Sunday, January 04, 2009


It was nearly a year ago to the day that we first climbed the rugged path of Ghost Mountain leading to the old ruins & homestead of a man & his family who endured many hardships years ago to live a life free of society & all it's trappings. For some unknown reason I was very moved by the experience of walking through the ruins of what the family had called their home.......Yaquitepec. I took many pictures that day, & several days later we bought the book, Marshal South & the Chronicles of Ghost Mountain. I read that book cover to cover & it was the first book I had read in nearly 30 years. The blog I wrote about that day can be found here... Scroll down to January 4th & look for, Marshal South & Ghost Mountain.
On this trip back to the Anza-Borrego area I wanted to see where this man was buried & to-day we drove to Julian in search of Marshal South's final resting place.

The morning's weather was a mixture of sun & cloud. Rays of sunlight poked through into the Borrego Valley but large dark & ominous clouds were sitting on some of the mountain tops to the west & southwest, just the direction we were headed. Borrego Springs sits on the desert floor in the Borrego Valley at the foot of the San Ysidro mountains & the drive to Julian ascends to over 4000 feet high up in the Volcan Mountain Range to the southwest. It's a very winding & twisting road & as we headed upwards through the little settlement of Banner, the clouds came down to meet us. The sun was lost somewhere behind us & as we came around one of the tight curves with the windshield wipers fighting off the persistent rain. A rainbow suddenly appeared in the valley to our right. I was able to get pulled over on the shoulder & take a few photos before the rainbow faded into the mist. By the time we reached the little town of Julian it was very cold & we saw some remnants of the previous night's snowfall. This was our third visit to Julian & as the previous 2 times, we had trouble finding a parking place anywhere. This is a very touristy place & always crowded with people browsing in the many shops. Found a place one block off mainstreet & headed out on foot in the cold rain for downtown. Stopped into the Town Hall for a map of the town & to ask some questions. I wanted to see the fresco paintings Marshal South had done in one of the buildings which is now a Real Estate office. Luckily the office was open & I was able to take a few photos inside. Kelly had some browsing she wanted to do so we split up & I headed for the town's cemetery. Thanks to some excellent directions I found on the internet I was able to find Marshal South's plot with no trouble. As I stood there in the dreary rain looking at this man's grave I couldn't help but think of all his wonderfully descriptive writings about his life & times with his family up on Ghost Mountain in the Blair Valley, so many years ago.Marshal South authored a total of 102 articles & poems for Desert Magazine from 1939 to 1948. Eighty of these articles were about life on Ghost Mountain.

Thought we might grab a bite to eat & a coffee in Julian but after checking out the prices in a few places.....we got out of town!! Headed back down the twisting mountain road out of the cold depressing & dreary rain into the bright sunshine of the desert floor below & made a right turn onto S2 & the Blair Valley. We were in search of the Vallecito Stage Station which had been on the Butterfield Stagecoach route back in the late 1800's. That road took us right by Ghost Mountain where I hope to return one day next week for a last hike up the rocky twisting path to Yaquitepec. We finally reached our destination after traveling through a beautiful area of towering mountains & sweeping valley floors. So hard to imagine how the settlers & pioneers traveled these harsh lands in old buckboards, carts, & stagecoaches. They must have been a very hardy breed of people back then. Something we could all take a lesson from I'm sure.GHOST MOUNTAIN

We finally made it back to our rig just east of Borrego Springs shortly after 2 this afternoon. It had been a great 5 hour day trip & one I will always remember. We are just so fortunate to be here.....................................................


1 comment:

  1. Because of your interest in Marshal South and Ghost Mountain, thought you might want to know about our documentary THE GHOST MOUNTAIN EXPERIMENT. The website is We'll be camping in Blair Valley this Thursday. Will you still be around? ~ John McDonald