Brushy Peak Loop Trail
Mortar Count: 6
Open
Cave Camp
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Club Moto
Mortar Count: 30
Open
First Terrace
Mortar Count: 31
Open
Frick Lake
Mortar Count: 16
Open
Kitchen Site
Mortar Count: 22
Open
Post Office Rock
Mortar Count: 12
Open
Reservoir
Mortar Count: 7
Open
Second Terrace
Mortar Count: 20
Open
Sulphur Spring
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Third Terrace
Mortar Count: 6
Open
Top ‘o Brushy Peak
Mortar Count: 1
Open
Upper Fetus
Mortar Count: 5
Open
Vernal Pool
Mortar Count: 23
Open
Windmill Overlook, Central
Mortar Count: 22
Open
Windmill Overlook, Lower
Mortar Count: 20
Open
Windmill Overlook, Upper
Mortar Count: 2
Open

Territory: Ssaoam

The Ssaoam were an Ohlone tribelet inhabiting the hills around Brushy Peak and the Altamont Pass. Their territory lay astride the main trade routes linking the Bay Area with the San Joaquin Valley. The Ssaoam acted as brokers in a regional trade network with the Volvon (Bay Miwoks) and the Tamcan (Northern Valley Yokuts).They hosted trade feasts on the northeast side of Brushy Peak. Acess to this area is controlled by the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District (LARPD). Call (925) 373-5707 for details about visiting this area on a ranger led tour.

Wind and water have worked their magic on the rock formations scattered below Brushy Peak’s northeast flank. This is a surreal, if not supernatural, place.

The main Ssaoam settlement was on the southwest side of Brushy Peak. It spread over the slopes of Brushy Peak on terraces and ridges. We’ve found 141 bedrock mortars here at 10 distinct sites. All of these sites are on non-restricted parkland in the Brushy Peak Regional Preserve.

There are two cupule rocks in this settlement: one has 23 cupules, the other 18.

View of Brushy Peak from near the Laughlin Ranch Staging Area. Nearly all the bedrock mortar sites we’ve found on this side of Brushy Peak are visible from here.

TheBrain

Vernal Pool

Vernal Pool23 bedrock mortarsElevation 1025 ft.Access to this site is strictly controlled. Call LARPD at (925) 373-5707 for details.One of the vernal pools that give this site its name.Another view of the same pool, this time with water in it.The Brain lives in a nearby cave.Jim and Ranger Pat Sotelo head for a rock shelter […]

1stTerraceCupuleRock

First Terrace

First Terrace31 bedrock mortars, a 23 cupule rock, and 3-4 housepits.Elevation 775 ft.This site and the Kitchen site are actually on the same terrace, separated by a creekbed, but because we discovered and named the Kitchen site first, we called this site the “First Terrace.”A view of the First Terrace. The cupule rock is near […]

WindOC1

Windmill Overlook, Central

Windmill Overlook, Central22 bedrock mortars; housepitsElevation 1380 ft.From this ridge one can see and hear the windmills from the Altamont Pass wind farms.Alien creatures stalk across Ssaoam land..Looking toward the site..Two of the mortar rocks here.There are several housepits at this site..The rocks here provide some shelter from the prevailing winds. Note the volvano-shaped mortar […]

FrickLake4

Frick Lake

Frick Lake16 bedrock mortars and anvils.This site hugs the southwestern boundary of Brushy Peak Regional Preserve. Thanks to Joel for discovering it.Looking down at the site and at Frick Lake.Photograph by Bob Bardell.The mortar rocks.A closeup of one of the mortar rocks.Another mortar rock. Note the range of mortar sizes–from the cupule/anvil through the shallow […]

WindOL1

Windmill Overlook, Lower

Windmill Overlook, Lower20 bedrock mortars and several housepits spread along the base of a rock ledge.Elevation 1355 ft.Looking out on the Livermore Valley.Afternoon shadows creep across the land as Bob walks below the rock ledge.A two-mortar rock. Note the elliptical upper section of the funnel mortar.Photograph by Bob Bardell.

KitchenSite1

Kitchen Site

Kitchen Site22 bedrock mortars.Elevation 820 ft.We call this the “kitchen site” in honor of the twelve mortar rock found here.Heading down to the site.Photograph by Bob Bardell.This twelve mortar rock has some of the deepest bedrock mortars you’ll ever see. Three of these bullet-shaped mortars are over 15″ deep.A closeup of some of the deep […]

WindOU2

Windmill Overlook, Upper

Windmill Overlook, Upper2 bedrock mortarsElevation 1475 ft.There are fantastic views from this site.One of the mortar rocks caps the rock ledge above the Lower Windmill Overlook site.The other mortar rock at this site.Photographs by Bob Bardell.