We wound our way one mile up a fairly steep, rocky and windswept mountain yesterday to find Marshall South’s homestead. I’ve been reading his Ghost Mountain Chronicles, the account of his family’s “experiment in primitive living”. I am soaking in it.
Something about this man and his family on that wild remote mountain has captivated me. An Australian dreamer, poet, artist who had a vision back in 1932. To flee from the modern world and it’s soulless drive away from the natural world.
They lived like the Indians. They roamed the mountains naked and barefoot and made everything they needed. They wove rugs and fired pottery, made a printing press for their poetry and drawings and they raised 3 children up there. Well, mostly. The dream went south when they divorced but they lasted 16 years up there and kept a journal of sorts which was published in Desert Magazine monthly.
So it was a thrill for me to walk the path Mr South and his family trod and even though the wind was howling and we’re both fighting off colds, I’m so glad we did. As we were exploring the homestead I spied a tiny tent tucked in among the mescal plants and boulders. An older gentleman stepped out of the tent. Tom who is 78 years old, was spending the night on the mountain in his super lux Cuban fiber tent. We had a lovely chat about Marshall and his wild experiment and he told us about his trek on the PCT a few years ago AND the AT when he was 14. The dude is hard core. I’m thinking of him up on that gusty mountain top communing with the ghosts of Marshall and Tanya because they are up there I’m sure. Tanya gave up the ghost and left the mountain once Marshall started spending more time in the town of Julian than with her and the children up on the mountain. There is almost nothing left of the homestead. Some of the water cisterns they built, part of an old bed frame and other rusted pieces of things.
Scott and Tom @ Yaquitepec
View from the top.
We came back to camp and visited with the fellow Airstreamers who are spending the holidays here in the desert.
It was a fine day.
We had little visitors for a week.
It gave me a whole new appreciation for those full timers with small children.
We’ve enjoyed this spot and the little town of Borrego Springs. I feel like a regular at the Market and the Library and this place….
which makes a fine Ketel One dry martini.
The Red Ocotillo which makes a delicious crab cake benedict and Carmelitas for Chilaquiles.
I love it here and look forward to coming back in the spring maybe but I’m ready to head out. Tomorrow we move on. West to Yuma.
I wish you all the Sweetest and Happiest of Holidays.XXOO
Thank you a million times for this post. It gives me all the feelings. Merry Christmas and everything else to the two of you fine journeyers.
Also- have you ever tried Tito’s vodka? Made in Texas. Very fine vodka. I’ll drink a martini tonight and toast to the both of you.
Thank you Dear Mary Moon! As a matter of fact we have a bottle of Tito’s in our freezer as I write. Am I the only weirdo that likes it mixed with Kombucha? Cayenne Cleanse is a favorite. We shall raise a glass to you both as well. Big hugs y mucho carino.
Have you been to Mittry Lake? It’s quite the boondock. Friends of ours stay there a lot. If you’re interested, you can read about it here.
ongawsh! Thanks for that link Allison. I met Jim and Gayle a couple of years ago near Flagstaff! Mittry Lake looks like just the thing. Hope to meet you on the road sometime!
What wonderful photos, and I agree with Mary that it’s a most excellent Christmas post. I’ve been to that town and some of those spots but in the spring when the desert was in full blown. I think I was pregnant with Henry — the spring of 1998, just after heavy rains so the place was magnificent. I think it will be this spring, too, so you’re in for a treat if you go back. I love reading about your and Tearful’s adventures. You’re both an inspiration — exhilarating, really.