Sierra de La Laguna: Part 3 of 3

Wait! Which way to go? There were many paths traversing the valley, but which one led back to camp? Uncertain, I chose one, headed down the trail, crossed a stream, then another stream, until the valley started to curve. Everything looked different. I turned around and started to backtrack. After a very stressful 10 minutes, I finally recognized a rock formation and soon arrived back at camp. Phew!

A cool lizard we found in the valley was the elusive Baja California Night Lizard, a small and interesting lizard that inhabits only the high forests of the Sierra de La Laguna. 

The next morning — day three —  we headed out of the valley towards the summit. After a few hours of uphill hiking, we finally reached the top, which was rocky with a large white tower. We spent about an hour marveling at the incredible view, highlighted by the Sea of Cortez on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

On our way back down, at first we followed a confusing bushwhack in an attempted shortcut that was supposedly a “trail,” but ultimately decided to retrace our steps instead. At the valley, as I was going to the stream to filter water, I heard a rustling sound and looked down to see an alligator lizard rolling around in the grass. (Yes! There is GRASS in the valley!) I realized that something was biting the lizard and, after a minute, a snake emerged, holding the lizard in its mouth. To my surprise, it was a rare Baja Striped Racer, a fast-moving, day-active snake with two yellow stripes down its back. True to its name, the snake raced out of the grass with the lizard still in its mouth, launched itself into the nearby rock outcrop, then slithered into a hole to eat its prize.

The rest of the trip consisted of knee-killing downhills and a beautiful night back at the swimming hole, before a long descent back into civilization. Overall, it was an exciting, strenuous and eventful trek, after which it took several days to recover. I would definitely do it all again. The Sierra de La Laguna is a magical place. – If you want to talk or walk reptiles, email