In the early 1800's (and long before) there were many Indian villages in the Cuyamaca and Laguna mountains in Southern California. These villages were used by the Kumeyaay Indians as their spring and summer homes. They spent their winters in the local deserts (in and around what is now Anza-Borrego SP).
There are mortars (used for grinding acorns, grains, etc.) that are easy to find and see in the park campgrounds and picnic areas. The rangers and volunteers will freely tell about these. There are many more of these mortars that are only accessible via hiking trails, or totally off the grid. One concentration of these ancient artifacts is close to the West Side Trail (west of Hwy-79, that is). This is another one of those awesome things that the park doesn't mention in their brochures or tell you about. The trail doesn't even actually take you to the spot, nor is it mentioned in the trail guide. It is close to the trail though, I guess I should say it is close to where the trail is supposed to be.
It starts out okay. It looks like a really good and easy trail. This lasted about a hundred yards or so.
Then all you see is dead-fall and vegetation.
There is no trail at this point.
Okay, I'm getting tired of this. Where is the darn trail?
We have no idea where the trail is, but we do have an idea where what we are looking for is.
See? Even he's surprised to us!
I get excited if I come across one of two morteros. Imagine how I feel when I run across a mother load like this...
This spot really gets a person to thinking about how many people were fed because of these mortars and for how many hundreds or thousands of years they were used.
Obligatory black and white.
We stopped counting at 75! I'm sure there were more in the vegetation.
Yes, I know that you are surprised to see birds in my blog posts. There aren't very many pine trees this big still in the area (due to many fires). So, this tree was in our campground a few miles away. This guy is an acorn woodpecker. They drill holes in the bark, and then force an acorn into the hole. Eventually larval worms develop in the acorn and the woodpecker pecks it open and eats the larva. The woodpeckers act like a big family and can store thousands of acorns in a single tree. It's still like the 1960's to them and they have a communal life. They need a lot of birds involved, because you know who also wants those woodpeckers, right? Yep, squirrels!
You can see many more wild birds by following this link to my friend Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday extravaganza!
The next few are only here because I liked them.