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After leaving San Ignacio, heading north MEX1 passes through the rather featureless eastern edge of the Vizcaino Desert. I was looking for a right turn to take us to San Francisco the la Sierra but turned off too soon at Microondas Abulon, only to find the track blocked by a heavy duty gate after some 30 meters. Pity. Yet, as we were there we decided to take a look around (S3010) and found Mammillaria dioica, ‘fat trees’ (Bursera sp?), Fericactus sp, Coryopuntia invicta, Echinocereus brandegeei, Agave sp, and a Mam. sp where the name escapes me for now. Not a bad crop!

S3011 was the earlier intended turning. and it had greatly improved since 2011 with the first 29 km out of 37 now glorious smooth new asphalt. What a shame that the did not complete the task – the last stretch was torturous.

It seemed that the wonderful crested Ferocactus has been a victim if the road improvement scheme. A nice Fero with its apex damaged some time back had now developed into an attractive multiheaded plant, I believe I counted 9 heads. The Fero here was F peninsulae while farther along they grew alongside F. emoryi ssp rectispinus. Echinocereus brandegeei was here too, but again it was the less attractive grey spined form rather than the sought after yellow spined form seen farther south around Mulege. At the top of the hill we had great views over the Vizcaino Desert where some low hills stuck out above the sea fog like islands.

As the quality of the track went down, so did our speed and may be because of this we were able to spot more cacti along the side of the road: a short spined form of Echinocereus engelmannii and Mammillaria (Cochemia) setispinus.  High on the cliff faces, where we had seen them during our last visit, were Dudleya rubens.

Just past the village, all these plants were joined by various Cylindropuntia and by Myrtillocactus cochal, both in flower and in fruit.

A Mexican ‘cowboy’ on his mule posed, followed by two donkeys carrying water containers. A few minutes later it became clear that they were the guide and porters for a couple of US hikers who followed. As a non-essential hiker it did not make much sense to me – why bark when you have a dog?

I thoroughly recommend this detour to break up the tedium of today’s drive.

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