Tajo Canyon


By: Ed Treacy


For a change of pace, Vi Grasso, Karl Bennett and Ed Treacy spent a Spring weekend "canyon bagging." Lured on by the description in John Robinson's "Camping in Baja," we set our sights on Tajo Canyon and off we went. Spent Friday night camped in the cemetery north of Calexico - probably the best spot in the area. Saturday morning we got down beyond Rancho Poderosa easily, but because of the several side roads in the area we made a couple of false passes before we got onto one of the better roads that led in toward the canyon - but no strain, when canyon bagging, time does not seem to be that critical.The hike in was a pleasant, very gradual ascent, class 1 most of the time, some bushwhacking but no catsclaw. Ran into water on schedule, then ran out of it - not on schedule - and, to our growing dismay, the further in we hiked, the drier the canyon seemed to get. This went on for nearly two hours before the stream surfaced again, and we were home free.

Camped in a splendid area - sandy, plenty of wood and water. Sunday was spent exploring further up the canyon - can't compete with John's excellent description. One intriguing feature was the condition of some of the palm trees - many of them had the dead fronds completely burnt away with no apparent harm to the trees. It hadn't been a fire as the phenomenon was spotty, the ground showed no sign of fire, and the condition existed even among isolated trees high on the canyon walls. Some reading disclosed that probably the extremely dry fronds, blown by the wind and rubbing against each other, set up static electricity with resultant sparks and ignition Nature's way of keeping an area clean.

This proved to be a pleasant weekend in an infrequently visited area - leisurely, suitable for family-style back pack trips. We were in there perhaps a little late. February might be a better time - the weather was warm and the snakes were starting to pop out although they were still pretty lethargic.

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