The Interview: Trudi Angell

“I had the desire to travel and hike in my blood”

Trudi Angell first visited Baja California Sur in 1976 during a school trip to Mulegé. She later returned to Mulegé to learn kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, and gun fishing. In perfect Spanish, she recalls, “I started studying in sixth grade in the U.S., and I always got A’s on my tests.” She reflects on her arrival on the peninsula and the history she created as a tour guide on Baja California Sur’s ancient roads, such as the Camino Real, that connected the peninsula’s missions. “I feel even more affinity here, with the people of the region,” she says in Palma de Ávila, the first place to camp where Tendencia team reached on this journey

“I’m celebrating forty years of living in Loreto, almost fifty of having come here for the first time; a lifetime,” says Trudi. Her eyes sparkle with joy as she reminisces about her teenage years in Calistoga, California. She fondly remembers taking care of tame horses at the age of 13 in her hometown, located in the Napa Valley, north of San Francisco. Nowadays, she celebrates 20 years of being a “proudly Mexican” citizen. These days, she is also celebrating twenty years of having her citizenship: “proudly Mexican,” says

It’s hard to imagine Trudi as the shy girl she describes herself as. He had never imagined, he says, that he would be in front of people talking about what he learned in the years of touring old California, as he chooses to call it. “I was a little shy, but active, in fact, since I am of Swiss descent, I had in my blood the desire to travel and go on hikes, outdoor experiences, with backpacks and all that,” says Trudi.

Trudi Angell is an ambassador for those who live in the rancherías. But her work is also related to the seventh art, since she is producer and co-director with Darío Higuera Meza of the documentary La Recua. The film is about the life of Darío Higuera Meza, a cowboy from the Southern Californian desert who dreams of making, perhaps, the last “recua” – a journey of 300 kilometers, twenty days on the back of mules and horses, along the Camino Real from the heart of the Sierra de la Giganta to La Paz, just like his ancestors did.

How do you know Darío?

With my three-year-old daughter strapped to my belly and a pillow in the saddle, we rode for five hours. I could barely see any road as it was nothing but hills and the canyon. We arrived at the home of Dario Higuera Meza’s family, and it turned out to be a fortunate day for both families. From that day on, my journey included making excursions around the same canyons and visiting Dario’s ranch to introduce people to a true Californian from the past. He has preserved the history, traditions, and knowledge of the uses of plants. It was a great day; meeting him was a blessing and a stroke of good fortune.

And how was La Recua born?

In 2017, Dario, who had been giving tours for 25 years, was showing the rigs and saddles to a group of tourists. As he explained the history, he suddenly stopped and looked at Trudi, his translator, and said, “Trudi, I’m turning 70 soon, and I’ve always wanted to take a recua as my grandfather did. I want to travel on the old roads, on a donkey carrying cargo and merchandise from one ranch to another, all the way to the city of La Paz. ” He added, “I want it to be f ilmed.” Trudi said, ‘I’ll help you’. Although she never imagined what it would entail. But it was a good experience, and they were both very grateful to Dario for his inspiration, imagination, and enthusiasm. He put a lot of effort into making it happen.

During that time, I had to search for funding and people to handle the filming and technical aspects. It was quite a daunting task, but thankfully, we were able to successfully overcome those challenges. The project brought us many benefits and was a great honor to have accomplished

How have you changed over the 40 years you’ve lived here to become the guide you are today?

For many years, I guided kayak trips. I also started taking groups to the sea at the age of 28, cooking and serving people on the beaches on the route between Mulegé and La Paz. Sometimes, I would be paddling and camping for weeks. In 1985 or 1986, I was fortunate enough to meet Timoteo Means from Baja Expeditions in La Paz, And he and his wife invited me to go out to the Sierra de San Francisco Canyon, where the cave paintings are located.

I didn’t know anything about cave paintings, but they invited me to go horseback riding, even though I had sold my horses many years ago. I also didn’t know anything about mules and how athletic and well-suited they are for this landscape. Within two weeks, I bought a mule and started travelling north of San Javier. My first long trip on mule was on the same route you are doing now, leaving from the San Javier mission, and arriving in San José de Comondú

What kind of experience do tourists have when they travel on these trails?

Tourists may have preconceived notions of taking a tour through the Sierra to visit cave paintings or a mission, but they learn much more than expected. They discover the beauty of the people who live there How hospitable and caring they are, how attentive they are to every detail to ensure their guests feel safe during their visit. The hospitality and kindness stay with the tourists even after they leave, and they feel enriched by having shared their lives with these Californians.

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