Christmas under the Boojum Tree

Christmas under the Boojum Tree

December 2022

After leaving the mountains of San Pedro de Martir and with it the snow, we headed back to the coast. Our goal was a campsite on the Pacific Ocean that we had found on iOverlander. It is still special to see that only the highway is paved, but otherwise all the streets are unpaved. It gives a dusty and chaotic picture in which everyone apparently finds their way. The last 18 kilometers to the campground were also unpaved. A little marriage crisis had to come up to get us through. It was definitely the worst road we have had so far. In the village of La Chorera we parked at Don Alvaro’s and were just in time to see the sun sink into the sea and ate delicious fish at Don’s place. We loved each other again.

We liked it here so much that we decided to stay two nights. The camping chairs were brought out, a few small things were done on the car, such as filling up the coolant and cleaning the air filter. Apart from that it was idle time. Christmas music was blaring loudly from the restaurant’s speakers. With the temperatures and the rushing waves in the background, however, no Christmas mood arose with us, even if today was the fourth Advent.

Campsite at Don Alvaro's Restaurant

Around noon, we set out on a beach hike with the goal of climbing the nearby Sudoeste volcano. From time to time a truck passed us on the sand. After a while we saw that one of the locals had a problem, the car got stuck in the sand and could not get away. We offered our help and after a few minutes and with three of us pushing, he was able to continue his journey. The volcano is located in the Reserva Natural Punta Mazo. It is not particularly high and was quickly climbed. From the top we had a fantastic view into the volcano crater and the beautiful surroundings. After a beautiful sunset, we enjoyed another delicious dinner in the restaurant at Don Alvaro.

For the way back from Don Alvaro to the highway, we were fortunately advised by other travelers to take another road. They told us of a dirt road along the coast and past the greenhouses. We reached the main road in record time and were glad that a second marriage crisis had not been necessary. We went in search of a place to refill our drinking water supply. It is not recommended to drink tapwater in Mexico, but we found an “Aqua Purificada” where we could refill our tank with filtered water for little money.

At Fidel’s RV Park in El Papellon, we parked our car directly on the beach next to a typical palapa. Overlooking the sea, we spent the next two days in this wonderful place. For 200 pesos a night we could even use the showers where aqua caliente, or hot water would come out which was indeed true. The six drops per minute that fell from the shower from top to bottom became hot after a while…very hot even, but to call it a shower was perhaps a bit too much.

Fidel's RV Park

It had been some time for us since we had taken a dip in (cold) water. After much thought, we came to the conclusion that the last time must have been in Glacier National Park. We put on our swimsuits and let the breaking waves carry us back toward the beach. No doubt it would not be the last time we would enter the water here although we hope the water in the Gulf of California on the other side of the Baja is warmer than the waters of the Pacific Ocean!

Highway 1 leaves the coast at the town of El Rosario and turns inland. We were heading for the other side, the Gulf of California. We followed the road through hilly no man’s land where the first large cacti soon appeared. Surely this is the picture we had of Mexico. In some places there were so many cacti that we had to get out taking a closer look. A number of species we recognized from Joshua Tree National Park, but the Cardon cactus and the Boojom Tree were new.

Boojum Tree
Boojum Tree
Cardon Cactus

We left the highway and turned right onto a dirt road. Among cacti and large blocks of stone we found a place to spend the night. We still had two hours before the sun would set and after a “coffee in the sun” we followed the dirt road on foot and enjoyed all the types of cacti and plants that grew here. As soon as we left the dirt path, we had to be careful not to accidentally bump into a cactus. The big strong spines know no mercy when one gets too close! We climbed on a large pile of boulders to get a better view of the sunset so we could see above the tops of the tallest cacti to watch them slowly change color. What a special place!

Even before we reached the village of Cataviña, which was still six kilometers away, we got out for a short walk to some cave paintings. The Cochimi Indians had lived in this area long before recorded time. One of their cave paintings is located in a jumble of boulders above a palm canyon with smooth granite rocks. It is not hard to imagine the natives went bathing and swimming in this paradise with natural rock pools. No wonder the Jesuits couldn’t convert them, when they tried around 1769. When one already lives in heaven, there is no need to be instructed on how to get there.

It was 9:30 in the morning and it was already warming up considerably. Bees and butterflies were busy looking for nectar in the few yellow and red flowers along the path. On top of a small hill we found the drawings hidden on the ceiling of a huge rock. We always find such moments impressive. Long ago the indigenous people probably hid under the same rock in the heat of the day and started drawing although we could not recognize exactly what the pictures wanted to tell us.

In Catavina at Cafe La Enramada we ate our first burrito in Mexico and the coffee actually didn’t taste bad at all. We then drove on to Bahia de Los Angeles located on the Gulf of California. We were not accustomed to the fact that the sun is rapidly heading towards the horizon as early as 4:00 pm. After we had done some shopping the sky was already slowly turning orange and we parked between some other RV’s on the stony beach along the bay.

La Gringa beach

A popular spot to spend the night and a number of pelicans thought so too. There was just a little time and light left, with a cup of tea in hand, to watch these imposing birds plunge into the water in front of us in search of a treat. We read on the internet that at dusk and early morning the coyotes appear on the scene. We had not yet put the seats away or the first one already made itself heard. About 100 meters behind our car on the other side of the lawn, one was howling as only a coyote can. Apparently, they are so used to humans because a second one turned up moments later right in front of our car at the water’s edge.

La Gringa beach

We enjoyed the sun and its warmth on La Gringa beach. The water of the Gulf of California felt as cold as that of the ocean on the other side. The tidal range here was considerable and at low tide, we had to be especially careful not to step on one of the many starfish left on the beach.

The headland on which we bivouacked went semi-circular until a trio of hills marked the end. Across the beach, we walked towards the hills hoping to climb them. From up there, we certainly had a better view of the water and with a bit of luck we could see a dolphin or whale swimming by. There was a strong wind from the east today and big waves pounded against the pebbles. Sometimes on all fours, we climbed up but helped by a good bit of tailwind, we were on top of the first of the three hills in no time. The blue waters of the Gulf were at our feet. Sheltering from the wind, sitting behind a rock was quite bearable here for a while. We didn’t see any whales, but that didn’t spoil the fun. The view over the Gulf with an island here and there was overwhelming.

It was Christmas Eve. Not that we suddenly got a Christmas feeling from beach, 20 degrees and flip-flops, but to keep Christmas from going all out this year we decided to look for a restaurant in the village and indulge in Mexican food. Klösse, Rotkohl or Kaninchen are just as easily exchanged for frijoles, pescado and biftec a la Mexicana.


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