El Picacho del Diablo, Providencia Canyon

Feb 1992

By: Carl Johnson


Since my last Baja' list mailing in January, I have been to some great places and seen some wonderful sights. It's a thrill for me every time I go around a bend in a canyon, look over a ridge, come upon a waterfall, peer into a deep stream pool, or discover or re-discover a unique place. I think that I am so fortunate to be able to go to these special places that only those willing to exert themselves can experience.

In February, between winter rain storms, Charles Hummel, Terry Flood, Gerhard Japp and I backpacked up Canon Providencia, on the eastern side of the Sierra San Pedro Martir, Baja California. The newer road on the eastern side of Santa Clara Dry Lake, instead of the old road down the middle of the lake, certainly makes it much easier driving to the Canon Providencia and Diablo trailheads, especially since there was some water in the lake bed. Because of the wet lake bed and forecasted rain storms, we saw almost no indications of other people at the local ranchos, the local Ejido, or for that matter in the entire valley. The hike up the canyon was beautiful, with very little signs of previous hikers, waterfall after waterfall, and a spectacular set of class 4-5 granite encased waterfalls, El Bano del Rey, which we wisely traversed around because of the wet rocks. Due to our limited time and the long traverse, we made it only to just below Ten Tier Waterfalls at the base of the snow covered Picacho del Diablo summit. Back at our base camp, I found a difficult to be seen, protected cave that had a very old bow (as in bow and arrow) lying on the floor, probably from the Paipai Indians. Upon our return to the trailhead, we discovered that someone had broken a window on my truck, taking most of its contents and ripping out the radios. This is the first time I have ever had this happen to me - I hope it is the last! We were able to drive across the dry lake just before a huge rain storm arrived, which would have made the lake an undrivable slippery mess. We talked to a caretaker at a nearby rancho (that oddly enough had lots of peacocks and other exotic birds) who said that the break-in was not locals" but someone from the city. Despite the one "problem", the trip was, as usual, a first class adventure. Sometime I would like to hike up Canon Diablo again, to the peak, and then down Canon Providencia.

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