The desert has a way of drawing unique characters to its rugged way of life. It takes a certain type of person to be able to willingly endure the harsh elements being thrown at them year after year. That and the isolation that comes with living so far away from the city. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
But if you ask most of those who move out there, they will tell you that it is those exact reasons they came out there in the first place.
The desert is a captivating place afterall. Its vastness filled with long, forgotten stories only the ancient land bears as a last surviving witness. Every rock crevice holds potential for secrets. And sometimes you may find one of them.
The spot that we’re covering today is one of those secret places. Whipping up one of the area’s local peaks will lead you to a sweet memorial for a friend to many who has since passed on. His name was David Baze, one of the town’s beloved, eccentric artists.
David was a bit of a nomadic traveler, selling his paintings to people all over the place. One fateful day while taking the greyhound from Los Angeles to Arizona, the bus made a stop in Jacumba.
Immediately intrigued, he asked the bus driver when the next bus would be stopping there again and was told 2 hours. That gave him 2 hours to explore this alluring town that seemed to be stuck in a dusty haze of the 40’s.
He fell in love quickly with the area and found himself returning time and time again before officially calling this place home. Life was cheap out there and there were plenty of interesting people to befriend.
“I could leave Jacumba with four or five paintings, come back a week later with a couple thousand bucks. For hound-dogging around it was great, because I knew how much I could live on, so I’d just make these forays once in a while.”
There is a very in-depth article in the Reader that talks about Baze’s life, written in his own words. If you’re interested in learning a lot more about this man, click here.
David ended up passing away in 1998 but his memory lives on in those whom loved him. For those of us that never got the opportunity to meet him, we can feel a tiny bit of his presence in this hike that leads you to his memorial. The memorial was created by his best friend, another colorful character in the area, Dennis Ruth.
Due to the fact that this shrine could easily be destroyed by the wrong hands, we will be placing it behind our members section.
Into the wilderness we go!
This is not a perfect trail by any means. There is rock scrambling involved at times and many moments where the trail will look like these shots below: