Featured Post

My Expedition Vehicle & Trailer

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hike To Chumash Pictographs

Before the Spanish established the California missions in the 1700's, the Chumash tribe numbered in the tens of thousands. They inhabited a large area roughly from Malibu to Palos Verdes and far inland. In each tribal village was a shaman/astrologer. They often used caves in the hills and mountains for religious ceremonies and decorated the caves with pictographs of human and animal figures.

A friend and I had planned to embark on a long day hike (15+ miles round trip) to a cave in the Los Padres National Forest. The cave is not marked on any maps and any obvious trail signs and markers have been removed by the USFS. Good internet research can help a bit but apparently a wrong turn in a number of places can cause you to miss the cave's location.

We had hoped for an early start and were a number of miles into a dirt road when we found a locked gate. A sign proclaimed that road damage was the cause. We wished that we had out bikes because we could have ridden into the trail head but to hike the addtional distance would have been too much.

After much discussion the decision was made to try to locate another Chumash site but it would involve some route finding over little used trails and even less solid information on the actual location. A perfect challenge!

We loaded up and turned around, driving out on the long dirt road, back to the highway and then the freeway to a different trail head.

Here is Alan at the starting point

An interesting plant called the
Snow plant (A. Sarcodes sanguinea), found during the early summer in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. They are monotropes.

Alan reancting what a bear had done to this tree

Bear scat

An old jeep trail

Illegal pot farm irrigation system's pipes that tapped a spring. In a conversation with a solitary hiker that we met, he described another possible location to us.

These lizards are so cool!

We found the site!!

Alan wishes he had cell coverage

 The detective work and routefinding were well worth the effort!

Thanks for following along on this hike!