Looking into the Sierra Foothill’s past
Generations ago —women would gather at these spots to grind their acorn meats.
“That’s where they would go get to work. That’s their kitchen — they would keep that very clean,”
“You’ll find different holes at different depths. Traditionally, they like a shallower hole to pound the acorn flour. The deeper holes maybe they’re just really, really old but they did pound some meat and some of the deeper holes they would even store things in there.”
“The holes were always near a source of water— because the ground grits needed to have the bitter tannins leached out of them before they could be turned into flour and eaten.
It was a communal experience at the grinding station.
There are holes in the granite at many locations in the high country like these and around the Sierra foothills where springs and streams flowed.”
~~quotes by Lois Bohna, an artist and teacher
This spot is near Whiskey Falls in the Sierra National Forest, just up the mountain from my garden.
Below the garden, about 800 feet is an expanse of flat and sloping granite upon which are another grouping of grinding holes to wonder about. This is Mono and Chuckchansi Indian country and to think of Indian women gathering here is awe inspiring!
Whiskey Falls are a favorite spot to take visiting family and friends.
This expanse of granite lies south and east of the falls and along Whiskey Creek.
The creek flows through steep sided granite cracks and if imagining Indian families here, would be an alarming place to bring small children. The number of grinding holes here tells that a large group must have made their home here.
Viewing and wondering about grinding holes just brings home the fact that we have life very easy in comparison.