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Author: Subject: Gonzaga Bay Sidetrips - Part 4 (by David K)
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[*] posted on 12-3-2002 at 11:22 PM
Gonzaga Bay Sidetrips - Part 4 (by David K)

After finding the Jesuit warehouse ruins, I tried to imagine the cargo route up to Mision Santa Maria. Baja Bucko traveled it last year on muleback almost to Gonzaga from Santa Ynez via Santa Maria. The year before, Bucko rode on the El Camino Real from El Crucero to Santa Maria, again on a mule!

My next quest was the onyx or soda springs reported in a 1959 issue of Desert Magazine.

Gonzaga Bay was uninhabited back in 1959, and a long four wheel drive trail was the only way there. The white, mineralized slope is very visible from the beach near Alfonsina's and from Rancho Grande. The article said it was 4 miles from the beach, and that was quite accurate. The article author and her husband hiked all the way there. We chose to 'Toyota' and 'Kawasaki' all the way, or close! But which way?

Going south of Rancho Grande we took the first Jeep trail to the right, but that dead ended. The second trail did go several miles inland, but south of the white hillside. It took us to a beautiful valley at the base of the lava mountain range. We turned north in this valley and drove cross country (no shrubs, just grass) until we came to another Jeep trail. This may have been the route of Serra's Cargo Trail?

We did get to less than a mile from the white hillside, but I believed there was a closer approach. We returned to camp for a break in exploring, by following this trail north. The trail took us right back to Rancho Grande, from behind!

When we returned for the next attempt to drive to the white, glacier-like slope we used that same trail, in reverse. Chris went up one side wash, to the right, that looked promissing. After a few minutes he rode back to where I could see him and waved frantically. He found the way in! In fact, some rocks had letters marking the trail and near where the Toyota could go no further, red ribbens were tied to ocotillos marking a way to get close as possible. The sight (1/4 mile) ahead was a white, mieralized waterfall, with a trickle of salty water flowing down. All around were several onyx boulders, just like at El Marmol, but not quarried.

A climb up the waterfall and the huge whitened field, about 1500' by 1000' in size, was above. All this was surrounded by the dark lava mountainside. The view of Gonzaga Bay was wonderful. Mineralized water trickles forth from several places in this white field.

For all the years I have been going to Gonzaga, that white slope never caught my attention. A 1959 Desert Magazine article sent to me by Mexray and some emails by Punta Final resident and Baja book collector Norm Christie intrigued me to see this place for myself. Norm asked that visitors please don't walk on the white crystal sheets. He also asked me not to publish GPS directions, which I always honor when a new special place is shared with me. Baja explorers with respect for preserving the natural beauty can contact me if they need more details.

So, like me, you have some hints to go by. Have fun finding your own way to this amazing natural wonder in Mexico's magic peninsula!


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