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San Ignacio

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

My final morning in Bahia Los Angeles started with the sound of pelicans hitting the water. They had been working my little section of beach pretty hard the whole time I was there, but Monday was the first time they were fishing before sunrise. The rhythmic splashing of pelicans combined with the growing light of the coming day made for a perfect alarm clock. After several days (how many was it?) on this beach I was actually well enough rested to be happy about getting up before 6:00.

By the time I got back from walking the beach with the camp dogs, Josh had gone off to some Canadian's RV to cook up omelets for breakfast. John had stoked the fire back up and was fiddling with his guitar. I reluctantly began packing up the Jeep in between a couple of swim breaks, and a bit of stick throwing for the dogs. Anything to delay my departure.

After breakfast I finally admitted that it was time to leave Campo Archelon. The pelicans were still swooping low over the palapa as I left. Josh and John waved from the water's edge, and exchanged a look that could only say “and he's leaving because???”

The road out was just as beautiful as it was on my way in, and as soon as I left the Cortez behind me I was absorbed in the desert again. I have no idea how many species of cactus live out here, but I'm willing to bet it's all of them. I am constantly amazed at the sea of green that rolls out in front of me every time I rise over a mountain pass, or come around a sharp bend. I had expected a vast reddish orange wasteland dotted with skinny cows and the occasional spindly cactus or tumbleweed. But this is altogether something different. This desert is practically lush, and as I traveled South it just kept getting better.

My destination for the day was the little coastal town of Mulege, but I wanted to take a break in San Ignacio on my way. I had been told to check out the Mision, and the lagoon system looked pretty inviting as well. Along the road I stopped a few times to wander around in the desert and check out plants, and look for birds. By the time I got to San Igancio I decided to go ahead and stay the night. I set up camp on the edge of the river, and headed into town to wander around the Mision and see what else the town had to offer. Not a lot it turns out. San Igancio is really quite nice, but really quite small as well. The whole tour takes about 15 minutes on foot, plus the time you spend at the Mision. I decided to do my part for the local economy by buying a Mexican cowboy hat and a case of beer. Then it was time to go for a paddle.

The lagoon at San Ignacio is fresh water, and thus is surrounded by huge palm trees. It's a real honest to God oasis in the middle of the desert. Seems the missionaries were pretty good at finding these places, and if you do the Baja Mision tour, you're likely to see every natural spring on the peninsula. If you have a kayak on your car because you're headed to the coast, treat yourself to a lazy paddle on one of these natural lagoons, and you'll be amazed at how relaxing it can be to drift around in a placid sea of gently swaying palms. I spent the better part of the afternoon out there checking out every corner of my own private paradise. Needless to say, the birds outnumbered the dogs, which outnumbered the people by a healthy margin.

After darkness fell, I got out of my boat and poked around camp for a while. Shortly I decided that this would be a good night to get some writing done, so I headed into town to find a restaurant with electricity so that I could plug in for a while and type away. I ended up at a place called Rice & Beans, and started dumping both of my camera memory cards into the computer and trying to sort through the pictures I'd taken in the last few days.

A pack of dirt bike riders from Canada were holding court in Rice & Beans that night, and soon I found myself talking to the troublemakers of the group with a shot of tequila in my hand. Work stopped getting done right about then. When someone introduces themselves to you as “Keg” you know where the night is going. My went like this:

“Hey... I'm Keg... my nickname's Keg on Legs, but everyone just calls me Keg. How about a shot of tequila?”

“Well... shit.”

And it went downhill from there. The next morning I deleted most of the pictures I took at Rice & Beans, but I saved one good one of Keg aka Kegger Knowles, and a couple of blurry ones that convey the feeling of the evening fairly well.


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