Back in the 1950s Raul “Roy” Tarango and his friends would set out on a 40-minute hike to El Salto Falls. Tarango and his friends would bring a small paper bag of avocados, tomatoes, apricots and watermelon from orchards along the way. Once they arrived, the boys would strip off their clothes and head into the water.
“I started going to El Salto when I was 8. We called it Marron Falls then,” Tarango said. “We weren't supposed to be there, but once you were down in the hole it was difficult to be seen. It was solid granite and shaped like a horseshoe. The waterfall was in the middle. Our goal was to find the bottom of the pond. We never did, and we were pretty good swimmers. The pond was full of fresh water, and there was always watercress growing nearby that tasted great with salt.”
Indians originally settled along El Salto about 9,000 years ago. The falls is a registered sacred site with the Native American Heritage Commission. The springs were used to irrigate agricultural fields that remained in the Marron family into the 20th century.
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Anza Borrego Desert
Cuyamaca State Park