Carrizo Canyon


By: Trudie Hunt


To the west of the immense dry lake of the Laguna Salada, stretching at least 40 miles south and west of Mexicali, are numerous canyons filled unexpectedly with palms, Washingtoniana and the rare blue palm known only to lower California, elephant trees in profusion, hot springs for bathing, and fresh, cold water for drinking. Every where is evidence of the presence in earlier times of the Paipai Indians and the Cucapahs, whose shards, pots, arrowheads, trails, and mounds can be found by the observant.

About 50 Sierra Clubbers spent a relaxing, warm weekend, over the Thanksgiving holiday, in Guadalupe Canyon and its northern neighbor, Carrizo, accessible only to four-wheel drive vehicles and skilled desert drivers like Bob Bear, Ralph Merten, and Garver Light, assisted by considerable road rebuilding when high rocks and deep sand made passage hard.

ALL went well until Saturday evening, when high winds leveled tents, sent equipment flying, and rains, sent ill-prepared backpackers into the nearest vehicle. The hunts counted 10 in their truck before self-defense sent them to the protection of friendly caves.

Sunday dawned with more troubles: measles in one family, and a Buick with a dead battery which had to be pulled for miles until a straight sandy stretch permitted high speeds. As the Carrizo group headed home up the dry take, frightening reports came from a Mexican group of a hiker injured and lost on Risco Peak at the head of Guadalupe Canyon. Though four people had bivouacked in rain, winds and cold on the peak, all returned safety by noon Sunday.

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