Mount Cuchumá looms over Tecate like the Materhorn dominates the Alps. It could be said Mount Cuchumá is our logo. The mountain is never out of sight. It is always there to make a wish on, it serves as our reliable weather station. Anyone over ten years old is familiar with the Kumiai legend. The beautiful Iztakát and Cuchumá were lovers who met in secret near a deep lagoon hidden in the folds of the mountain. But the Kumiai elders betrothed Iztakát to Xha, the god of the sun. One day the lovers were discovered in each other’s arms in their moment of passion. The Kumiai leader ordered that Cuchumá be put to death. Heartbroken, the inconsolable Iztakát plunged an arrow into her breast and died in her lover’s arms. On the day of the next full moon the ground convulsed and trembled violently for several days. And a mountain grew out of the chasm where the lagoon had been. When the light is right you can clearly see the secret lovers in their embrace within the folds of the mountain.
Today,most of Cuchumá is the property of the United States and appears in official maps simply as Tecate Peak, a 3,885-foot pile of granite. But undocumented ghosts and spirits are not allowed in the United States without a Green Card so all the magic stays on our side.