HomeCompleted Trips

Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Martinez and Agua Alta 3 Day backpack Messages in this topic - RSS

rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/7/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Greetings explorers. At the end of March, I did a 3-day solo backpack into the East side of the Santa Rosas. The purpose of the expedition was to locate some areas of interest I noted on Goggle Earth in and around Martinez and Agua Alta canyons. First day; Hike in, set up base camp at the fork of Martinez and Agua Alta canyons then hike up a side canyon of Martinez up a faint Native American trail to a possible seasonal village site. Day two; Hike up Agua Alta and attempt to locate a 60-foot Dia. "mystery " rock circle and then continue up to the head waters of Agua Alta towards the Cactus spring trail. Day three pack out. Temps ranged from the 60's at night to mid 80's late afternoon.
Parked my car at elevation 200 in a farmer's field and hiked in. My pack was loaded with a lot of gear and 20 pints of water (20 lbs.) for an even 55 lb. pack weight. After feeling like a mule for 4+ miles I dumped my pack and made a base camp.


Heading up a Martinez side canyon along a faint Native American trail as far as I could follow it. Dawns peak right of center.


Along the faint trail was this. Rock looked as though it had been "worked on"


At the end of the trail, I located a seasonal village.


Lots of grinding slicks


I arranged the stone tools on the rock for a better photo.









Lots of sleeping circles.



Rock circle on a flat rock.



Heading back to camp along the "trail". Faded in and out for about a mile and half.



Flowers making an appearance



Found the camera heading back to base camp. Still working on rounding up a reader for that size SSD card.


Home sweet home.



Day two primary search. The rock circle is very faint near center. Natural or man-made?





Up Agua Alta canyon.




Canyon opens up here. The first spring was surface dry and surrounded by cat's claw. There are some sizable flattish areas on both sides of the dry creek here. To the right of the creek is an old Native seasonal camp site. To the left is where I am searching for the "mystery" rock circle.



Deep grinding slick.



I was able to obtain water from that water fall on a prior trip. I also solo climbed the easiest way to the top of the falls back then. Photo looks across the seasonal camp.







Inside the "mystery" rock circle. Noted some pottery pieces and small charcoal pieces poking through the sand.









Continuing up Agua Alta



Up a 10-foot dry shoot.



I met my match at this 20 foot + slick dry fall. I had to double back about 1/4 mile and climb up along the canyon walls. The canyon walls is where I stayed mostly on the rest of the climb.



Still climbing. I found myself on sections of the old trail following pottery pieces.




The upper reaches of Agua Alta canyon. Finally, it gets easier up here. The trial follows the ridge up towards the lone pinyon pine at the saddle. The cactus spring trail is just beyond heading towards Martinez. Reverse course and back to base camp. Adventurous day.




Heading out of Martinez canyon. Saw boot tracks up Martinez but none up Agua Alta. Saw no one. Too many mylar balloons. So glad they are now banned. Used up all of my water.

Cheers

Rockhopper





edited by rockhopper on 4/7/2022
edited by rockhopper on 4/7/2022
edited by rockhopper on 4/7/2022
+1 link
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545


4/7/2022
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545
Wow! Just fantastic stuff up here. I am going to have to explore this. You ever have issues leaving your car where you do?
link
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162


4/7/2022
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162
That's impressive GE research as well as impressive hiking. I've done the top part of the Cactus Spring trail as far as Cactus Spring and I've done Martinez to the Miller Cabin and back, but never that section that connects them. I have a few questions.

How was the section with the reeds in Martinez? That really slowed me down on the way up but was quicker on the return when I had figured out the best way to get through. But I could imagine it being a problem if the growth got any thicker.

The dry spring you mentioned with the cat's claw and seasonal camp - is that Agua Alta spring?

When you encountered the 20' dry fall, is that along the route that would be marked on a map as the trail, or were you off trail there?
edited by Brian on 4/7/2022
link
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 907


4/7/2022
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 907
Excellent trip and photos rockhopper. I'm still a fan of my external frame pack, carries weight very well.

--
http://www.coyotelearning.org
link
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 1009


4/7/2022
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 1009
Glad to see someone else likes to spot stuff on GE and go out and find it. Did 9 miles this past weekend in order to get to this "rock" circle in an area known to contain Archaic sites via "Indian"/game/immigrant trails I also spotted on GE. Ended up being a lovely circle of cholla cacti around a sediment catchment and the trails had discarded plastic and clothing but still had a good time.

Cholla Circle by tomteske, on Flickr

Did a Martinez-Agua Alta loop a few years back with Daren, Gary and Joel that has a bunch of your pics and comments posted here: http://www.anzaborrego.net/anzaborrego/forum/topic1139-martinez-and-agua-alta-canyons-backpack.aspx
Also remember getting to that dry falls in Agua Alta on the decent and having to backtrack and climb out. Nice TR! Tom
edited by tommy750 on 4/7/2022
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/8/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Rocko1 wrote:
Wow! Just fantastic stuff up here. I am going to have to explore this. You ever have issues leaving your car where you do?


Rocko1, No real people involved issues ever with my messing with my vehicles. I do put notes taped to car windows "hiking be back soon" and my phone #. The only major car issues have been with the rodents chewing up engine wiring harness. But that was at a trail head in the Sierras. Not as big a problem in the Desert.

Side note: On this trip I was able to get thru 3 farm gates to get closer to Martinez. Saves about a mile of hiking. On the way out the 3rd gate was locked! And I thought my adventure was over. I was exhausted, my feet were sore and looked pretty haggard and had to hike off to find the farmer. I do carry bolt cutters but didn't want to be "The bad Backpacker". I wandered up to the nearest farm house with rooster crowing and was able to have the farmer unlock the gate. I explained that Cal Topo and Google Earth show the Martinez trail head is at the end of this dirt road past the 3 gates. He just smiled like he has done this before.
+1 link
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545


4/8/2022
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545
rockhopper wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:
Wow! Just fantastic stuff up here. I am going to have to explore this. You ever have issues leaving your car where you do?


Rocko1, No real people involved issues ever with my messing with my vehicles. I do put notes taped to car windows "hiking be back soon" and my phone #. The only major car issues have been with the rodents chewing up engine wiring harness. But that was at a trail head in the Sierras. Not as big a problem in the Desert.

Side note: On this trip I was able to get thru 3 farm gates to get closer to Martinez. Saves about a mile of hiking. On the way out the 3rd gate was locked! And I thought my adventure was over. I was exhausted, my feet were sore and looked pretty haggard and had to hike off to find the farmer. I do carry bolt cutters but didn't want to be "The bad Backpacker". I wandered up to the nearest farm house with rooster crowing and was able to have the farmer unlock the gate. I explained that Cal Topo and Google Earth show the Martinez trail head is at the end of this dirt road past the 3 gates. He just smiled like he has done this before.


Thanks. Good call on the bolt cutters-that or a hack saw would be a life saver.
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/8/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Brian wrote:
That's impressive GE research as well as impressive hiking. I've done the top part of the Cactus Spring trail as far as Cactus Spring and I've done Martinez to the Miller Cabin and back, but never that section that connects them. I have a few questions.

How was the section with the reeds in Martinez? That really slowed me down on the way up but was quicker on the return when I had figured out the best way to get through. But I could imagine it being a problem if the growth got any thicker.

The dry spring you mentioned with the cat's claw and seasonal camp - is that Agua Alta spring?

When you encountered the 20' dry fall, is that along the route that would be marked on a map as the trail, or were you off trail there?
edited by Brian on 4/7/2022



Brian,

The vegetation is rapidly changing from year to year. Martinez up to Millers rock house is pretty straight forward. The vegetation past millers cabin really get thick heading towards the falls. What section are you mentioning?

That dry spring is not Agua Alta. Just a unnamed spring in the lower canyon. Agua Alta is up on the cactus spring trail at elev. 4300 ft.

The trail is a combination of following the creek bottom and side canyon scrambling. Dry waterfalls and cats claw forces you out of the canyon bottom. I will give the first person a bottle of my finest booze if someone takes a flame thrower to the invading cats claw taking over sections of the canyon bottom. I did find some faint trail sections along the canyon walls.
+1 link
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162


4/8/2022
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162
rockhopper wrote:

Brian,

The vegetation is rapidly changing from year to year. Martinez up to Millers rock house is pretty straight forward. The vegetation past millers cabin really get thick heading towards the falls. What section are you mentioning?

That dry spring is not Agua Alta. Just a unnamed spring in the lower canyon. Agua Alta is up on the cactus spring trail at elev. 4300 ft.

The trail is a combination of following the creek bottom and side canyon scrambling. Dry waterfalls and cats claw forces you out of the canyon bottom. I will give the first person a bottle of my finest booze if someone takes a flame thrower to the invading cats claw taking over sections of the canyon bottom. I did find some faint trail sections along the canyon walls.


Thanks you for the answers. The spot where I had problems was a choke point in Martinez Canyon where the only way I could get through was to squeeze between the reeds and a rock wall on the right. I'm not entirely sure, but it may have been here: 33°29'51"N 116°17'06"W
edited by Brian on 4/8/2022
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/9/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Brian, I looked at your coordinates. Vegetation and the dreaded cat's claw are over growing in the canyon bottoms in a desperate search for water. All I can say is more hikers need to push thru to keep the trails more open. The cattle are not around anymore roaming the canyons to "bulldoze" through.
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/9/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Here is my route map.



Hiked around 23 miles. Used all 20 lbs of water. Planning next trip at higher elevations now the lower elevations are warming up.
+1 link
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162


4/9/2022
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162
rockhopper, now that I see your route map I realize the mistake I was making. I had been thinking your base camp was at the confluence of where the Cactus Spring trail comes into Martinez. I guess that's Tahquitz Canyon. I forgot that Agua Alta Canyon comes in more toward the mouth of Martinez. So I don't think you passed the choke point I was mentioning, and my other questions were also based on the assumption you were on the other trail.
link
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 330


4/10/2022
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 330
Magnificent trip. With that many miles, I'm surprised your water lasted.


I could barely make out your satellite circle. I do like exploring via Google Earth and heading to interesting places. I don't do that enough.

Thanks for sharing!
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/16/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
tekewin wrote:
Magnificent trip. With that many miles, I'm surprised your water lasted.


I could barely make out your satellite circle. I do like exploring via Google Earth and heading to interesting places. I don't do that enough.

Thanks for sharing!


Tekewin
I was able to take advantage of a mini weather window of cooler temps after the last rain. This made my water consumption a lot lower, but still used almost 1 Gal. per day. Water / food/ fuel was half the pack weight. For added weight I threw in a big can of steak and potatoes. But I needed some calories for the next day. I had about 1 cup full of water when I returned to the vehicle. Hopefully we get some big monsoon rains to recharge the springs.
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/16/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Tommy750
Neat story about your rock circle search and finding it. It is always different on the ground. The same for my rock circle search. The "mystery ring" picture above sure looked man made. About 60 foot in diameter. On the ground is barely discernable. Seeing old charcoal poking thru the sand made me think it was a ceremonial gathering site for rituals perhaps. Too big for a roasting pit?

btw I remember your trip down Agua Alta. Thanks for the repost. Enjoyed it. Cheers.

Here are the Google Earth pictures that got me motivated to go out and check it out.

Up the nose



The trail. Center of picture.


edited by rockhopper on 4/18/2022
link
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545


4/18/2022
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 545
rockhopper wrote:
Tommy750
Neat story about your rock circle search and finding it. It is always different on the ground. The same for my rock circle search. The "mystery ring" picture above sure looked man made. About 60 foot in diameter. On the ground is barely discernable. Seeing old charcoal poking thru the sand made me think it was a ceremonial gathering site for rituals perhaps. Too big for a roasting pit?

btw I remember your trip down Agua Alta. Thanks for the repost. Enjoyed it. Cheers.


Does the charcoal from roasting pits last for multiple centuries?
link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/18/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Rocko1 wrote:
rockhopper wrote:
Tommy750
Neat story about your rock circle search and finding it. It is always different on the ground. The same for my rock circle search. The "mystery ring" picture above sure looked man made. About 60 foot in diameter. On the ground is barely discernable. Seeing old charcoal poking thru the sand made me think it was a ceremonial gathering site for rituals perhaps. Too big for a roasting pit?

btw I remember your trip down Agua Alta. Thanks for the repost. Enjoyed it. Cheers.


Does the charcoal from roasting pits last for multiple centuries?



Rocko1,
I had to google it. Apparently burned wood, charcoal which contains no more organic matter in it is very stable so it can last for centuries underground. Longer in dryer climates. At the 60 foot "mystery ring" the surface was eroding away and small chunks of charcoal were making its way to the surface and then probably getting blown away with the strong winds over time. Giant roasting pit? Ceremonial ritual site? If I do Agua Alta again, I will have to check it out some more.


edited by rockhopper on 4/18/2022
link
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 1009


4/18/2022
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 1009
rockhopper wrote:
Rocko1 wrote:
rockhopper wrote:
Tommy750
Neat story about your rock circle search and finding it. It is always different on the ground. The same for my rock circle search. The "mystery ring" picture above sure looked man made. About 60 foot in diameter. On the ground is barely discernable. Seeing old charcoal poking thru the sand made me think it was a ceremonial gathering site for rituals perhaps. Too big for a roasting pit?

btw I remember your trip down Agua Alta. Thanks for the repost. Enjoyed it. Cheers.


Does the charcoal from roasting pits last for multiple centuries?



Rocko1,
I had to google it. Apparently burned wood, charcoal which contains no more organic matter in it is very stable so it can last for centuries underground. Longer in dryer climates. At the 60 foot "mystery ring" the surface was eroding away and small chunks of charcoal were making its way to the surface and then probably getting blown away with the strong winds over time. Giant roasting pit? Ceremonial ritual site? If I do Agua Alta again, I will have to check it out some more.


edited by rockhopper on 4/18/2022



Pretty sure charcoal will last thousands of year with regards to carbon-14 testing. Your first two photos of circles look like roasting pits but of course you would need to see if they are surrounded by fire affected rock and contain lots of ash/charcoal. Sometimes a overlying sediment layer complicates things. I know there is a 30 ft roasting pit on the Palo Verde trail Gary Jones showed me once. Not sure about 60 ft. Supposedly there is a 70 ft rock circle on the east side of Clark Lake but have been unable to locate it on GE. Here's an article regarding ages of local roasting pits and the curious observation they seemed to have been used more during dry periods of Ancient Lake Cahuilla. https://www.sandiegoarchaeology.org/Laylander/Issues/chron.agave.htm

NIce trail find leading out of Martinez.
+1 link
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162


4/18/2022
Brian
Brian
Posts: 162
rockhopper wrote:

Here are the Google Earth pictures that got me motivated to go out and check it out.

The trail. Center of picture.


I found it on GE. That would be quite the needle in a haystack to find that without the clues. Do you trace out the parts you can see on some app before you go, or do you just note the starting point and do it all from what you can see on the ground?
edited by Brian on 4/18/2022
+1 link
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654


4/19/2022
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 654
Hey Brain, I am only using Google Earth. Try using the historical views. It can make the old trails "pop" out. From what I know, there were 100's miles of Native American trails interlacing throughout the Santa Rosas. Only a small percentage of these trails remains visible on the surface today. The only remaining trail remnants I have found are on geologic stable areas, Mesas, Bajadas, heavily patinaed desert pavement, etc. It still is remarkable that today we can travel across trails thousands of years old.
edited by rockhopper on 4/19/2022
link






Powered by Jitbit Forum 8.3.8.0 © 2006-2013 Jitbit Software