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Lady of the lake, version #938

Monday, September 18, 2017

The road to the left

I was supposed to hike yesterday with Beth, we were going to try to take a shot of the Santa Margarita River from the identical hilltop vantage of an early twentieth century photo.

It was cloudy and we tabled the idea and will revisit for a future date.

But I had a hankering to get out and hike so I drove down to the mailboxes and hiked the horse trail towards DeLuz.

It is funny, have lived on or near the river for 38 years but I rarely walk this particular stretch.

Used to ride my horse down there but that was a long while back and the trails weren't exactly managed back then.

Nowadays I walk or hike down either right near my house or towards the northeast. Don't ask me why, creature of habit.

It was nice yesterday. Southern California riparian is Coastal Live oaks and sycamores, has its own hue and charm but is still basically desert scrub and chaparral. Lots of yucca and cactus, sumac, cottonwood, toyon and the like. Some manzanita. Dryer than Northern California, a different and somewhat more modulated shade of green.

I didn't see much fauna yesterday, heard a beaver splash his tail, saw a lizard without one.

Walked through a lot of poison oak. Wiped down with isopropyl alcohol when I got home and left my clothes in a heap. Took a benedryl, hope I head off the itching as I am pretty susceptible,



I did see a bunch of horseback riders enjoying their afternoon. Which reminds me, I followed Leslie home from town the other evening, quite near dark.

I came around a curve and her car was stopped in the road. A truck and trailer was coming up the grade below her. Apparently their horse got away.

It was galloping straight for Leslie, and she jumped out of her car and caught it in a heartbeat. The people were amazed at how calm and cool she was but that is my wife. She shines under pressure.


I know that I sound like a broken record but I count my blessings every day that I live in a place that has not been spoiled or destroyed yet. Am sickened by the Trump administration's new plans to shrink National Monuments and relax clean coal regulations.

I passed some mortero holes. The area is full of them. I wonder what the native inhabitants called themselves? I know further south they called themselves Ipa, the people.

The folks on the San Luis Rey were called Luiseño by the Spanish, the coastal people were Diegueño and so on. Pala, Pauma, Rincon, Los Coyotes, Cahuilla and Cupa peoples to the east.

Ethnographers have identified several indian settlements on the Santa Margarita, they call them the Luisefio.

Near me somewhere was a place they called, in their Shoshonean linguistic dialect, Meha. 

Other native settlements on the Santa Margarita River included Ushmai, Katukto, Awá and Takwi. The large original settlement that now hosts the San Luis Rey Mission was called Khecham. It would be nice to know the exact locations.

The Spaniards were no dummies. They stuck their churches right on top of the original inhabitants' kivas, somehow found a way to appropriate the best real estate. The local inhabitants were eventually evicted by the San Diego County sheriff in 1875 and moved to the Pechanga Reservation.

Somewhere I have a rare signed first edition book by Tom Hudson titled Five paths along a river that really does a good job chronicling the natives' culture, language and habits.

I do remember that they subsisted on an acrid oak acorn paste called waweesh


I bought a large Luiseño basket recently for my gallery. Nice lightning iconography.

Mission Indians and the Pauite Shoshone were the only two native groups that used the juncas reed in their basketry and are easily distinguished. Sumac is also used and decorative elements are sometimes made with dahlia and elderberry.

Gavilan Mountain
I live under the eaves of Gavilan Mountain. Native lore says that the local natives would reconnoiter to the top when the area flooded. And it often did.

In fact they told the anglos that their railroad would one day be underwater but were not believed. Three times. The installation of the Vail Dam in 1948 radically restricted the water in the river.

It was fun getting out yesterday, Trail terminates two ways, Rock Mountain and De Luz. I would like to do the whole route one of these days.

Lucky to be here. Beats concrete.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

De Luz is one of my all time favorite places in SD County.
Max