Cerro Piedra Sacrificios


By: John Robinson



Clear skies and cool air greeted the 34 of us who met Saturday morning in La Rumorosa, a small town about 50 miles west of Mexicali on Mexico Highway #2. After gassing up, we caravaned south across the vast Sierra Juarez plateau, bound for a weekend of exploring this pinyon and jeffry pine-covered tableland.

Our first destination was a peak on the eastern escarpment that dominates the northern Sierra Juarez labelled "Cerro Piedra Sacrificios" (Mountain Of the Sacrificial Stone) on some old Mexican maps. But we were unable to find the right dirt road to get within striking distance, so instead we made the steep but short climb of "Chichi de La India' (Breast of the Indian). A side road that leaves the main La Rumorosa-Laguna Hanson road 9-1/2 miles south of the highway leads within a half mile of the peak on the south side. From the summit of the basaltic nipple, we enjoyed a sweeping panorama that extended from Mt. San Jacinto south almost to the Gulf of California.

Afterwards we drove some ten miles further south, then detoured east through the old mining country of La Milla and El Progresso, sites of gold strikes in the 1870s. After lunch, we followed an old mining trail from El Progresso east two miles through a beautiful pinyon forest, and suddenly arrived on the rim of Canyon Tajo. Here, atop a ridge exposed on three sides, we gazed down into the deep gorge. Two thousand feet below we saw hundreds of rare Blue Palms, several pools of water, and two small waterfalls. The Sierra Juarez may be gentle on top, but its eastern scarp is exceedingly abrupt, dropping some 4000-5000 feet to the Laguna Salada basin.

That afternoon we drove on south to our overnight camp at Laguna Hanson, a shallow blue lakelet with excellent camping facilities. Signs informed us that we were in "Parque Nacional de Constitucion de 1857', that we should be careful with fire, and that hunting is prohibited. Sunday morning, after a cool, windy night under the jeffrey pines, a Mexican forest ranger paid us a visit and collected the one dollar per car camping fee.

After breakfast most of us caravaned southeast five miles and scrambled to the top of a boulder-stacked picacho for a superb view of the Laguna Hanson high country. This region is covered with numerous granite picachos poking their stony crown a few hundred feet above the forested plateau. No one peak rises noticeably higher than the others but from our summit we were able to see El Picacho del Diablo some sixty miles to the south.

After lunch back near Laguna Hanson we turned homeward, taking the long western foothill road back to Highway #2. By 5:00 p.m. we were across the border at Tecate, having completed a very enjoyable weekend exploring by car and by foot the Sierra Juarez

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