Scheduled Hikes for 2010

 Blair Valley/Marshal South Cabin Hike

Date:  February 21th, 2010  09:00 AM -  05:00 PM
Hike Group:  San Diego Trail Tramps
Info. URLs:  Maps and directions for this hike
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Blair Valley Pictographs

Marshal South's history & Yaquitepec homestead
Anza Borrego Desert
 Description:  Blair Valley: Marshal South Cabin - Pictograph Trail - Mortero Wash Hikes

Today we'll do three hikes (2 short and one medium length): the 1st hike will be to Marshal South Cabin (Schad's book: Area D-8, Trip 4, p. 305), the 2nd hike will be to the Morteros Wash, between Pictograph Trail and Marshal South Cabin, and the 3rd hike is Pictograph Trail (Area D-8, Trip 5, pp.306-307).

1. Marshal South Cabin is about a 2 mile roundtrip hike, with a 400' elevation gain/loss. Roundtrip hike time is about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs. Marshal South and his wife lived atop the remote mountaintop from Ferbuary 1932 to the mid-'40s, raising 3 children in an adobe cabin called "Yaquitepec", much like the prehistoric Indians of that region. The ruins of Yaquitepec are today one of Anza-Borrego's noted attractions. From the road-end parking area, a trail climbs in switchbacks up the rocky slope, and turns east along the ridge to the Yaquitepec site. Little remains of the dwelling except some of the walls and the water cistern, but the view from the site is awesome and is a great place to have lunch.

2. In between Marshal South Cabin and Pictograph Trail is Mortero Wash. It suffered fire damage in the late 1990's and is still recovering, but it is worth the hike. It is where the Indians actually lived. There is a large rock and stone seat where they did their puberty/rights-of-passage rituals. The place is full of morteros (the holes created in the granite from grinding corn and acorn nuts) and half caves and over-cropped rocks that were used for shelter. The hike starts out easy, and then gets a little difficult, requiring some boulder hopping.

3. Pictograph Trail is the most heavily used trail in Blair Valley, because it is the easiest to get to. There is a really neat smoke cave at the trail head that the Indians used. Unlike Marshal South cabin (a steep climb that ends in an incredible view), Pictograph Trail will barely get you out of breath and only takes about 20-25 minutes up and 15 minutes back. The pictographs are on one huge rock, about the size of a one story house. The area has a unique mixture of high and low desert plants. You'll see ocotillos, beaver tail cacti, barrel cacti along with juniper, pinion pine, and agave.

We'll meet at 9 am in Hillcrest at the usual location for last minute info, directions and carpooling. Refer to maps to be posted on our website homepage for details on the area. For those driving in from other areas, we'll rendezvous out there around 10:45 am at the Marshal South Cabin trailhead parking area to begin our hikes. Questions/comments? Email: Cyberhiker @ sbcglobal. net