Travels in the Sonoran Desert

(click on images to view galleries)

The 1975 trip to the Mexican state of Sonora, was done with two Volkswagens modified for off pavement travel. After one night in the Pinacate volcanic field, we drove to Caborca. From there we went through Magdalena, Cucurpe, and then Arispe on the Rio Sonora. Then for two days, further into the foothills of the Sierra Madre Occidental to Nacozari, and Represa Angostura, south to Huasabas and down to Hermosillo. Then a day along the Gulf coast from Bahia Kino to Puerto Libertdad and inland to near Caborca. And then two days of yawn-inducing paved highways and we were home again in Davis, CA.

In 1975 we spent one day and night in the Sierra Pinacate volcanic field near the northeastern reach of the Sea of Cortez. We returned again with more people in 1980 for several days. Back then, before the region became a reserva bosfera with a visitors center and campgrounds, it was merely a parque natural with nary a porta-pottie and a staff of one based in Puerto Peņasco. The parque employee, an ex-pitcher in a stateside AA baseball league, joined us as a guide. We covered a lot of ground, as you will see by the photos, in a unique part of the Sonoran Desert.
The Camino del Diablo is an ancient trail from Caborca, Sonora to the Yuma Crossing of the Colorado River. The Arizona segment which crosses through an Air Force gunnery range and a federal wildlife refuge has had no real development and looks about the same as it did when Father Eusebio Kino traveled it in 1699. (Aside from practice bombs and brass 50mm casings scattered about the landscape.) I've crossed the Camino three times, always in March, when the desert was in full bloom. The photos are from 1980 and 1983.

In 1987 the spring trip went into Baja California as far south as La Paz which is within 100 air miles from the Cabo. Our route took us off the pavement along the beaches of the west coast of Baja California (the state) and over the lava flows of the west slope of the Sierra de la Giganta in Baja California Sur. We had a botanist along with us on this trip who was able to identify the exotic endemic plants for us. Another high point was visiting several isolated inland towns which began as missions.

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Travels in the Sonoran Desert by Don Martinich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.