Friday, November 06, 2009

Black Star Canyon Indian Village

(GPS: N33 48.140 W117 39.290)

Blackstar Canyon Indian Village (Youtube Version)

Blackstar Canyon Indian Village (Vimeo Version)

First, let me say that I spent a lot of time searching blogs on the afternoon of Halloween for those blogging about the topic. There are a bunch of blogs dedicated to the holiday and the various “creatures” that go along with it. There is definitely a lot of good stuff out there. I wish I could keep up with the so many blogs. After spending my time reading blogs dedicated to Halloween and other spooky matters it made me sad that the Halloween season is over. Now it is the quick change in stores for Thanksgiving and Christmas themed merchandise, off we go, and then we wonder where the year went.

With October out of the way, my “spooky” series to end the month is over too, but the whole purpose of the hike I did in my last blog entry was to get to this historic location. It turns out that this area has some spooky legends that go along with it, but that will not be the focus here. Although, as you will probably figure out, one can see how spooky legends would arise from this location.

Some years back I really desired to come to visit this Indian village. I had heard a lot about it, but never could find much about where it was actually located. There are a lot of general directions given online about it. I would read stuff like, “It is 6 miles from the trailhead.” Then I had read some people had trouble finding it, or missed it, and said they would have to go back. That is one thing about me, I really like to know where I am going if I have to hike very far into something. Just missing something on a hard hike can be really annoying. Then, at the time, I was hearing stuff about people getting confronted by the people who live there with shotguns and I was wondering if I would ever see this historical place. I decided to do a careful search, but knew that this location was just past the major switchbacks.

There was no real issue finding this place. If you saw my last video, I am overlooking it in the distance in the last 20 seconds or so. As you are descending on the trail after the switchbacks you look to the right for a big patch of trees. In my picture you can see a big post and a descent trail. Then, if you look really closely, you can see a sign: Historic Indian Village No. 217 (It is a California Historical Landmark).

I walked past the sign and started to investigate the area. After passing some of the tree cover the area opens up to some mounds with rocks.
On examing the rocks you will see many holes. These holes are the grinding rocks used by the Gabrieleno/Tongva Indians. They would mash up the acorns collected in this area in these holes.
Some of these holes are really big.
Looking inside one of the holes.
One of the stories about this area is that there was a skirmish between American fur trappers and a group of Gabrieleno Indians here in 1831. American fur trappers were attempting to recover horses stolen by the Indians here. The fur trappers moved in and killed several of the Indians. The horses were recovered and returned to the owners outside of the canyon. I have seen some really dramatic accounts of this, but the reality is it is based on one account we know of by oral tradition. You can find the source of it in the Black Star Canyon part of this LINK.

In any case, it was a fun area to stop at after many years of trying to learn about it and find out just exactly where it was. I ended up eating lunch there sitting on a rock that more than a few Indians had probably done the same thing a few hundred years earlier.

Coincidentally, the next historic spot on the trail is only about 500 feet more down the trail. It was not as significant to me, but still worth checking out since it is the site of a “wild west” story. I will show that next time.