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Author: Subject: Agua Caliente and Vibora Canyons - Part Three, Conclusion
Neal Johns
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[*] posted on 11-18-2002 at 07:05 PM
Agua Caliente and Vibora Canyons - Part Three, Conclusion

We soon came to a palm grove about a mile from the junction with a water trough and pipelines (31 deg. 40.66 min. - 115 deg. 36.82 min.) so it looked like we were on the way to Agua Caliente! The road with no tracks went through the middle of the palm grove and many slicks were on the nearby boulders. Senor Castro had said the road was ??muy malo at the cuesta?? and it looked like we were getting close. Sure enough in a mile or so, the road crossed the arroyo and climbed up a hill. We could see palms in the distance, and then, Wow!, a large flat area with a green meadow fed by the overflow from a pond, a bunch of palm trees, and two or three old adobes (31 deg, 40.32 min. - 115 deg. 38.66 min.). We explored around for a while, ate lunch, and then headed back up the hill from hell. Coming down, we had filled in some two foot holes, so going up was no problem for the half of the group with locking differentials. Agua Caliente does not get much traffic to maintain the road (maybe because we found no hot water!). Everyone finally made it up the hill and we were on the way again. We went through the fence gate, and were chatting away on the CB when all of a sudden we were at the mouth of the canyon and there were no tracks in front of us. Uh oh! How did we miss La Palmita? We saw that we were on the south side of the wash instead of the north side where we entered and I recognized the road that stayed alongside the mountain going south to end up at the bottom of Summit. Screwed up again! We backtracked a tenth or two and found a cut-across road to the north side of the canyon and were back in business.

For our camping spot that night, we stopped at Metate Heaven, a secret camping spot of the old Indians that frequented the nearby canyons. There were dozens of manos and several metates lying around. It was typical low desert scenery and everyone was soon in a good mood. Those who felt the need for drugs were wrapped around beer bottles or wine glass stems, while I looked on disapprovingly. ?? Where was Desert Bull with his Mad Max Margarita Machine when we needed him?

Monday morning dawned and we drove to, and parked at, the split in the road where you go to opposite sides of Guadalupe Canyon to the campsites. The purpose was to hike from Guadalupe to the Vibora Canyon petroglyph/pictograph site about two miles south. Auturo drove down in his pickup with a business gleam in his eye to see what was happening, but just waved us on when he found out we were just hiking.

From the Guadalupe Canyon ??parking lot/road split?? just below the campsites, hike south across and slightly down the canyon looking for a deeply cut foot and cattle trail with lots of rock ??ducks?? marking the way up the other (south) side of the canyon. The trail initially goes across several small arroyos but heads generally south in the middle of the open valley. In a half mile or so, there is a rock cairn marking a trail offshoot to the south campsites. In another half mile or so, there is a split where one trail enters a 15 foot wide sand wash and goes up it. This is the old cattle drive trail that will bear right and go up a nearby (next canyon south) canyon to the top of the mountains into the pine trees for summer grazing.

Our fork crosses the sand arroyo and continues up the valley to the rock art site. Both trails have lots of ducks but it??s still easy to miss this split. Don??t ask me how I know. As you get closer to the south end of the valley, if you miss the trail, just stay on the right side of the first rock buttes visible in the middle of the far end of the valley, and soon after you pass them, you will come to a 15 foot monolithic rock with lots of slicks and mortero holes in it. There are both pictos and petros on this rock. I think David K. will post the pictures on his site.

That afternoon, we headed for the border. By the time we got to Mexicali, it was getting dark. Just what we needed. Rather that try to get around the construction detour, we decided to follow the sign ??To Calexico?? at the glorieta that headed us north. By the time we got to Baja Ave. it was real dark and the traffic, short blocks, and long ??tail?? we had made for a great comedy. Thanks to Marian, my Navigator, for getting us all in line to cross the border, which we did in about an hour. As usual with this rough crew, no agreement could be reached on where to eat, so we ended up at the HomeTown Buffet in Calexico to end a great trip.
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[*] posted on 11-19-2002 at 06:04 AM

Great story/report Neal. Thanks so much for taking the time to post it here.


Doug Means
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