The El Cajon Pass through the Looking Glass

by Pasadena Adjacent

looking through museum glass at a map of the great basin

Tracks Follow trails. And so it was with the railroad, as it skirted the edges of the Antelope Valley along a path originally trodden by the Mojave tribes. An old Indian trade route that ventured through the El Cajon pass, towards the sea. But before the rails came, the Mormons passed through in search of the promised land “San Bernadino” Then after the rails came, route 66 soon followed.

Although this sandstone outcropping is referred to as Mormon Rocks; it’s RAIL (real) name is Rock Candy Mountain. The Santa Fe, Union and Pacific railway trains pass through here daily. And so does hobo culture; it’s codified signs and symbols followed closely by youth’s seduction.

Poet and singer Hallelujah! I’m a Bum Harry McClintock would put it to song in his ironic vision of a hobo’s paradise. McClintock explains the reason for framing his hobo ballad in candy “at that time the ambition of every real hobo was to snare some kid into doing his begging for him, among other things” One fears what “other things” implies. The lyrics have often been washed clean of their salty content, but in this version, sung by the man himself, they appear nearly in tact; accept for the missing and final stanza below.

PDF of Original Lyrics here

I’ve hiked and hiked and wandered too,But I ain’t seen any candy.I’ve hiked and hiked till my feet are soreAnd I’ll be damned if I hike any moreTo be buggered sore like a hobo’s whoreIn the Big Rock Candy Mountains.”

But don’t let that stop you from joining Pasadena Adjacent on a recent visit to the Cajon’s Rock Candy Mountain


Episode 2 “Following the Tracks”

Episode 1 “Following the Tracks”