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Author: Subject: El Carrizo Canyon(Sierra Juarez)
Neal Johns
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[*] posted on 5-17-2005 at 11:58 PM


I don't think a two wheel vehicle will make it to Agua Caliente in June. Rancho Palomar should be OK, maybe with a little help.

Yes, the route east from CJ is the way to go. I have never been able to find the complete route shown on the AAA and Almanac! You 2wheel friend will have to be towed up the far steep/soft bank of the arroyo you immediately cross after leaving CJ. There is also some soft sand seveal miles later near the edge of Laguna Salada. It is level so if he has big tires aired down he will probably make it.

You u]might
see some cars on the way to Guadalupe but not afterwards.

The only water in June is at Guadalupe, a rancho just south of the lodge if anyone is there, Palmita, the Pai Pai rancho and Agua Caliente. And at Rancho Lone Palm Canyon if anyone is there.




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[*] posted on 5-18-2005 at 08:25 AM


Your friend needs to drop his tires' air pressure for soft sand... it works... keep up the momentum as well.



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[*] posted on 5-18-2005 at 08:33 PM


Hmmmm, good to stop and consider...
I wonder how my '83 Land Cruiser will act if it has to pull this big Dodge Ram a few miles through soft sand or up over a boulder field...and if my tow rope will sustain such work...his truck is big, with a V8, and I fear that big engine will just dig itself in real deep through the sand- the tires are stock, I think 85R16's. That truck might be too big...(???????)
Airing down our tires is of course a must, but I worry it won't be enough, at least for the Ram. And I also am unsure of what effect the extra weight he may be carrying will have on driving conditions in the sand. Momentum!!!!
Well, nontheless if we make it to El Palomar I'll be satisfied, perhaps save Agua Caliente for another day when more a more appropriate vehicle is along for the ride. But temptation...temptation...ah why go gettin this poor Ram stuck in the sand successively? Could be worth it though...won't really be sure unitil that vicious sun is beating on our backs mercilessly, then everybody along for the drive is going to wonder what the hell we're doing down in this rancid inferno...it'll proabably be between 105 and 110 degrees. No time or place to be stuck for too long...I think we'll all become fully converted members of some faith or other once down there, up against such weather. Odds against us stacked up higher than the Sierra Juarez watching above...
Thanks again friends...the advice is well heeded. More is appreciated...and needed!(seeing as how I might be crazy enough to go down in there still, a least to El Palomar and out Cabajuzo Jct to the highway, but may suffer from a case of "110 degree chicken-out".)
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Neal Johns
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[*] posted on 5-18-2005 at 09:03 PM


If either of you get really, really, stuck in the sand, 10-15 pounds pressure works wonders. Truck Air is a good cheap compressor ~$40 to air back up if you go that low.



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[*] posted on 5-18-2005 at 09:53 PM


You can put some wider 75r16 tires on it and end up with the same height. I changed 235-85 r 16's for 265-75 r 16 and gained about a inch in width right now. Then air down to 10-15 and you should be able to get thru most.

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[*] posted on 5-18-2005 at 11:43 PM
Safety first


I am one of those crazy types that WILL take backroads alone(with the dog). Being a past mechanic with a lot of off road experience I take along enough tools, jacks etc. to cover some serious scenarios. I eventually though got tired of repairing enroute my 68 Dodge Power Wagon(one of the first Baja Big-foots)and bought a new truck. Although I haven't been broken down YET, I have had some scary encounters with sand, big rocks and deceiving salt flats. I also have a Sat phone and keep it fully charged with a set of important phone numbers. Always be ready to stay a week if you become stranded.



Methinks YOU need a better emergency escape plan. If you and your buddy get stuck in the wrong place you may need a sat phone yourself. I have been stuck in the middle of nowhere just to have everyone else coming to the rescue get stuck themselves (Mallirrimo) I was finally able to air down enough to get my tires on some plywood strips we brought. We used the winch and a sand anchor to eventually free the rest the same way. Be as prepared as possible. A good thread:
http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=9718#pid73288
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[*] posted on 5-19-2005 at 04:47 PM


Thanks, sharksbaja...

Well, I think we'd turn back before getting in sand too deep, but that's what they all say! Then end up getting stuck turning around.
What kind of engine-strain(4.2 liter straight-6, 4X4) are we looking at in regards to towing???
Oh, got a good Inter-Dynamics air compressor.

Thanks for the email, Neal...that explains all the empty cocaine barrels out on Laguna Salada(just kidding)...and how far from Agua Caliente do you think a 2wd will make it? Is hiking in or shuttling possible?
Although I don't plan on it, does leaving that are via El Mano grade seem possible, or does this offer challenges beyond the scope of a 2wd? Provided we can reach El Palomar, its either El Mano, Cabajuzo, or turn back to Mexicali and come down Highway 5 the long way to get to San Felipe.

Also, for David K(or anyone else), on Valle Chico-
How do you think a 2wd vehicle of the above posted specifications would fair en route to Matomi? I've only been as far as Ejido Agua Caliente. Is the road much the same from there south to Matomi? En route to Agua Caliente, coming from El Dorado ranch, I only used 4X4 at the dunes near Morelia/Huatamote wash and in Agua Caliente Canyon on the rocks and boulders, but I think a 2wd could make it. As far as Matomi, Parral and the road south of Ej. Agua Caliente, I don't know.
Also, might it be better for a 2wd to avoid the dunes(East Valley rd.) and take the West Valley road coming from the south end of Laguna Diablo? I have never traversed this route either.
I'm planning to get in this area in June, too.
And...
How gruesome is the trek down Arroyo Matomi through Puerto el Parral to Puertecitos? Hoping to drive it someday, although probably not in June.

Thanks everybody.
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[*] posted on 5-19-2005 at 05:21 PM


Shane, I will give you a detailed answer tomorrow... leaving for Baja dinner now...



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[*] posted on 5-19-2005 at 05:51 PM


Right-o DavidK , enjoy, thanks!
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Neal Johns
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[*] posted on 5-19-2005 at 10:34 PM


Shuttling in to Agua Caliente would be easy to do if the two wheeler can't make it up wash in the sand (can you get him to buy some bigger, used tires for the rear?).

The problem with El Mano is at the bottom. The approach is over steep medium sized hills with 6" - 8' rocky steps. With no low range, I guess you could charge up, but I would now want to own the truck afterwards.:lol:




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[*] posted on 5-19-2005 at 11:21 PM


Well, maybe we'll do the shuttle and just make Agua Caliente a day trip with camp set somewhere else, if we decide to keep heading south from El Palomar. Or perhaps set up camp at the shuttle point. Would you say the junction of La Parra wash and the road to Rancho Pai Pai is about as far as a 2wd could go?
As fas as getting out to San Felipe, it sounds like the El Mano derby is out the question for the Ram driver(Although he has been known to charge significant obstacles in the San Gabriel Mountains) Cabajuzo may be a possibilty. Ram driver's looking into a winch, also considering the "dune-buggy" approach with big rear tires on a 2wd, and will be carrying a set of plyboards. I've never pulled anything with my truck, but I've heard it can be done. I've also heard it can cause problems, at least on smaller engined vehicles. But desperation will probably put considerations aside, when the only other option is driving into Mexicali for a tow truck that may not even want to go all the way out there.
What kind of tow rope is advisable for pulling about 3000lbs with a tow hook? (Not a tow hitch)
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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 12:08 AM


"Would you say the junction of La Parra wash and the road to Rancho Pai Pai is about as far as a 2wd could go?"

Probably so in June/July unless you put big tires on the rear and going like hell. Going back downhill will not be a problem.


Tow Strap: A 25 - 30 foot, three inch strap (about 20,000 - 30,000 lb. rating) with loops, not hooks on the ends.

Towing (in low range) should not be a problem with your vehicle. The worst that would happen is vapor lock, a real possibility in the heat.

Putting big rear tires on the 2-wheeler and airing them down to 15 pounds will work wonders on sand and rocks.




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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 12:24 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Geothermal-Shane



Also, for David K(or anyone else), on Valle Chico-
How do you think a 2wd vehicle of the above posted specifications would fair en route to Matomi? I've only been as far as Ejido Agua Caliente. Is the road much the same from there south to Matomi? En route to Agua Caliente, coming from El Dorado ranch, I only used 4X4 at the dunes near Morelia/Huatamote wash and in Agua Caliente Canyon on the rocks and boulders, but I think a 2wd could make it. As far as Matomi, Parral and the road south of Ej. Agua Caliente, I don't know.
Also, might it be better for a 2wd to avoid the dunes(East Valley rd.) and take the West Valley road coming from the south end of Laguna Diablo? I have never traversed this route either.
I'm planning to get in this area in June, too.
And...
How gruesome is the trek down Arroyo Matomi through Puerto el Parral to Puertecitos? Hoping to drive it someday, although probably not in June.

Thanks everybody.


You should not have trouble with East Valley road all the way past Agua Caliente Cn and on to where you drop out of Valle Chico into the Matomi. It was chewed up with the Baja 250 in March but with wider tires and a little soft, 2 WD should get thru without problems. Going up stream to Matomi ranch is over rocky ground most of the way and the sand is below, where you're heading thru the gorge and on to Mex 5. But have the widest tires you can put on.

We go into Valle Chico 2-3 times a month during the winter thru Apr. and the whoops from the races is by far the worst that you will face.

:biggrin:




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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 07:22 AM


OK... (great dinner last night, see other post)...

The East Valley Road has no sand dunes to negotiate, so don't know where that fear is from... From Hwy. 5 (signed Saltito or Morelia, a mile south of the Rockadile billboard now) all the way to Plan Nacional Agrario ('Ejido Agua Caliente') and beyond is fast, smooth, graded road with a short rocky exception between the Algodones road and Linda Vista (use parallel tracks along side graded road).

From the Canada el Parral (Azufre Wash) jcn. south to Matomi Canyon is unimproved road, with a high crown and dust (from off road racers), then you have a steep drop down to the bottom of Arroyo Matomi (4WD to get back up may be nice, but not mandatory).

Going the 5.2 miles UP the canyon to Rancho Matomi and the swimming pool oasis is a good 4WD road (2WD high clearance + good driver: OK).

Going the 29 miles DOWN Matomi Wash to Hwy. 5 I can only recommend for 4WD or buggies as it is thick arroyo sand. With lowered pressure and momentum you probably could do it in a 2WD, but why punish the rig or yourself. IT IS BEAUTIFUL, however.

Photos at http://vivabaja.com/204 (near the end).




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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 04:11 PM


Thanks Neal, bajalou & David K...

Maybe these dunes are temporary. When I drove down East Valley road in June 2004, they were there allright. They weren't large dunes, but it was more sand than in a wash and the sand was piled up about 5-10 feet high in a series of burms, in between Huatamote wash and the big cattle ranch on the north side of the road(Morelia?). I think these "dunes" ended just west of the cattle ranch and I recall this stretch lasting about a mile.
I read somewhere else that a pair from Oakland had driven through Valle Chico in a 2wd Prerunner, and reported driving through some small dunes on the East Valley road. I think you(David K) responded with the same perplexed answer, confused as to the whereabouts of these alleged dunes. Must have been the temporary settling of a huge dust storm.
Well, I'm planning to visit Agua Caliente, El Parral and Matomi canyons on the Valle Chico portion of this trip. Then just go back out East Valley rd. to San Felipe, save lower Arroyo Matomi for more forgiving conditions with an appropriate vehicle along for the trip.

Hey David K, have you seen the concrete tub in Agua Caliente Canyon(Valle Chico)? It's down canyon from the hot spring maybe a half mile, and all overgrown with algae and full of muck. There was cool water in it when I was there last June, but it was by no means soakable. I was unsure if the water was the cooled runoff from the hot spring of the diverted flow of the cold stream.
Do you know of any attempts to build a permanent soaking pool here? On the website(Exotic canyons with Jide, 4-04), it shows a tub that was "much too hot", and I recognized the picture. Yes, that tub is much too hot, and if fact when I was there it had a big chunk of cattle dung floating in it, too. Says on the page that [you] dug another one downstream amongst the cooler water. Think it's still there?
Of, course the thought of a permaneet pool here along with all the tourists it may attract is a tragic thought. Maybe the geographical layout of the canyon won't permit a permanent concrete pool, though. Or maybe no one has been crazy enough to haul all the concrete up canyon through the thornbushes. Only made it far as the muck-pool and pooped out.

"Let's just build it here, I don't wanna carry this crap the rest of the way up." That's why you need burros, and leauges of machete-men!

Pool or not, its a great hot spring!
According to maps, that canyon leads back some 15-20 miles into the higher reaches of Sierra San Pedro Martir, up to some 7000 ft. I have to wonder what's hidden up there. Maybe a few waterfalls...or even a few more geothermal seeps.

Thanks again friends!

[Edited on 5-20-2005 by Geothermal-Shane]

[Edited on 5-20-2005 by Geothermal-Shane]
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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 04:17 PM


Oh, Neal-
the La Parra/Pai Pai junction appears to be about 4 miles from Agua Caliente. Sound right?

(Ps- I urged my buddy to try a pair of big used tires in the rear, so we'll see- the truck's got good ground clearance, too.)
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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 04:51 PM


Ok - I know the dunes you refer to. on the road heading mostly E-W past the ranch and the pipe where water trucks used to load up.

The block cistern in the mouth of the canyon is for water for cattle and on to the small Agua Caliente comunity. It is often warm from the pipes being in the sun. They put cloth over the exposed pipes to retard the degradation of the pipe from the sun. They should be building a large steel tank somewhere near the mouth of the canyon similar to the on in Canon Cajon. Mex government paying for these pilas for the ranchers.

A hundred years ago, there was a trail up over the Sierra to the west side acording to maps of the time. It's pretty doubtful if you could make it over there now even with mules - too much of the owd trail washed out. A local friend tells of taking mules up Canon Cajon to the top years ago (a 2 day trip each way) but says that trail is washed out now and no way to do it today.

:biggrin:




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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 06:39 PM


Shane, Jide dug a shallow pool in the arroyo and dug a trench from the hot stream over to it... between the 'too hot' tub at the foot of the hot spring and the long rocks with the quartz veins. I found a place in the hot stream at the long rocks that was finally cooled enough to bathe in. http://vivabaja.com/404

In this photo from my web page (404) the hot spring is on the bench to the left and flows down the bank to the arroyo floor and turns downstream (away from my position). The rock lined hot tub is right at this turn (see it right there in front of where I took the photo). The hot stream flows downstream and eventually joins with the cold mountain stream which is off to the right in this photo. Jide's hand dug tub is just beyond the reeds in this photo...




[Edited on 5-21-2005 by David K]




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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 07:23 PM


When I was there it was getting dark and there wasn't an opportunity to follow the hot stream through th reeds. I'll have to look for that next time. How about the concrete tub?
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[*] posted on 5-20-2005 at 07:27 PM


Never saw a concrete tub... where was it in relation to the photo...?



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