Sunday, December 20, 2015

MY ANNUAL MARSHAL SOUTH GHOST MOUNTAIN TREK TO YAQUITEPEC

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STANDING IN THE RUINS OF MARSHALL SOUTH’S YAQUITEPEC
Another beautiful Moonlit night Saturday with large clouds skudding across a dark star filled sky.  No wind & it didn’t feel cold.  Could see a large solid cloud bank coming in from the South-west but managed to get off a few night photos before the half Moon was totally obscured.
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BORREGO BY NIGHT
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Trouble again publishing my post but I managed to deal with the OLW bugs & it finally published close to 11 o’clock Saturday night.  Frustrating.DSC_0004
I was surprised by a familiar sound on our roof.  Rain!!  Not a lot but it was noticeable.  Winds began picking up & by morning it was gusting but not enough to rock the coach.  Our location at Borrego’s Clark Dry Lake Bed is well known by all RV’ers for it’s big winds & fierce wind gusts.  We have spent more than one near sleepless night at this location over the years.  When we had our Class A Damon Challenger with solar panels tilted up I thought for sure some nights those panels were going to be torn right off the roof.
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SUNRISE FROM MY RECLINER THIS MORNING
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EARLY MORN AT OUR HOUSE
Long time readers know I never leave Borrego Springs without first making my annual hike up the steep rocky trail on Ghost Mountain to the remains of Marshal South’s homestead he called Yaquitepec,  This morning was that morning as Kelly, Pheebs, & i headed out the door & Jeeped ourselves in a South-westerly direction through Yaqui Pass to Blair Valley.  Always love this twisty winding route through mountains & canyons & always look forward to the drive every year with it’s tight curves & beautiful scenery.  We left the rig at 9 A.M. California time & arrived at the foot of Ghost Mountain 50 minutes later.   Kelly had brought her book with her & was quite content to wait in the warm car while I hiked to the top & back. Minutes later Pheebs & I were on the ever rocky trail heading up.  Ghost Mountain by the way is more of a high rocky ridge than a towering peaked mountain as we are commonly accustomed to thinking of mountains.
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BORREGO SPRINGS DEAD AHEAD
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WINDING OUR WAY THROUGH THE YAQUI PASS
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TAMERISK CAMPGROUND & RV PARK ON THE LEFT
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MAKING OUR WAY ACROSS BLAIR VALLEYS DESERT FLOOR
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GHOST MOUNTAIN STRAIGHT AHEAD & ATOP THAT RIDGE LIES WHAT’S LEFT OF THE MARSHAL SOUTH HOMESTEAD
Sun was not over the high ridge yet so it was a cold climb in the ridges shadow with the toughest part being high winds sweeping up through Blair Canyon.  My hands were cold & the winds kept blowing my hat off.  So much so I ended up having to carry it for fear of having to chase it through tangles of spear like Agave cactus plants.  Wasn’t until I crested the ridge that I caught the first rays of sunshine but gusting winds whisked away any warmth old Sol’s rays were carrying.  Hiking across a flat stretch on a small plateau before a second climb through a stumble of boulders I was staggered several times by wind gusts.  Had to keep a close eye on the Pheebs to make sure she didn’t get blown off into outer space somewhere.  She stayed pretty close behind me all the way.
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OLD SOL CREEPS UP BEHIND THE JEEP AS I BEGIN MY CLIMB IN GHOST MOUNTAINS COLD GRAY SHADOW
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IT WAS SO NICE TO FINALLY REACH SOME SUNLIGHT
We made our way to the large boulder climb & found a bit of wind protection there as we picked our way through a sometimes hard to see path through the large rocks.  I knew as soon as we came out of those boulders we would again be at the mercy of the wind but also knew we would also be at the Marshal South homestead.  Finally reaching the site I noted that we had made the climb in 25 minutes.  Fortunately the ruins are in a bit of a hollow & afforded us some temporary protection.  I was so glad to have once again made the trek for another year.  Have been making this climb every year since December of 2008 & I think one year I may have made the climb twice.
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FINALLY REACHED THE RUINS OF MARSHALL SOUTH’S YAQUITEPEC
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A ROUND BASIN TO COLLECT RARE RAIN WATER
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LOOKING TOWARDS BLAIR VALLEY THE HOUSE RUINS ARE IN THE CENTER OF THE PHOTO
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IT WAS A HARSH BUT BEAUTIFUL ENVIRONMENT THEY LIVED INDSC_0041
Everything looked exactly the same as it did on my last visit.  Walked around looking at everything I had looked at so many times before as I again let my mind wander back to the years Marshal South & his family lived here atop Ghost Mountain.  Rather than me telling you about what took place with this family I will give you these links.  It’s quite a story…….. In the following links the name Marshal should only have one L. 
Marshall South Home Site
Ghost Mountain Trail To Yaquitepec
Finding The Real Marshall South
Marshall South...The Years Before Yaquitepec
Also if anyone is interested in some of my other Ghost Mountain posts just type Marshal South into the search bar at the top of my right hand column.
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A CISTERN SYSTEM FOR COLLECTING RAIN WATER
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THE RUINS ARE AT TOP RIGHT
I have a favorite big rock at the site which I like to clamber up on each time I’m there & stand overlooking the beautiful far reaching Vallecito Valley.  It is a quiet few moments of reflection for me each year remembering past family members who made all our travels possible over these past 10 years.  However, I had to make those reflections fast this morning as the Borrego winds tried to rip me right off that rocky high point.  Managed to get a couple quick pics of Pheebs on the rock then we had to get right down off that high point again.
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MY TREASURED VALLECITO VALLEY VIEW FROM ATOP A LARGE BOULDER AT THE SITE
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YOU CAN SEE EVEN PHEEBS IS STRESSED & BRACED AGAINST THE HOWLING WINDS TRYING TO RIP US OFF OUR FAVORITE LARGE BOULDER
Spent another 20 minutes taking a few photos knowing full well I already have hundreds of photos of the site but each time I’m there I can’t seem to help taking a lot of pictures.  Today was no exception again.  A quick look over the edge of some boulders down into the Blair Valley where I could see the Jeep far below told me there were no vehicles in the parking area & that meant there were no people on their way up the mountain.   It was time to go & standing one last time in the ruins of where the South’s kitchen once stood i thought back half a dozen decades to when the home was once decorated for Christmas, warm & cozy.  You can read Ryder’s Souths remembrances of the those years he spent atop Ghost Mountain with his Mother, Father, Brother, & Sister in a book by Diana Lindsay called Marshal South And The Ghost Mountain Chronicles.  I have that book & it was the start of my fascination with the whole Marshal South story.  I even tracked down his final resting place in the Julian cemetery a few years ago.  Oh & we drove by his son Ryder’s house in Silver City Mexico a few years ago as well………………
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BLAIR VALLEY SHOWING THE SANDY JEEP ROAD LEADING TO GHOST MOUNTAIN…..JEEP IS VISIBLE IN THIS PHOTO BUT IS HARD TO SEE IN BOTTOM LEFT SECTION
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A TELEPHOTO SHOT DOWN THE MOUNTAIN SHOWING WHERE I PARKED THE JEEP WITH KELLY INSIDE READING
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WIND WAS SO STRONG COMING UP OVER THE RIDGE FROM BLAIR VALLEY IT WAS BLOWING PHEEBS EARS OUT STRAIGHT
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THIS IS ALL THAT’S LEFT OF THE MARSHALL SOUTH HOME
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Finally leaving the homestead site Pheebs & I didn’t waste any time coming down off the mountain & i found if I kept my head tilted down the wind pushed on the top of it pasting it firmly down around my ears.  With 3 layers of upper clothing on I was sweating on the inside but cold on the outside.  It was not my best hike up & down Ghost Mountain & by the time I finally reached the Jeep my legs were feeling rubbery. 
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A LAST LOOK BACK AT YAQUITEPEC & THEN WE WERE GONE
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WE QUICKLY MADE OUR WAY DOWN THROUGH A SLEW OF BOULDERS ON A SOMETIMES HARD TO FOLLOW DISAPPEARING PATH
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PATH LEADING ACROSS A SHORT FLAT PLATEAU BETWEEN CLIMBS
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So nice to get into the warm Jeep out of that biting wind.  Kelly had made some peanut butter sandwichs & I had mine gobbled up in a matter of seconds.  Minutes later watching Ghost Mountain disappear in my rear view mirror I once again had the same thought I always have when driving away……was that my last time climbing Ghost Mountain to Marshal South’s Yaquitepec.
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AGAVE
We slowly wound our way along a dusty Jeep road through Blair Valley kicking up small clouds of desert dust o alight gently on the many Agave Cactus along the way.  We were both feeling the need for a hot cup of coffee & the nearest place we were going to find that was Julian California but I’m going to have to save the second part of our day for tomorrow.  It was a 9 hour day for us & I’m just feeling way too tired tonight.  Monday I will tell you about our scenic drive to Julian followed by a spur of the moment decision to Jeep ourselves all the way over to & up Mount Palomar to see the awe inspiring world renouned Palomar Telescope.
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GROANER’S CORNER:(( On the Sunday before Christmas Reverend Billy Graham was walking down Highland street in Mt Holly, North Carolina on his way to see a parishioner. However, he wanted to post a parcel urgently so he asked a young boy where he could find the post office. When the boy had directed him, Reverend Graham thanked him and said, 'If you'll come to the Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.'  The boy replied, 'I think I'll give your sermon a miss. If you don't even know your way to the post office, how will you lead me to heaven?'
How do snowmen get around?
On their icicles.
Christmas is just plain weird. What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree in your living room eating candy and snacks out of your socks?
Q: What do you call a bunch of grandmasters of chess bragging about their games in a hotel lobby?
A: Chess nuts boasting in an open foyer!

Q: What do you get if you deep fry Santa Claus?
A: Crisp Cringle.

10 comments:

  1. Love, love love your night photography!

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  2. I think I could really get into Desert History: the People, Places, Things, and How it was.

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  3. Thats has always been a nice hike for you to the Marshalls Homestead, but rather chilly for you this years. Love the pics as usual.

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  4. I'm with Nan love your night photography.We'll probably miss our hike up Ghost Mountain this year,, One year it was so cold there was snow on the Agave.

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  5. In spite of that wind it sure looks like aome nice weather down there. Just raining and dull as usual here. Great pictures of the night sky, and an interesting story. So comforting to have those apecial places in our memories.

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  6. Oh, my! You guys sure were ambitious! Can't wait to see Mt. Palomar. That is on our "to do" list.
    ~Cheryl Ann~

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  7. Beautiful night photos. I need to bundle up and get out to see the stars this week - always talk myself out of it when the temps plummet with the sun! Nice to see you had the hike to yourself, even on the weekend. Still hard to believe they lived there for so many years.

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  8. Congrats, you made it again. Looks nice there even if the wind is howling.

    Merry Christmas!

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  9. I loved the photos and the narrative, but I would have been content to sit with a book in a warm vehicle if I had been there.

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  10. Beautiful evening photos:)

    We have made the trek up to the homestead every year, as well. Something draws me in each time. We've also shared this trip with friends and take them to see the movie at VC before the visit each time. Again, the movie never gets old. I love seeing all the South's in action up there.

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