the other side. I just did not have enough time to keep looking. Perhaps some other day.

By all means include the link. It is the least I can do for your help!
I have been to many places in Baja, this place blew me away!


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[*] posted on 12-22-2003 at 08:20 PM


Thanks Jorge... You know Mision Santa Maria and the canyon is one of Graham Mackintosh's favorite Baja areas, and he has seen more of Baja up close than most of us!

I find a special kind of Baja magic in that valley... Perhaps that is why the Jesuits picked that site, as hard as it was to get to, in 1767.

I am blown away by the amount of water that flows year-round from the hills around the mission, and down the canyon... Where does it all come from?! It is amazing and wonderful, indeed!




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[*] posted on 3-13-2004 at 12:37 AM
Change focus to San Pedro Martir hike


Now, that Don Jorge has succeeded in going up to Santa Maria and back, in one day, and gave us an excellent report on the mission trail and canyon route, let's discuss the other hike mentioned in this thread... To Mision San Pedro Martir... The most remote and difficult to reach mission in Baja.

Jack Swords has been wanting to do this hike for quite some time... a forest fire and military closure (marijuana fields discovered) forced a cancellation last year.

The plan is we will meet at Rancho Meling (San Jose) on Apr. 3 and the next morning drive up to the forest/ national park, on the observatory road. As we are not so young anymore, we hope to be able to drive south towards Rancho Viejo as far as the road goes to shorten the walking needed.

The original site of the mission was in La Grulla meadow, and the site was recently discovered. From there we will continue down from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet where the mission's final location is found. We hope for two days to get there, a day exploring, and two days back. Jack has hired a guide and a mule to carry the heavy stuff (H2O, etc.)... Probably is a 15 mile (one way) hike.

Expressing a desire to join Jack and I are 'bajarunner', 'mexitron', 'pappy', and new Baja mission book author Dave Werschkul (http://www.bajamission.com)

If you need a room at Meling Ranch the 3rd and the night we come back down (8th?) you need to contact Duane.

More details to follow...




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David K
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[*] posted on 3-13-2004 at 01:13 AM


One of the first people I spoke to who has been to Mision San Pedro Martir was Baja Bucko... BB sent me a coulpe photos from that 1973 expedition...



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David K
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[*] posted on 3-13-2004 at 01:18 AM


Here's Baja Bucko at the mission...

Years later she would be known as the person who rides a mule on El Camino Real... El Crucero to Santa Maria, Santa Maria to Gonzaga, and La Purisima to Mulege this month.




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[*] posted on 10-16-2004 at 08:15 PM
Baja Bucko


I was just reviewing some old posts when I came across the photos Baja Bucko sent to me from her trip to Mision San Pedro Martir, many years earlier. Below is a photo of me and Baja Bucko when I met her and her family in 2001, on her way to another mule trip in Baja.





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David K
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[*] posted on 10-16-2004 at 08:25 PM


To wrap up this dual topic (Santa Maria & San Pedro Martir Hike) thread...

Here is the web page for the San Pedro Martir hike: http://community-2.webtv.net/vivabaja/spm

Here is Don Jorge's awesome Santa Maria hike (from the Gonzaga side) web page: http://www.southcoastfarms.com/gonzaga_to_mission_santa_mari...




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