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As last night we had crashed into bed exhausted at only 21:10, it was not surprising that we were awake early around 6 a.m. and so managed to get Saturday and Sunday’s missives out.  We had breakfast in a glass box in front of the hotel, right on the sidewalk, with people rushing to work passing by. Makes a change from breakfast television!

In the past we would have raced from San Diego to San Quintin for our first Baja day – quite a stretch. But starting from Ensenada it was a nice leisurely drive along MEX1. Things seemed very lush and green with lots of yellow and orange wild flowers along the side of the road and up the hills. I had expected to spot some Ferocactus viridescens from the car as an excuse for a stop. They are not the most exciting taxon in the genus, but, as a completist, they are a must for a stop. But they tend to be closer to the ground then the lush vegetation, so not spotted from the car. Never mind, there is always the way back in some three weeks time.

And so we arrived in the San Quintin area, where SatNav warned us that we should turn west towards the group of long extinguished volcanoes where Dudley anthonyi grows in a very photographic setting of an old lava flow overlooking a marshy coast line. The lava rock is covered in lichen that are worth the visit in their own right and the Dudleya sit proudly on top: dark trunks about the diameter of my arm, covered in the remains of the old leaves, with a large rosette of white farina covered leaves on top. Friends in the UK who are qualified BCSS judges have told me that in cultivation you should tidy the plant by removing the old leaves. If I catch anyone doing that here I’ll report them to the Dudleya anthonyi Protection Society!

Dudleya anthonyi

Dudleya cultrata (?) was here as well, but this is a green leaved plant which blends in with the other vegetation and only calls your attention by its yellow buds.  Also found: numerous clumps of Echinocereus maritimus just coming into growth and flower, a Mammillaria that I assume to be M. dioica as there were no flowers or fruits to aid ID. And we did get our picture of Ferocactus viridescens, although Jonathan wonders if it might be F. fordii.

I also took many images of the field flowers. I should have remembered their names from previous post trip investigations, searching the internet and the various flora of Baja guides and books. As to the lichen, they are way outside my scope. There must have been at least a dozen taxa here I guess.

We stayed at Hotel Mision Santa Maria just south of San Quintin. This was the hotel that Alain and I failed to find in 2008, when in the dark, we drove into wet sand that had been dumped on the track to deal with a minor flood. Our Nissan Altima became firmly stuck in the sand but we were rescued by a group of Mexicans returning from a day’s fishing on the nearby beaches.  It is not the easiest of hotels to find, but well worth the effort as it is comfortable and reasonably priced with excellent food.

Tomorrow we head into the Catavina Boulder Fields!

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