Sombrero Peak, Jacumba Mountain
By: Ron Jones
Eighteen desert afficianados met at Bow Willow Campground Saturday morning for the scheduled climb of Sombrero Peak. Using a route description from a previous Art Blauvelt climb we drove up the south fork of Indian Valley and set out hiking from the small palm grove at the end. On Art's climb several climbers discovered Indian pictographs under the overhang of a mushroom shaped rock. Our 18 climbers, using Art's topo, searched thoroughly for the paintings to no avail. Art's route was up the south fork to a branch to the north with a single palm, over to the palm and spring (about 3000 ft) and then up to the plateau north of the main branch of the south fork. Somewhere about 3700 feet, just north of the three small enclosed 3600 ft. contours shown on the Mt. Laguna 15' topo we should have found the paintings--but no luck. All climbers made the peak and the routine descent back to the cars.
That afternoon we caravaned over to Dos Cabezas Station on a road marked 4WD but suitable to all passenger cars, then south to the crossing of the abandoned San Diego-Arizona Eastern Railroad bed, over to Dos Cabezas Campground and then to the mouth of Mortero Palm Canyon. Sunday we climbed up the canyon between Mortero and Dos Cabezas and then south westerly to nearby Jacumba Peak. Our return was by Mortero Palm Canyon with plenty of Washingtonia Palms and evidence of previous Indian habitation in the form of obsidian chips, pottery shards and bedrock morteros.
I believe that for a relaxed two day weekend, appreciating the Anza Borrego Desert, that Jacumba Peak from Mortero Canyon makes a great weekend. My thanks to Duane McRuer for acting as a superb assistant; Lou Breecheen for reciting the Cremation of Sam McGee, and all who made the desert campfire noteworthy.
Some of us returned via the town of Jacumba on old Highway 8 where we visited the vintage three-story Jacumba Hotel built in 1925. The hotel is built around two warm spring pools and a Jacuzzi, has a large lobby with stone fireplace and player piano, exercise room, masseurs, with newly refurbished rooms. A single accomodation for one night runs $23--complete with three meals! One of southern California's few remaining bargains. --Ron Jones
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