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Author: Subject: ECR-3b) EL CAMINO REAL (from space): The Sierra Camino from Santa Gertrudis to San Ignacio
David K
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shocked.gif posted on 2-16-2009 at 03:24 PM
ECR-3b) EL CAMINO REAL (from space): The Sierra Camino from Santa Gertrudis to San Ignacio


Continued from ECR-2a (San Borja to Santa Gertrudis): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=36002

This is the primary Camino Real most consider when the old mission road is mentioned between San Ignacio and Santa Gertrudis... It is the route used by Junipero Serra when he walked to San Diego from Loreto and is the route traveled by Harry Crosby for his 1974 'The King's Highway in Baja California'. Harry had detailed maps created from his notes, in 1977... Here is the one of this section:



In my previous post ECR-3a ( http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=36578 ) is the 'Pacifico' or west branch of the Camino Real... as seen in the map, as well as this high look overall satellite view, with pin markers on the two Camino Real routes:



I made the following map to show details and exactly where the satellite images were taken... P= Pacifico and S= Sierra routes of the Camino Real. The map is in two parts, here is the northern part:



Next the images of the Camino Real covered in the above map (S-1 to S-12)...



[Edited on 2-27-2009 by David K]




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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 03:41 PM


S-1) The fork in the Camino Real betwen the Pacifico and Sierra route:


S-2) The Camino Real at 28º N Latitude (the state border):


S-3) A switchback grade:


S-4) Climbing out of Arroyo El Carrizo:


S-5) Ahead, the Camino Real meets with a newer road that comes from San Casimiro (on the Pacifico Camino Real):

S-6) A fork in Camino Real roads, they rejoin beyond Laguna la Tahualina. A photo of the left branch is S-10. (S-7, 8, & 9 are on the right branch):


S-7) Another fork, the Camino Real goes left:


S-8)

S-9) The dry lake 'La Tahualina' is ahead and to the left.


S-10) On the left branch, heading for Laguna La Tahualina:


S-11) A long straight run across the San Gregorio Plain:

S-12) Just across Arroyo La Caponera:

This continues...



[Edited on 2-16-2009 by David K]




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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 04:09 PM


Map for images S-13 to S-19:



S-13) Rancho Rosarito:

S-14) Most of the Camino Real north of Santa Marta to the San Gregorio Plain is overlaid by a modern road... here is an exception:

S-15)

S-16) Santa Marta:

S-17) Where the Camino Real leave Arroyo El Infierno:

S-18) Nearing San Ignacio at the base of Cerro Santiago:

S-19) Where the Camino Real crosses the Transpeninsular Highway in San Ignacio:

==============================================

The next section is San Ignacio to Mision Guadalupe (ECR-4): http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=36976

ECR-5 posted on 2-25: Guadalupe south to La Purisima to Comondu

Comondu to San Javier to Loreto, the final section, will come soon!


[Edited on 2-25-2009 by David K]




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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 06:29 PM


Cool David still visable from space, looks dirt bike or mountain bike ridable.
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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 07:04 PM


Yes... I hope so! Otherwise, ride a mule!

From San Borja all the way to Guadalupe mission the entire trail is almost 100% visible from space... There is still a Golfo Camino Real that goes from the San Gregorio plain north to Santa Gertrudis, as seen on Crosby's map (and I have followed parts of it, as well on Google Earth).

Enjoy!




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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 07:33 PM


You know if you keep this up I'm going to quit my job, get in my truck and come check out all these spots you keep posting--my wife will not be pleased, so stop it! :lol:

Awesome David--really enjoy all the hard work you put into these virtual excursions! I wasn't aware that you could travel by road from Gertrudis to San Ignacio via Santa Marta--or is that not a road I'm seeing, just the trail...
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[*] posted on 2-16-2009 at 10:46 PM
Sta Gertrudis-SI via Sta Marta by wheels via ECR?


uhhhhhhhh, I don't think so....ok, David, what am I missing here??? Been on it and there were spots that the mules had trouble with!



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[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 08:08 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Mexitron
You know if you keep this up I'm going to quit my job, get in my truck and come check out all these spots you keep posting--my wife will not be pleased, so stop it! :lol:

Awesome David--really enjoy all the hard work you put into these virtual excursions! I wasn't aware that you could travel by road from Gertrudis to San Ignacio via Santa Marta--or is that not a road I'm seeing, just the trail...


Hold on everyone!:o

Steve, it's a trail... it was once all nice (180-280 years ago), but erosion, plant growth, etc. will make it work to use in some places! Even though it looks good from space, the satellite resolution is not good enough to make out big rocks... like VW size or smaller!

Kacey Smith, Kevin Ward, Malcolm Smith and other m/c stars have ridden on parts of the Camino Real.. so with skill, that may be possible... but not everywhere on it.

The person who knows is Baja Bucko... who travels the Camino Real by mule (the way it should be!)

Steve, don't quit your job (even if it is in Texas)! The landscape market here in SoCal is dead (rain + economy)... The only reason I have so much time to do these El Camino Real from space posts is that I am at home, instead of doing landscape irrigation! If it wasn't for Baja Nomad to give me that Baja fix, I am not sure how I would survive!?




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[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 08:14 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Baja Bucko
uhhhhhhhh, I don't think so....ok, David, what am I missing here??? Been on it and there were spots that the mules had trouble with!


Hi Teddi,

I am sure glad you are seeing these, too! You are doing what I have wanted to... travel as much of the mission road as possible! I am hoping you will be giving us some 'on the trail' experiences to read... Seeing the Camino Real from above is one thing, but traveling ON the Camino Real is the whole thing!

I responded to Mexitron about his driving on it, above... The only places where you can for sure drive on the Camino Real are where roads have been built over the top of it!

Please tease us with some ECR stories!!!:light:




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[*] posted on 2-17-2009 at 06:30 PM


I think the question is how much can be traveled by jeep, pickup etc? The smaller the better probably. The ranchers must use a truck in many areas. Obviously a wash with boulders and steep mountain slopes would not be drivible. Baja Bucko what say you?
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[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 08:53 PM


When I was young and read 'The Call to California' c1968 (where Harry Crosby was introduced to ECR as a photographer for the book project), about Serra's long walk to San Diego and San Francisco, from Loreto... I wanted to travel the mission road in one of those 6 wheeled ATV rigs.

Seeing the rock staircases in many places would prohibit most wheeled vehicles and motorcycles. By foot or mule... the way it was meant to be traveled by!:bounce:




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[*] posted on 2-18-2009 at 10:32 PM
ECR


I think I've ridden (mules) and a little bit backpacking- (that when I was a hippie in 1972) abt 90% of ECR from El Rosario to Loreto. Yes there are places where modern roads overlay places but for the most part this "road" was never intended for wheels and by 1900 the "main" path of travel was leaving El Camino Real for easier routes. There is the absolutely fascinating feeling to struggle and climb ( and pray that the mule stays upright!!!) and mule feet picking back and forth up and down cuestas only to find at the top of a mesa a perfectly-cleared rock-lined "road" I could drive a minivan on-for a 100 feet or so and then wham! back to the miles of worse-than-a-goat-trail to head down incredible rocky steep (reminiscing El Paraiso!!) and feel so gleeful that I lived to tell the tale! After every trip even wearing "armor" I still have spines popping out of me for months.

I have recvd many emails from people just thinking that hay-let's just backpack it and they have no clue that you need a local vaquero (he always knows when & where the water is this year) and when the trail becomes split in several same but not directions due to different uses at different times over the past 300 years-taking the WRONG path can get you dead or found wandering as dehydrated lion bait. Granted GPS has opened up a new world but its a lot of big country down there and there aren't forest service signs telling you how far it is to the next waterhole or THAT part of the trail is totally impassable 2 hours from where you are standing. ECR is NOT a park service thing-for the most part it is very wild country with many parts of the trails rarely seeing anyone except a cowboy every couple of years looking for cows or goats.

Last year I was sitting at a table sharing lunch with Harry Crosby and I toasted him and made it clear to his wife and all present-it was HIS FAULT that I was horribly addicted to Baja California and El Camino Real. I think he got a kick out of that!!!




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[*] posted on 2-19-2009 at 03:31 AM


Thanks Teddi for the reply... Your ECR travel stories will be great reading and I look forward to seeing your book published!

Here's a photo of me with Harry Crosby (and Jimmy Smith) at the 2003 Pyramid Resort's (first) Baja Booksigning event...




Authors who have had a big influence on my Baja travel/ exploration desires: Howard Gulick, Erle Stanley Gardner, Harry Crosby, Choral Pepper, Mike McMahan.

I met them all except Gardner... we missed him by a day when we went to his Temecula ranch, around 1968... he had just left for Baja!




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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 06:21 AM


Man, don't know where you get all the time to do all this work.. or are you on "crank"

You must never sleep, but thanks very much for all the "work".. really good job and thanks for sharing:):)




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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 08:39 AM


Thanks... knowing there are Baja enthusiasts like you folks who enjoy the look back into time that we all experience when we go to Baja and see things like the missions, visitas and El Camino Real, is all the reward I need to keep providing what I have learned or aquired in my lifetime of Baja enthusiasm.

I posted this thread topic last February, during a rainy day (like today in San Diego)... I work outdoors only when it is dry and have work (installing/ repairing landscape irrigation systems and lighting). Other than Harry Crosby, Baja Bucko is the living expert on El Camino Real, and we are fortunate that she reads and posts on Nomad.

Nothing new to add, other than I have completed the revision of my Baja Missions and Visitas web pages (link below) and I included links back here to these Nomad pages for the Camino Real data.




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[*] posted on 12-12-2009 at 09:14 PM


The very old track the Spanish priest followed maximizes water hole access ?

I Google Earthed Mex 1 to Minch's geology routing then disced aerial views of camping access points with GPS coordinates.

Imagine the priest would get a roar out both.
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[*] posted on 12-13-2009 at 08:17 AM


Yes, the Camino Real went from water source to water source as it traveled between missions and visitas. The native villages ('rancherias') were located at water sources as well... and that is often where a mission or visita would be established.

The Camino Real usually stayed in the sierras as that is where the water was, and used the best route for man or beast to travel.




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[*] posted on 12-13-2009 at 08:25 AM
1739 Spanish Report


From Harry Crosby's El Camino Real article published in the Winter 1977 Journal of San Diego History:

The Apostolic Endeavors of the Missionary Fathers of the Society of Jesus of the Province of New Spain Performed in the Conquest of California Owed and Consecrated to the Patronage of Holy Mary, Conqueror of New Peoples in Her Sacred Image of Loreto.

Chronicled by the Father Miguel Venegas of the Same Society of Jesus. This Historical Account was completed on the Seventh of November of 1739.


Book X
Chapter 22: "Concerning the great extent to which the Missionary Fathers have labored in opening roads throughout the whole region."



Among the difficult problems of administering the California missions3 not the least has been that of doing battle with the roughness and inconvenience of the trails. Indeed, at all new foundations, this has been the first obstacle which has had to be overcome. As we have already noted, California is a hilly country, rough and broken, composed of an infinite number of stones heaped together or scattered over the rocky slopes. Both men and animals find their way blocked and are unable to traverse the land. Only the California Indians, because they had been brought up there and were accustomed to the country's extraordinary roughness, were able to move about as quickly as if they were deer. In their nudity they had a further advantage. They could travel light, and there was nothing to detain them in the narrow passes and along the precipices which are to be met at every step. Nevertheless the natives themselves did not escape great hardship. In walking barefoot over the rocks and thorns of the hills their feet were always cut and lacerated.
In the beginning Father Juan Maria4 took advantage of this circumstance in order by gentle persuasion to induce them to come to Loreto and to help in certain labors and tasks which had to be done, and in time of famine and stress to bring mezcales and yuccas and other roots and fruits which they used for food. In exchange for these things, or for their personal labor, he gave each of them a pair of sandals made of rawhide. These cactles5—such is the Mexican name for them in New Spain—are the usual footgear of the mainland Indians. They consist of a leather sole, somewhat larger then the sole of the foot, with thongs of hide to tie it above the instep and the heelbone. And so, when the Californians experienced the relief which these cactles gave them, enabling them to avoid injuries when they walked among rocks and thorns, they conceived a great liking for them and readily offered to work in order to get them. Therefore Father Juan Maria took pains to have a supply of them on hand using the hides of the cattle which were butchered and of the beasts of burden which died.

But it was not so easy to overcome the difficulty which the fathers encountered in opening trails to traverse the country. Nevertheless, the first enterprise at all the foundations was to open a road to Loreto,6 and after that to clear many other trails, making it possible to go to all the rancherias of each mission. But when there are so many of these, and when they are scattered so widely over the country, it will readily be understood what enormous labor the fathers had to expend in accomplishing a task so difficult and arduous. So enormous was it that Father Juan Maria, in a letter which he wrote to Father Juan de Ugarte,7 speaking of the difficulties which he had encountered in opening a road in the course of an expedition which was made, and of the opposition on the part of the soldiers to doing this work, remarks that if the settlement of California had not been made independently of admirals and captains, and with the presidio entirely subject to the fathers, it would have been impossible to achieve the conquest.8

It is this impossibility which the missionaries have surmounted by dint of their personal labor, the aid of the Indians already converted and civilized and the assistance of the soldiers. In order that the work might be fairly distributed among all the Indians, in proportion to the advantage which they would derive from the building of these roads, the fathers adhered to the following plan in making this distribution. First of all, they had a main highway camino real built through the center of the mission district extending through its entire area and running lengthwise from south to north. All the rancherias belonging to the mission worked together in building this road, for it was of common advantage to them all. Then each rancheria assumed the responsibility for building a special road leading from its settlement and joining the camino real which was, so to speak, the main trunk-line in which all the separate roads from the rancherias terminated. By this means connection was finally made with the headquarters of the mission.

When these roads were being built it was necessary for the father missionaries to be present and to direct the work. And they had to spend many days in moving about, circling hills and climbing peaks, in order from the summits to spy out the stopping places which were least inaccessible. Moreover, many tools were needed for distribution among the Indians-pickaxes, crowbars, hoes, sledge hammers, shovels, ordinary hammers, levers, ropes, and other tools of this sort. There was least work to be done in the stony areas on the hills and slopes. Yet even here the labors were very great. For the road had to be made wide enough for the passage of animals and pack-trains. The work crews spent many days in removing the loose stones from which they formed low walls or borders along both sides. Nor did they stop until they struck bedrock; thus in some places they dug to the depth of a vara9 and in others went even deeper, so that some of the roads were shaped like ditches or the canyons of streams.

Then came the harder work—the smoothing, insofar as that was possible, with sledge hammers, pickaxes, and crowbars of the outcroppings and jutting points of solid rock which barred the passage of travelers. When their tools did not avail they had recourse to fire in order to split the rocks and break them up; then they used levers and ropes in order to remove them and set them rolling into the barrancas and over the precipices. But the work was most painful and the difficulty greatest when they had to pass over the hills and mountains. This happened very often, since there would be no other place where they could build the road. Here they had to follow routes on steep slopes which fell away into barrancas. In such places they had to contend with the solidity of the mountains and the hardness of the rocks while they labored to break off outcroppings and sharp points and to clear away the stones great and small which lay in the way. In many narrow passes between the hills, where the powers of man were insufficient to break a trail, they were obliged to set thick stakes along the sides and to fill the intervening space with branches and the trunks of trees, putting earth on top, forming bridges, as it were, which would make it possible to pass from one side to the other in these ravines.

Now to obtain an idea of the total effort expended, all the labor which it has cost to build each road must be considered along with the length of the country thus far explored and conquered (which extends for three hundred leagues). Also there must be considered the multitude of roads built at each mission, from each rancheria to the head mission-not to mention others built in various localities for the purpose of crossing the country from coast to coast. (In the year 1717 these were already twelve in number, according to the report presented by Father JaimelO to the Viceroy). In all it will be found that the Father Visitor Joseph de Echeverríall did not exaggerate when in his letter of February 10, 1730, written to the Marques de Villapuente,12 he said, "on the building of roads—roads that were really passable—more work had been done in California in those thirty-four years than had been done in New Spain in the two centuries since its conquest was begun."




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