Yesterday our story continued with "Looking for dad" when I biked away from the airport and began the trip back home. Today we tell more of the Bird Egg Creek adventure.
Bird Egg Creek [Continued]
There were stories about this place. Kids at school talked about it. They said that the Pachuco gangs were out there somewhere. It was said that the Pachucos sometimes stayed near a small stream that flowed at the bottom of a very steep hill. That stream was called Bird Egg Creek. But no kid at my school had ever even seen Bird Egg Creek.
When I was in the 5th grade at City Terrace School I had three close friends. Richard Gallegos, Art Alvarez and Henry Saltzburg. We had a club house that was in a hillside cave in the vacant lot across the street from my house. The cave was dug by Big George, a kind of crazy older kid whose family had moved away a few years ago. The cave was kept secret because we had a bunch of weeds and junk piled in front of the small entrance.
One day during summer school vacation in 1949, the four of us were inside the cave. We had talked about Bird Egg Creek before. About biking up there and then hiking down to the creek. But all of us were afraid of Bird Egg. Not only because of the Pachucos, but because we did not know what was down in the deep canyon where the creek flowed. There were rumors that the hill that went down to the creek was so steep, that if we tried to hike that hill, we would fall all the way to the bottom.
We took a vote, and it was decided to go. "What about the Pachucos?" I said. Richard who was the toughest of us said, "Let's take our sling shots and a pocket full of good rocks for protection." All four of us were pretty good with sling shots.
We decided to go in the middle of the week when our parents were working so that we could keep the hike a secret. All of our parents worked. Art's mom and my mom were divorced. Richard and Henry's parents both worked, so it would be easy to go to Bird Egg without permission.
During the week before 4th of July, 1949, the four of us rode our bikes past City Terrace School and pedaled a couple of miles to the old fence that bordered the empty field that we would have to cross. The field was a gently up-sloping hill. We could see maybe a quarter mile up that slope, but no farther. Because the field was filled with dry weeds, we had to push our bikes instead of riding. When we came to the top most part of the hill, we were surprised to see that the hills in front of us were vacant as far as we could see. There was nothing out there. No trees. No buildings. We hid our bikes in the tall weeds on the downside of the hill and began our hike down to Bird Egg Creek.
"God, it's really quiet." I said. It was true. As soon as we went past the crest of the hill, all the noise from the city stopped. We all looked at each other. The silence made us afraid. But nobody said anything about being afraid. We just continued walking down into the canyon. After about half a mile, the gentle slope ended. Now we were looking into the steepest part of the canyon. But the slope of the hill would not let us look all the way to the bottom. It was really steep! Somewhere down there was Bird Egg Creek.
[To be continued]
Location: El Chaco RV Park
Elevation: 15 meters