Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Moonstone Beach - California Central Coast

Moonstone beach is actually part of the little and amazing town of Cambria (Latin for Wales). Although Moonstone beach has some small hotels, and a few restaurants, it is mostly known for it's beach. It's not really the kind of beach that comes to mind when most people think of beaches in southern/central California. Yes, you can swim, surf, stroll on the boardwalk and sunbathe there. You can also find moonstones. More on moonstones later. 

You already know that no matter where I am, I'm always on the lookout for evidence that Indians lived in an area. I just happened to stumble upon some of it right here. More on that later also.

These mortars were almost in plain site. After I spotted them, I had to wait for about 20 people to pass before I could actually get to them, and take these photos. Everyone of the people who passed it, saw nothing. I've asked many people I know if they've ever seen any mortars here. Every one of them said they hadn't. 

Very little is known relating to which Indian groups lived here in pre-history. Most of the known habitation in this area was by the Chumash people. It is estimated that as many as 40,000 Chumash lived in the area 1,000 years prior to the Spanish arriving. Then the Missions arrived, the miners, and then the farmers. Each group contributing to the systematic annihilation of most of the Chumash.

Placed my phone next to this one for scale. Had I realized that the screen was no nasty, I would have wiped it off first.

Some distance away, I found this. I'm absolutely sure they nobody gives this spot a second look, probably not even a first. It is called midden. It's the ancient equivalent of a trash/garbage pit. There were even some small shards of pottery on the surface of this one.

 There were so many pelicans flying around, that I had to get at least one photo.

I don't know if I've ever seen a turkey vulture coasting along over the ocean before.

I don't know who exactly to give credit for the following three photos to. I found them via Google.
Most of the areas in the first several photos where you see beach front, is most likely not made of sand, but of this. On any given day, you will see people digging through the sand/rocks for moonstones.

 These are unpolished moonstones

These are polished moonstones. Apparently, it is a type of feldspar. When it forms, it does so in layers. Light reflects off the layers and causes the stone to glow. I believe that moonstone is considered a gem, but I'm not sure. 

If you are ever on the central California coast, this area is a must see.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Porcupine Wash Petroglyphs - JTNP

The Pinto Basin is about 250 square miles of what most people would refer to as barren and desolate desert. The main park road skirts the edge of it, but rarely does a car stop for anything more than a quick glimpse around. At first glance, you would think it to be a very formidable wilderness. You wouldn't be wrong in the slightest bit. Especially so, during the summer months. This is the hottest and driest area in the park, and those conditions have cost many people their lives. I believe three in the past year alone.

I just heard on the news that there are two hikers missing in Joshua Tree, right now! Update (August 3rd): These two people have been missing for over six days. They found their car near a trail head, but that is all. In addition to the deadly heat, there has been some very bad weather and flash flooding in the area. I'm pretty sure that it's no longer consider a rescue operation, but a body recovery effort. 
UPDATE: August 8th. The couple is still missing and the "official" search has been terminated. Local authorities and volunteers will keep looking for a while. I still feel like there is something very hinkey about this case. August 13, 2017 It's now almost 3 weeks since they went missing. People are still searching every day. Not good...

The basin is outlined in red. The three surrounding mountain ranges are also desolate. It's hard to believe now, but this area was once lush, swampy, and even had water flowing through it. Clearly, that was a long time ago.

In almost all cases in the desert, where there was water, there was also people. It was no different here. They didn't leave a lot of evidence, but they did leave some! We'll get to that in a minute. First, a few pics of the beautiful (in my eyes) scenery.

embiggen this one

Now to the petroglyphs. We were traveling down Porcupine Wash (still in Pinto Basin), keeping this rock jumble on our right. Our destination is that dark rock (that looks like Pac-Man) just to the left of center.



 There! If you saw my last post, you will see that the petroglyphs on this rock very much resemble the ones included there. These are in much better condition. In additions to the barbells, please note the faint "sunburst" image near the brush on the right side of the photo.

 There was also a nearby rock shelter. There was soot on the overhanging rock to the right. I don't know when this spot was last used, but I'm pretty sure it was a long long time ago.

 My favorite find of the day was this fossilized shell. I believe it's a freshwater snail (fossil) I was amazed that it was still intact. I moved it into a safer spot and hope it survives for a lot longer.

 In the middle of this photo, you can see my wife exploring.

 I believe this rock material is called Hornblende. 

 It wasn't easy getting into the middle of this jumble of rocks, but there I am.

Yours truly...

Mammal fossils relating back to the stone age have been found in the Pinto Basin. Also, traces of very early human presence.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Stirrup Tank Adjacent Petroglyphs JTNP

Although this isn't a large site, it is noteworthy because of the type of petroglyphs that are there. Plus, it is in an absolutely gorgeous and rugged area. 

From here it looks like a nice and easy hike across this valley. That thought ends in about a hundred yards...

...when you run into this! Climbing down into, and then up out of this is actually the easiest way to go. During major storms, water rushes down these little gullies at amazing speed. Not a place you want to be stuck in.

 Plenty of gorgeous scenery

 This rock is our destination

Although there aren't very many of them remaining, the predominant petroglyphs at this site are the "barbell" looking symbols.  

There are many opinions relating to what exactly the "barbell" symbols represent. My granny told me that it represents a meeting between two people, or two groups of people. If there is a third circle in the middle, it represents a third party acting as an intermediary, or mediator. I believe her...

 It's always nice when mother nature graces us with a few clouds for our photos.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Crystal Cove Historic District - Laguna Beach Ca

The Crystal Cove Historic District is a small part (12 acres) of Crystal Cove State Park. It consists of 46 beach cottages built mostly in the early part of the last century.  They were built primarily from wood made available when a lumber ship capsized in the area. It is one of the only remaining Southern California beach developments from early last century. It is located on a beautiful stretch of SoCal coastline, and several silent movies were filmed here in the 1920's.

This was private property until the state purchased it in 1979. People were in a bit of an uproar, because they thought the state was going to demolish all the cottages. They didn't though! In fact, the state, along with the Crystal Cove Conservancy, began a restoration project of the cottages. So far, 21 cottages are now available for overnight rental. There is a lot more information available, but I think what I just said, is just about all you need.  I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of these photos. It was the middle of a very hazy day and the light was brutal. I would have been better off using the camera on my phone.

Judging by the cars. I'd say this photo (which I found on the CA State Parks website) was taken in the early 1940's. Even though most of the structures you see here are not in good shape today...

...most of them still stand.  The cottages in the foreground have been restored to original. This photo is from the same place as the previous one. 

The following photos are just a small part of what is left. There is also a second tier of cottages.

 There has to be at least one B&W

This is one of the restored cottages