Elfin Forest, which neighbors Questhaven and Harmony Grove, is not only
great for hiking but also for delving deeper into the mysteries that
surround this area. Like its popular neighboring communities, the Elfin
Forest is rumored to be extremely haunted with hundreds if not thousands of stories and sightings to back up this claim.
The most popular myth is about the white witch. As the story goes, her husband and son were murdered out here a long time ago. Rumour has is she is still looking for her family, or possibly the person who murdered them. If you speak to the people at the Harmony Grove Spiritual Center, which is the area's psychic village, they say that she finally found the light many years ago. They used to see her regularly but haven't seen her for years. There are also stories of the Northern Diegueno Indians haunting these grounds. Upon hiking, if you're lucky enough, you may come across mortars, metates, pictographs, and petroglyphs.
Elfin Indians: There has been a lot of evidence that Northern Digueno Indians lived in this area. Archaeological digs have found artifacts, mortars, metates, pictographs and petroglyphs. These primitive drawings have helped to further decipher the Uyman language, which was spoken more than 9,000 years ago. There are petroglpyhs which have been found on one man’s property. Tours to view these ancient findings are occasionally held but you have to be in the "in" to be part of them. It is believed that the symbols found in this area are tied into other similar drawings which have been found in Escondido, Hemet, Borrego and Rancho Bernardo. They were once used as navigating symbols.
Sources suggest that the Elfin forest and its surrounding areas were a meeting ground for many tribes and that these grounds were said to have good energy. One must wonder what went wrong for a once peaceful meeting-ground to now be rumored to have dark energy.
Two tribes that we know of whom inhabited this area were the San Dieguenos and Luisenos indians.
The Campground: During your exploration of this area, you will begin to notice an abundance of debris and ruins from days long ago. Much of these ruins are from what used to be known as the Elfin Forest Vacation Ranch. In 1959 developers purchased 97 acres and began creating from a beautiful vision. This vision came complete with a lake and dam, a grocery store and spaces for trailers, campers and mobile homes. There was boating, fishing, movies, dancing and many great memories were created. Heavy rains in 1978 washed away the lake and swept away much of the ranch though. Since then, what was left of the ranch has slowly continued to waste away.
Personal Experience: I haven't had anything crazy happen to me personally in the Elfin Forest. I have had friend's cars get totaled or broken down mysteriously which are the same types of stories that happen in the surrounding areas of Questhaven and Harmony Grove.
UPDATE: 3/27/14- I had gotten messages that none of the stuff in my photos is there anymore and many people have asked me for an update. FINALLY, on a wonderfully overcast day, we headed back out there. The main difference is the Elfin Forest sign is gone. :( BUT, that is the only main difference I found. We hiked far more than I ever had before and were astounded by all the remnants of the past that still remain. And we only scraped the surface! This area is huge and filled with trails. We just followed our intuition on where to go. I visited the old ruins I have always had on here to see if they're still there and they are. We looked for the doll head but then ran into a snake so got out of there. The doll head is planted deep and I found it by sheer luck one day so don't expect to find it easily! I have stumbled upon it on two occasions though. Like I always say, if you stay on one traditional trail expecting to find all sorts of interesting things, you most likely will be sorely disappointed. I've always been an off-trail type of girl and that's why I think I get so lucky!
I was fortunate enough to interview a man who used to frequent the vacation camp as a kid. Here is what Vernon Jaworsky had to say about it:
"Elfin forest was my first memory of camping. My friend's family brought us there in 1973. When we first got there, we saw the beautiful lake. It had an island in the middle with Tiki's and hen houses for the Peacocks and chickens. There were canoes and pedal boats for use. The store was painted red and had a bonfire pit in front. At night we would go to the store and they would have people playing music or showing movies against the wall.
As you entered the main gate, the office and store was to your left. Two sisters ran the park. Between the lake and Harmony Grove Lane was a camping area. If you drove to the right and crossed the dam, you entered the residential trailer park. Some were regular mobile homes, some were fifth wheel. Just past the creek on the right was a road that pararelled the creek. This was where we always camped. Beneath a huge oak tree that was hollow underneath.
There were these huge spool ends that we used to be like huck fin and pole raft our way down the creek. We would swim and raft and even fish off these. The bluegill in the creek fought like bass, but would bite anything. Even bare hooks. Wild celery grew along the creek. It was my favorite place in the world.
When the flood occured in 1978 the lake was filled in by all the runoff down the river. The dam burst and the birds escaped. But people still came, it was like a second home. We could still swim in the creek and fish. The peacocks spread to the hill and bred. The sisters ran it as long as they could. I even played my firsf video game there, it was Space Invaders."
Here is a beautiful photo that a reader provided of this area in its heyday!
UPDATE: The fence no longer looks like this. It has been replaced by an intimidating black fence. Walk to the right side of it and there are trails that say no motor vehicles allowed, but implies that by foot is okay:
Now it looks like this:
We parked here:
New photos 3/27/2014:
We ran into this guy at one point and he refused to move! Darn! That forced us to explore another area instead:
Somebody please help me out on what this could have been!
There were so many ruins everywhere that I just stopped photographing them. There are interesting things scattered all over this forest!
All the ruins from the old trailer home resort are still there. Just look at the older photos above for reference:
Watch out for this beast Singing Nettle! Grrrrrr.....
Was there a restaurant here at one point??
Anza Borrego Desert
Cuyamaca State Park