Chichi de la India
By: John Robinson
Sierra Juarez Exploratory
One doesn't usually expect to drive through snow, slush, mud, and water in Baja California, but 45 DPSERS and guests in 19 cars did just that over the first week of the New Year. Our destination was the high pine and picacho tableland of Baja's primitive Sierra de Juarez, an area visited only on rare occasions by DPS members. With an 8 AM meeting in La Rumerosa a small and sleepy Mexican town on Highway 2, our 16-car caravan followed, south over a rather muddy dirt road. In the distance could be seen snowy peaks and ridges, the whiteness a result of a heavy storm that hit the high country only two weeks before.
Eight miles south of the highway we branched left on narrow dirt tracks toward a pointed, symmetrical, picacho that dominates the skyline of the northern Sierra Juarez. This peak known as Chichi de la India (Breast of the Indian) is well named. A count of 26 of the party made the short, easy scramble for rewarding views atop the rocky summit. Unlike its southerly sister range, the San Pedro Martir, the Sierra Juarez has no dominating peaks, just miles and miles of rolling tablelands punctuated on occasions by miniature picachos-and all this readily available to view from Chichi.
Sat PM we drove on to the south to our destined campsite at Laguna Hanson. After reaching the 5,000' contour, we encountered more and more snow, along with pools of water. The reaching of the Laguna amounted to several struggling hours for the last 15 miles. With several cars bogged, 4-wheel drivers came to the rescue. The Laguna was a mighty welcome sight that evening.
We camped in a wonderfully sheltered pine flat, surrounded by huge boulders, just west of the shallow lakelet. Just before nightfall, three more care joined us in camp, victims of the Tecate border crossing (mark in your book that the office opens at 8 AM). The night was a cold 12 degrees but we were fortunate in having Bud Bingham with us, whose fire-making abilities are renowned. Sun AM there were 20 who attempted a rocky picacho just west of camp. Most turned back after a meet with high 4th class near the summit and only Bep Bingham made it with a different route. We drove out via Ensenada, and the coast Highway. This high pine and rocky country is certainly worth more camping and hiking time with the DPS. This area has something that is becoming increasingly less evident north of the border-a primitive undeveloped wilderness. Leaders for the event were John Thornton and the writer.
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