Tajo Canyon


By: Trudie Hunt


One of the most beautiful and carefully planned trips was enjoyed by the Werners and the Hunts with the San Diego Chapter the last weekend of March. We assembled as Rumarosa west of Mexicali at 9 Saturday to caravan to the head of Tajo Canyon, 25 miles down a dirt road through the Sierra Juarez.

At noon we hiked, 23 of us, to the head of the canyon with gorgeous views of the Laguna Salada, 40 mile long dry lake, then dropped in three miles 3000 feet by a steep Indian, miner improved trail to the rugged canyon.

Randall Henderson, in the June 1948 issue of Desert Magazine, tells of this same trip, counting 4400 blue (Washington) palms along his way. As we went through the canyon on the faint Indian trail following water and palms, we could well believe this figure. The head walls of Tajo look like the great white throne at Zion, a rock climbers paradise.

Bud Bernard and two scouts had ducked the Indian trail the day before leaving crepe streamers and cairns to guide our way from one side of the canyon to the other, keeping us from the stream bed, deceptively sandy in spots but leading to huge boulders and impassable falls.

The last two hours at the mouth of the canyon were hot and dry. Surely it must have been a mirage when we were greeted in this remote desert with iced lemonade, followed shortly by a pit barbecued 26 pound turkey, 40 pounds of tenderloin beef, tortillas and chili beans. A truly festive way to greet weary travelers and celebrate the engagement of the leader, Myron Smith, to Nancy Munger of Glendale.

We really covet the opportunity to lead this spectacular canyon for the Angeles Chapter with the help of Bud Bernard, yet can offer no such reward at the end of the arduous 15 mile, 5000 foot elevation loss backpack.

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