Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nothing Bad Happened Today

After a rest day on Friday, we had a triple-header day today,  ending the day with a nice dinner at Carmelita's, a Mexican cantina. We think this is the one Nan Tally meant to recommend.  The food and the Margaritas were great! We decided we needed to celebrate the day, because nothing bad happened when it sure could have.

We started the day early, for us, with a drive southwest to Ghost Mountain. The first part of the drive was quite nice on paved highway and county roads. My Falcon guide to "best easy day hikes in Anza-Borrego" said the trailhead was 2.3 miles from CR2. The park guide simply said it was at the end of the dirt road. The dirt road was really quite sandy and a bit rough. I am a very pessimistic worry-wart, and was afraid we would get stuck. In addition to being narrow with very soft shoulders, it was not really marked in any way, and at 2.3 miles there was nothing resembling a parking area.  We turned around and tried a different route, all the while with me wanting to just turn back, get to the highway, and forget the hike.

It didn't happen. After going around the loop a second time, we found the trail-head parking lot.

The morning was wonderfully cool for the mile climb up the rocky path to the Marshal South family homesite. We saw a movie about it Friday at the visitor's center. Seems that a man and wife decided to live and raise a family in an experimental, primitive style atop Ghost Mountain.  They stayed for seventeen years and had three children. Their story is here.

Anyway, the view from the top of the mountain was well worth the one mile climb up a rocky trail with a 420 foot rise. Once up there, we ate our breakfast sandwitches between two large boulders that shealtered us from the wind. As beautiful as it was, I wouldn't want to live there.  Here are some of the pictures we took:

Ruins of the Marshal South house

View of the Blair Valley from the top of Ghost Mountain

 As the morning progessed, more and more people arrived at the ruins of the South house, and we were glad we had made an early start. Groups of people don't disturb me very much. I figure if we get into trouble there would be someone around to help us.

Yes, Merikay is on a trail.  It was quite steep and very rough.
We just can't imagine carrying supplies up this, but they did for
seventeen years!
The drive back to the highway was less distressing because I knew where we were and how to get where we were going. But it was also difficult because the road was definitely one lane and amore and more cars were coming in.

The road from above.
We has a few difficult passing situations.  Our little Accent is not a high-clearance vehicle, and does not have very good traction in soft sand, so we had to stop and let the oncoming jeeps and pickups either make their way around us, or pull off and allow us to pass them. I was sure we would get stuck if we pulled off. But everyone was very nice and everyone was gracious. 

So, nothing bad happened and we made it safely back to the paved road and home to the Alfa.

Later in the day we had another adventure, and almost got in trouble, but I save that story for tomorrow, because it is almost 7:30 and we are headed out again to attend a ranger-led campfire.

[From Craig] Calling all Ducks! Wisconsin 85, Oregon 77!


  1. Beautiful views but there is no way I would climb up there with supplies for living. Not even when I was a whole lot younger. You may need to rethink the vehicle situation if you're going to do that kind of off road exploring.

  2. We've talked about getting something Jeepish after the house closes. Best-case scenario for that is 2 days from now, so more talking may be in order.

  3. That looks more like rock climbing than hiking!

  4. That is such a beautiful area, but I'm with you and wouldn't want to live there either.

    Nice to see you wearing a hat!

    I'm a worrier too, but most of the time I've been right. In fact, I posted something similar on my blog today. Al was getting a little annoyed with me. :)

    It's bad when you have to celebrate that nothing bad happened. I am sure things will improve once the house closes.

  5. Glad you didn't get stuck! Beautiful views from up there. It's amazing where some people decide to live. I surely thought Kevin was going to have a heart attack during the Badger game. Thank goodness they won so he could go to sleep a "happy camper"!!

  6. Nice that you persevered & found Ghost Mountain. Another one of my favorite places. I think Jeepish would be a great idea for you guys. Opens up a whole new scenic world of excitement & adventure.

  7. Looks like a nice place for a hike. I drive our Honda Ridgeline so we can take roads like that, though I do worry when we're out on them and no one else is around.

  8. I agree with Al. We love our Jeep! Gets us places we would have other wise missed!

    Beautiful views....I love those kinds of hikes.

    Can't wait to hear about the campfire!


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