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Devil's Peak – a mysterious Baja mountain

Car crash in Baja, alone with the horses of Coyote Canyon, 50 miles along the San Dieguito, almost out of water on way to Fonts Point, hitching on semis to San Diego, narrow escape from Vietnam

El Picacho del Diablo from the eastern desert
El Picacho del Diablo from the eastern desert

The Devil's Peak

Other climbers, some of them my mentors, told me about a mysterious mountain in Baja California that had acquired a reputation much larger than its actual size. The mountain was barely over 10,000 feet in elevation, but it rose out of the harsh San Felipe desert with such abruptness, and towered over everything else around it with such brazen confidence, that its relative height put it in a class with the major peaks of North America.

By Steve Sorensen Aug. 2, 1984 Read full article

“Karla and I went to different homes looking for pilots. We finally found an American who said he’d fly out at first light and everyone kept saying it was impossible to do anything at night there."

Somewhere between death and the border

"I went up to the plane and got to Eddie and it was bad. His head was out to here, he looked more dead than alive, and I leaned in toward him, his eyes were closed and I couldn’t tell if he knew who I was, and I said, ‘How are you, son?’ and he said very softly, ‘I’m all right. Pop.’ Then he went out again and that was all. After that I couldn’t tell what was going on in his head."

By Bob Dorn, Sept. 16, 1982 Read full article

Wild horse roundup. “Some people call them horses up there ‘mustangs,’ but that ain’t right."

The wild horses of Coyote Creek

I was the only human in the canyon that night — probably the only human for ten miles in any direction. Before dark I walked in a circle on the canyon floor and found fresh, barefoot (unshod) horse tracks. There were also the tracks of wild cows, and later, when the moon rose over the Santa Rosa Mountains, I heard one of them bawling up Tule Creek. It was a forlorn song that lonely cow sang, one that seemed to cut through the romance of a life in the wilds.

By Steve Sorensen, Nov. 20, 1986, Read full article

Forty miles inland, Volcan Mountain shields the river's headwaters. Just about every tree on Volcan Mountain taller than eight feet has a sign tacked to it: “No Trespassing — Violators Liable To Arrest! Signed, E.C. Rutherford.”

Three days along the San Dieguito

I knew I’d made a bad mistake. I jumped back, but it was already too late. A yellow, foul-smelling mist rained down on me. It was a direct hit, not a drop wasted. I quickly pulled off my clothes, wrapped them in two plastic bags, then went down to the creek to wash my body as best I could. I put on clean clothes, wished the skunk good luck, and went on my way.

By Steve Sorensen, Feb. 11, 1988 Read full article

“What’s the best way to get to El Paso from here. I’m right across from the post office.” “Okay. Now head back to Fifth Street, make a right at that light ….”

Just passin' through, good buddy

I quickly threw my backpack in the back seat, settled into the comfortable cushioned seat, and over the blare of country music (Dolly Parton on cassette), I asked, “What did you say about a front door?” Once again, in a thick, southern Tennessee drawl, the middle-aged, balding salesman in coat and tie repeated, “He’s got ’er front door. Ya dunno CB talk?”

By Manny Ramos, June 9, 1977 Read full article

"I told him they hadn’t had water since this morning. I think I worried him that they were dying.”

From Toro Peak to Fonts Point

Since they had left their ride at Highway 74, they had not met a single person. The wind was blowing toward them, which allowed sights of deer grazing on scrub. Eric, who had been wearing only tennis shoes, was lagging behind, and with everyone pushing forward to make up lost time and miles, he was soon out of sight.

By Desiree Weber, July 2, 1981 Read full article

I had participated as part of the first delegation from the South to receive prisoners of war at the Hanoi Hilton in 1973. We wrote a popular book, One Day in Hanoi, about our treatment in the North.

Escape!

He found the Vam Co cigarettes. Just then, I heard another guard call from behind me. “Hey Binh! Look at this!” The guard bent down to pick up the cigarette I had thrown away. From inside the cigarette, he pulled out a thin piece of paper. Binh stomped over to him, snatched the paper from his hands, and read it. I grew anxious, thinking to myself, “What did Thuy write?”

By Duong Phuc with Vu Thanh Thuy and Neal Matthews, May 15, 1986 Read full article

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North Couny Beaches Lose Sand, Santa Ana Season Arrives

Head to mile-high peaks to escape Santa Ana heat
El Picacho del Diablo from the eastern desert
El Picacho del Diablo from the eastern desert

The Devil's Peak

Other climbers, some of them my mentors, told me about a mysterious mountain in Baja California that had acquired a reputation much larger than its actual size. The mountain was barely over 10,000 feet in elevation, but it rose out of the harsh San Felipe desert with such abruptness, and towered over everything else around it with such brazen confidence, that its relative height put it in a class with the major peaks of North America.

By Steve Sorensen Aug. 2, 1984 Read full article

“Karla and I went to different homes looking for pilots. We finally found an American who said he’d fly out at first light and everyone kept saying it was impossible to do anything at night there."

Somewhere between death and the border

"I went up to the plane and got to Eddie and it was bad. His head was out to here, he looked more dead than alive, and I leaned in toward him, his eyes were closed and I couldn’t tell if he knew who I was, and I said, ‘How are you, son?’ and he said very softly, ‘I’m all right. Pop.’ Then he went out again and that was all. After that I couldn’t tell what was going on in his head."

By Bob Dorn, Sept. 16, 1982 Read full article

Wild horse roundup. “Some people call them horses up there ‘mustangs,’ but that ain’t right."

The wild horses of Coyote Creek

I was the only human in the canyon that night — probably the only human for ten miles in any direction. Before dark I walked in a circle on the canyon floor and found fresh, barefoot (unshod) horse tracks. There were also the tracks of wild cows, and later, when the moon rose over the Santa Rosa Mountains, I heard one of them bawling up Tule Creek. It was a forlorn song that lonely cow sang, one that seemed to cut through the romance of a life in the wilds.

By Steve Sorensen, Nov. 20, 1986, Read full article

Forty miles inland, Volcan Mountain shields the river's headwaters. Just about every tree on Volcan Mountain taller than eight feet has a sign tacked to it: “No Trespassing — Violators Liable To Arrest! Signed, E.C. Rutherford.”

Three days along the San Dieguito

I knew I’d made a bad mistake. I jumped back, but it was already too late. A yellow, foul-smelling mist rained down on me. It was a direct hit, not a drop wasted. I quickly pulled off my clothes, wrapped them in two plastic bags, then went down to the creek to wash my body as best I could. I put on clean clothes, wished the skunk good luck, and went on my way.

By Steve Sorensen, Feb. 11, 1988 Read full article

“What’s the best way to get to El Paso from here. I’m right across from the post office.” “Okay. Now head back to Fifth Street, make a right at that light ….”

Just passin' through, good buddy

I quickly threw my backpack in the back seat, settled into the comfortable cushioned seat, and over the blare of country music (Dolly Parton on cassette), I asked, “What did you say about a front door?” Once again, in a thick, southern Tennessee drawl, the middle-aged, balding salesman in coat and tie repeated, “He’s got ’er front door. Ya dunno CB talk?”

By Manny Ramos, June 9, 1977 Read full article

"I told him they hadn’t had water since this morning. I think I worried him that they were dying.”

From Toro Peak to Fonts Point

Since they had left their ride at Highway 74, they had not met a single person. The wind was blowing toward them, which allowed sights of deer grazing on scrub. Eric, who had been wearing only tennis shoes, was lagging behind, and with everyone pushing forward to make up lost time and miles, he was soon out of sight.

By Desiree Weber, July 2, 1981 Read full article

I had participated as part of the first delegation from the South to receive prisoners of war at the Hanoi Hilton in 1973. We wrote a popular book, One Day in Hanoi, about our treatment in the North.

Escape!

He found the Vam Co cigarettes. Just then, I heard another guard call from behind me. “Hey Binh! Look at this!” The guard bent down to pick up the cigarette I had thrown away. From inside the cigarette, he pulled out a thin piece of paper. Binh stomped over to him, snatched the paper from his hands, and read it. I grew anxious, thinking to myself, “What did Thuy write?”

By Duong Phuc with Vu Thanh Thuy and Neal Matthews, May 15, 1986 Read full article

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