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Author: Subject: Baja Days & Coyote Nights - A Trip Report
Fatboy
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:12 PM
Baja Days & Coyote Nights - A Trip Report


Planned a little trip to Baja and as life is wont to do it was changed drastically before I even left home.

My sister was moving to Joshua Tree and offered to pay my expenses to help with the move. Perfect! Most of the drive to Baja and I am able to help someone out on the way!

Originally this was going to be a solo trip. Perhaps spend some time poking around the hills near Walter Henderson’s reported rock pile, but, alas my daughter calls two days before I left and said the doctor said she could not work for two weeks due to a recent car accident.

So with a few changes in packing and plans we leave Northern California for Joshua Tree on March 30th. A day or so in Joshua Tree and on April 1rst we are on the road south to Palm Springs and Indio towards Mexicali and Baja.

A quick border crossing and we stop for FMM’s. We fill out the forms and it comes out to $780 peso or $50 for the both of us. I pay with a thousand pesos, receive a $120 pesos in change and we are off.

Mexicali goes smooth, Pemex stations have signs out offering $17.10 for dollars which is kind of sad since I exchanged my dollars for 15.5 to 1 on the US side which seemed to be the going rate. Oh well.

Even though I have been taking my daughter to Baja since before her second birthday, this is her first trip in several years and as she has matured and enjoyed the joys of work, relationships and responsibilities one finds in young adulthood she is now seeing Mexico with a new and fresh prospective.

Highway 5 was in good shape as we sped south, but not fast enough for many travelers whom seem to believe that this section of highway is a speed test and pass us going 70, 75, 80mph.

I also noticed several highway alignments since I last crossed at Mexicali 8 or 9 years ago.

Soon we are at the turnoff to Ensenada and heading westward. We are waved through the checkpoint without even stopping.

Heading towards Ensenada we started looking for dirt roads northwards towards Walter Henderson’s original camp area. We picked up a portion of an old race course full of whoops, loose rocks and washed out hills.

On one hill we came across this…? A Military outpost? Some ranchers winter camp?


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[Edited on 4-11-2016 by Fatboy]

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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:17 PM


We made it to Arroyo “Grande”, and headed westwards until the first major southbound fork and headed up it. We soon find a Stanley Thermos and wondered who was here and lost it.

This branch narrowed soon and we turned around and headed back to the main branch.

Following the main channel to the second major southbound branch we followed it for a mile or so and setup camp.

As the sun set and the desert came alive we watched the stars appear somewhat in the manner of making popcorn. First one, a pause, then another, then several at once pop, then it seems like all the remaining pop all at once which is followed by silence and a sky full of a billion stars.


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Fatboy
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:20 PM


A coyote starts the chorus and in an instant there is a cacophony of yips and yaps as they discuss the upcoming night and we humans fall asleep under the constellations looking for shooting stars.

Waking early the next morning we laze around camp since my daughter is unable to go hiking because of her injury and I contemplate the reasons for these horrible migraines and wallow in self-pity until the medications starts to take the edge off the pain.

On the rough road in to our campsite yesterday a couple of things happened, one is that the water jug tipped and spilled about a half-gallon of water in the back of the Jeep which lead to a swarm of bees in the Jeep this morning.

Since we were staying here for the day we did not disturb them as they drank all day from this unexpected water source and just used extra caution whenever we had to retrieve anything from the Jeep.

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Fatboy
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:22 PM


The other noteworthy item was the Jeeps secondary radiator fan cracked.

A little field repair involving baby wipes, prayers and duct tape would see us through the trip but we did have to reapply the prayers and duct tape every couple of days.

Early afternoon I was feeling somewhat better I went for a four-mile hike.

No rock pile was found but it was a nice hike. I arrive back at camp at dusk and have a repeat of the previous evenings light and sound show.


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[Edited on 4-11-2016 by Fatboy]

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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:28 PM


Another cool quiet morning as we pack up and prepare to retrace our path back to Highway 3.

All goes well, if not slowly, and we reach the pavement where we break out the compressor to air up the tires and we are off to San Felipe.

On the road out I realize that 780 plus 120 does not add up to 1000. Quick ain’t I? Immigration just got an extra $100 peso from me. Oh well.

At the checkpoint a quick question or two and we are on the way.

San Felipe has added to the outskirts since our last visit 2 years ago. All we need is passage through and we are off to points southwards.

We stop to help a couple that are broken down about 10 miles south of San Felipe. They had run out of gas the previous evening and had been there all night without water or food.

What has happened to us in this day and age when we feel it is unnecessary to stop and provide aid to our fellow humans?

After adding some gas and jumpstarting their dead battery they are on their way northwards while we continue southward. Filling up with fuel in Puertocitoes, we head south to Alfonso’s for lunch and fill up our water jug at the store across the highway in Gonzaga Bay.

There is still a military checkpoint a little north of Gonzaga Bay where there was a quick inspection and they wrote down where we have been, where we were going and my name and let us proceed on our way.

We followed the new pavement across the level plain into the hills were it soon ends a few miles before Coco’s.

We pass the turn off to Calamajue, slam on the brakes and after a quick discussion we decided to go to Calamajue. Backing up to the turn off we our off on new roads and adventures.

I have never been to Calamajue and it is immortalized for me by Graham’s chapter about it in his book Into A Desert Place. That is one good thing about being flexible, it is easy to bend with the winds.

This was some of the driest and most parched section of desert we would see on the whole trip.


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[Edited on 4-13-2016 by Fatboy]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 05:34 PM


Ahh, Calamajue.

Quite the experience, the empty shacks, the abandoned pangas, the deserted processing buildings.

After setting up camp and stringing up the hammocks I go for a walk exploring the area. I jump a coyote in the brush behind the beach.

A little while after we arrive a pickup also arrive and parks on the beach a little ways from us. Two locals hop out. One of them changes into a wetsuit and heads down to the water and does a little spearfishing.

After 30 minutes or so he leaves the water and changes back in to clothes and starts fishing with a handline.

After another 30 minutes or so he switches to a fishing pole. The whole time the person he is with just hangs out on the beach with him.

With the fishing pole they work their way out to the point where a panga shows up and picks them up and brings them back to the beach.

Well this seems odd so far.

At this point it is late afternoon, almost evening time. The two fisherman from the boat and the two men from the truck are all at the truck chatting for awhile as dusk comes on and stars start coming out.

Now they unload a barrel of something, water? fuel? from the truck into the boat.

Then they slide a big bin to the back of the pickup and start filling a couple of large ice chests with ice from the bin.

O.K. they are here to resupply some fisherman camped somewhere south of here. That makes sense.

At this point the sun has set and it is in that grey twilight time when they prepare to launch the boat, which makes sense, except the driver of the pickup also gets in the boat and into the gloaming the three of them motor off, leaving us wondering and the passenger from the pickup is over there starting a fire.

Well this is odd.

All evening and until I drifted off to sleep the pickup passenger is down the beach from us fueling the fire, whistling and singing out loud.

Around 1 AM I am awakened by the sound of the boat returning and dropping off the driver of the pickup.

Early the next morning I awaken to the sun rising from the depths of the gulf, two coyotes pacing the beach and the pickup passenger singing as he collects firewood behind the beach. Hmmmmm.



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[Edited on 4-13-2016 by Fatboy]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 06:23 PM


Part Two after the BBQ....
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 06:45 PM


Excellent, thanks for sharing.
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 06:48 PM


We pack up and head out and head south through the pass and the wash to Highway 1 instead of going back to Coco’s Corner and on to Highway 1.

We stop at the mineral spring and walk around.


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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 06:53 PM


At Preita we turn off to BOLA.

The road starts off well enough but the closer one gets to BOLA the worse it gets. There are a few detours as they rebuild some of the bridges and there are many sections with no pavement.

We fill up with BIFF (Beer, Ice, Food and Fuel) in BOLA and are on our way to Las Animas. The road is about average with slightly different routing in the washes a few miles from Las Animas.

A couple of observations, not accurate, just mine, seems that there are fewer basura cans along the roads and a lot less traffic on the road.

Even approaching Las Animas I was expecting the first couple of campsites to be occupied but what actually occurred was twice as shocking.

The first two spots were empty, the place seemed deserted. We stopped at the ‘nicest’ campsite on the way in thinking how lucky…deserted. We stop and get out and hear English, lots of English.

Following the many voices we cross over a dune and there in all its majestic hideousness we see it. 30, 40, 50 campers! I was shocked.

All right, no camping here. We follow the road out to the north facing beach and set up camp. Even here, a ¼ mile away we would hear the mob camped on the beach south of us.


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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 06:58 PM


After some more stargazing we fall asleep on the beach.

In the morning we see a coyote over by the mangroves and my daughter says she thinks one tried to take the blanket she was using as a pillow last night.

We spend the day beachcombing, relaxing, climbing hills, shell collecting, dolphin watching.

There are the remains of a large turtle on the beach.

As the day ends and darkness settles in we walk the beach after dark looking for crabs.


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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 07:02 PM


Around 3:30AM I am attacked by a coyote.

Awakened from a sound sleep by a bite to my head.

The coyote trots off thirty feet and stares at us. We stand up and yell at it and it runs away.

We grab the flashlights and see eyes glowing in the darkness about 100 feet away. A couple of rocks thrown in their direction and the eyes disappear.

We return to camp and clean the bite wound. We lay down but are too keyed up and slightly frightened to fall asleep until shortly before dawn.

Awakening the next morning shortly after sunrise we pack out and leave Las Animas to the tourist mob, annoying little flies and the biting coyotes and head out.



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soulpatch
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 07:15 PM


Wow, great so far.
That must've been a hungry coyote or your hair just smelled extra delicious.
Hope that cleaned up OK.
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 07:21 PM


Well done on the report! Las Animas and Calumajue were two places I planned on checking out on the trip I was forced to cancel this season.

This takes ALL the burn out of staying home and following other people's trips on this forum!





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"Could do better if he tried!" Report card comments from most of my grade school teachers. Sadly, still true!
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 07:28 PM


TMW....Thanks

soulpatch.... If some told me a week that they were attacked by a coyote it would have went in the file with the Bigfoot and UFO sightings... now doing research afterwards it seems this is actually becoming a serious issue... hopefully no rabies


[Edited on 4-11-2016 by Fatboy]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 08:24 PM


Fantastic!!! Love the pics, story, unusual happenings, drama!! Great work!!!



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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 08:29 PM


We decide to head out via El Barril and El Arco instead of heading back to BOLA. Another new road for us.

We hit Hwy 1 south of Guerro Negro and made a beeline for town.

In town we did some laundry, filled up the water jug and our bellies before heading north.

We filled up the fuel tank in Villa Jesus Maria, went through the military checkpoint north of town.

About 10 miles south of the turn of to the mission of San Borja we take a dirt track out to the pacific ocean to camp for the night.

I am sure this area has a name but I do not know it but here are some pictures....

[Edited on 4-11-2016 by Fatboy]

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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 08:33 PM


This is the first time I heard of someone (adult) being attacked by a coyote while camping/sleeping. My brother had one grab his water bottle near his head one night. I guess the more they are around humans the braver they get. Hope you are OK.
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 08:42 PM


Me too but read I the Wikipedia page on coyote attacks ... 19 year old Canadian was killed a few years back .... of course it was by the "coywolf" but lots of attacks last twenty years


[Edited on 4-11-2016 by Fatboy]
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[*] posted on 4-10-2016 at 08:49 PM


Sorry to see the arch gone but they replaced it with this...


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