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Yes folks, we’re back to where we started on our first night in Mexico, 13 nights ago. We skipped the getting stuck in the sand this time. Our laptops even remembered the key to the wifii link!

Why so fast? Well, we hung about at Bahia de Los Angeles but the people who Ruth (the manageress) had tried arrange to take us to the islands all said that it was too windy and dangerous. So, disappointed, we left around 9:30 and headed north, making 9 fairly brief stops in all, but what stops!! and skipped lunch and drove until the sun was about to set. This way we may have more time around San Felipe on the east coast later or at San Diego, before Alain flies home.

The ‘many brief stops’ strategy is right for our first time and ‘tarmac only’ transport. We do not know of any ‘San Ramon equivalent’ 1 day hikes. We got the impression that what you see between Mex 1 and 500 meters away from it is roughly the same as if you walked 10 km away from the road, so nothing to be gained. Instead, we are filling in the gaps from the journey down and allowing ourselves to be distracted by obvious things that we simply missed or that weren’t there – such as Yucca, 2 species now coming in flower that were not even in bud 2 weeks ago.

Things look even greener now, so we also include stops to record that fact. And, because we are making different over night stops, we are now passing things at noon that on the way down we passed too early in the morning or too late at night.

Today included a stop we called Fero Maximus, as the plants here were so abundant that it started to look like a field of C. columna-alba. They can get up to 2 m tall and just like columna-alba, they lean to the ‘sun at noon’ (here the south) and eventually fall over when they  become top-heavy. Unlike Copiapoa, they are extremely dark in spine (deep red, I’m told) and epidermis – no white wax here!!!!

Not too long afterwards, we saw some Platyopuntia that looked nice as the sun was getting low in the sky. We had only gone 3 miles from ‘Fero Maximus’. As we started lining up the first shot, it became clear that we had arrived at ‘Cactus Maximus’ as I could count 9 different species in a single shot! That count increased dramatically when we started to walk around, falling over Mams in flower, Echinocereus clumps (possibly E. engelmannii) and, according to Alain, up to 8 different species of Opuntia! And we didn’t even bother counting the ‘other succulents’ – Agave (2), Yucca (2), Euphorbia (1 – E. misera) and a Dudleya. As a result, today is the first time that I managed to fill a 2 Gig card! (that’s 459 images – and I have not added the pictures from my Coolpix yet!)

The temperature has been in the high 50’s but that’s ideal for walking in the field. It was very sunny so I’m glowing and my deep tan looks reddish again (but no pain).

Well, dinner calls and then I’ll fall into bed.

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