We went out for a short hike yesterday near a place called “Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center”. It’s a little house on the border of desert-like hills and mountains, they have a tiny museum there which opens on weekends and holds various educational activities for kids and grown-ups. Here is a bit of info from the website: For many years, the Santa Monica Mountains sustained the Chumash and Tongva/Gabrielino cultures. Sycamore Canyon, which cuts through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park, was part of a Chumash trade route. Satwiwa, which means "the bluffs," was the name of a nearby Chumash village. To reflect this heritage, Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center and Natural Area was established by the National Park Service in partnership with the Friends of Satwiwa.
We didn’t make it that far yesterday (our aim remains to be the highest peak that’s known to be sacred among Native American people there), walked maybe a couple of miles, and it was almost sunset. The way back was in complete darkness with the moon shining bright over the hills.
We saw an owl who landed on a solitary tree and watched us as we approached. It flew off when we tried to get a closer look. We saw a bunch of rabbits as well, and heard many noises.
And for the first time in our lives we heard a coyote pack howling in the distance, but not too far from us. The first thought was, “Do they have a haunted house nearby?!” because they sounded like demon-possessed children — crying, laughing, and howling all together at the same time. As they did that, a solitary coyote answered them somewhere from the hills which we left behind. The second thought was, “Skinwalkers?!”, and I hope I won’t insult anyone’s culture with this word, but the thought came to mind uncontrollably due to my resent exposure to some limited information on that phenomena. In the land where I come from, we also used to have what some call shamans, medicine men, and witches (all different) who were known for their supposed abilities to turn into animals and other creatures.
We would stay longer, but my 8-year-old was terrified. Had to turn phone lights on and carry her back to the parking lot, where our car was the only one left. Apparently, most people don’t go hiking in the dark.
It just made me realise how much I miss backpacking and camping, and how much more I need to take my child out into the wild.
If you are ever close by, visit the area, preferably when the weather isn’t too hot. You will find abundant local wildlife, seasonal desert plants, and magnificent views.
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