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31A Eagle Crag

Location: San Diego County, California

Robert Smith, Chair of the Tribal Council of the Pala Indians (whose Reservation adjoins the peak), checked with his village Elders and discovered that it was not based on an earlier Indian name, and that it has always been known as Eagle Crag since they moved to this area in 1903.

Disiñios of the original Mexican Land Grant Rancho Pauma (ca 1840), which is south of the peak, show no name for this spot.

The Butterfield Stage Coach Line had stations to the northeast and east of the peak at Aguanga and Oak Grove (1858-61). The peak may seen from the old route (now SR79), but as pointed out by USFS Forester Rodger Wong of Escondido, "the craggy part of the summit block is south-facing" and more visible from the old Agua Tibia Ranch which is 4.0 miles to the southwest (the Magee family lived here from the 1850's).

The Crosley family, homesteaded 2.5 miles north of Eagle Crag in the 1880's-Crosley Saddle is 1.25 miles northwest of the summit along the approach from Dripping Springs Station.

According to rancher Carl "Arly" Bergman, a descendent of Aguanga pioneers, Eagle Crag was first recorded as the name of this summit by a USGS Survey team in 1886. However, Sally West of the San Diego County Historical Society cannot state with certainty whether this name was invented by the Survey or borrowed from a use-name given by early residents such as the Magee's or the Crosley's.

According to USFS Oak Grove Station Captain Ralph Demansky, the general area still has known nesting spots for the majestic Golden Eagle (Aquila cbrysaetos). Adult eagles have 30"-41" long bodies and 76"-92" wing spans, with dark brown plumage except for golden feathers at the neck. Everywhere the Eagle is noted for swiftness, the marvelous height to which it soars, its inaccessible nests, its keenness of vision, and its longevity. In folktale, fable and ballad the Eagle represents the spiritual principle in general, and plays a major role as a helpful or warning bird. Since it is associated with the sun, it represents the idea of male activity (father principle, logos) that fertilizes female nature and dominates all lower forces. In Egyptian Hieroglyphics the Eagle is the first glyph standing for the warmth of life, the Origin, the day. In Rome it represented the Imperiurn. Dante described the Eagle as the "bird of God". Because it lives in the full light of the sun it is considered to be luminous in essence, and a messenger of heaven either symbolizing prayers rising to the Lord, or Grace descending upon mortal man. In the Bible, God says, "Will the Eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest in high places? She abideth among the rocks, and dwelleth among cragged flints, and stony hills, where there is no access. From thence she looketh for the prey, and her eyes behold afar off." (job xxxix, 27-29). These lines might have occured to the unknown pioneer who first saw this peak and the eagles that then regularly dwelled there.

One of approximately 24 summits named after the Eagle in California.

Name first appears on USGS Survey map (1888), and then on the USFS Cleveland National Forest map (1935).

Peak was added to the HPS Peak List in 1965.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
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Updated 25-February-2003