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December 14, 2015

Blair Valley - Anza Borrego Desert State Park






Our campsite viewed from the Butterfield Stage route
Blair Valley is always a great place to view meteor showers as it is well protected from light pollution.  A telescope is not necessary for the meteor shower, but was hoping for an early morning glimpse of Comet Catalina. Geminids did not disappoint, easily a dozen per hour - a very spectacular showing.  However, those same canyon walls that protect the valley did not allow enough time before the glow from the distance dawn illuminated the early morning sky and the comet could not be found in the dawn glow.

There are a few short, but interesting hiking destinations.

Butterfield Stage Route


Butterfield Stage marker
The campsite was near to the California Riding and Hiking Trail, which follows parts of the Butterfield Stage Route and the old county road.  A short hike to the summit provides views of both Blair Valley and Little Blair Valley.







Stage route
















County road, most county roads are in better condition now.


Hike to South Mountain

Trail Head Information
Perhaps the best know hike strikes at the wanderlust in all of us, the steep one mile assent to Yaquitepec, Yaqui for 'House of the Sun'.  Not up for the hike?, or want background information, a good read is Diana Lindsay's Marshal South and the Ghost Mountain Chronicles: An Experiment in Primitive Living.  


Me as the Elf with his staff





Looking back over the dry lake bed of Blair Valley



Looking east toward the Salton Sea




The homestead







Walls made of adobe and stone

Cisterns for water storage
Solar powered clock

The central clock tower was solar powered





All good homesteads need a garbage dump ....

The Morteros Trail of Little Blair Valley

Morteros Trail Head
Mortero is Spanish for mortar, in native Kumeyaay called ehmuu meaning 'bedrock hole', think the Kumeyaay have it right.











The cholla thrive here, apparently the Kumeyaay found there was no use for them
Cholla 















By the stunted growth of the Yucca there must have been lots of use for them.
Yucca










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The mortero is a grinding hole in the rock basically a stone food processor.  The small depressions called cupules, are also found on vertical surfaces, hence the experts think they have religious significance.  Ah heck, I think the young just need a place to practice make grinding holes, but they were not yet good enough to grind in the 'kitchen'.

Morteros

Don't turn back yet!, another quarter mile is an interesting pictograph.


The Pictograph Trail

Pictograph Trail Head



























This is my favorite -
IMHO the 'Y' is the Agave and it shows how to use a solar still for tequila 


Although this is a good place to turn back, continue on towards Smugglers Canyon.  The trail narrows as cliff walls develop on either side.  Eventually arriving at a dry waterfall overlooking the canyon.

Continue on the same trail...

The trail narrows...

View from the top of the dry falls














South end of the park next ...





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