The first (and last) time I took a drive out to the arid suburbia that is Valley Center, I stumbled upon a very mysterious little bit of history.
Can you even imagine the concept? It’s 100+ degrees out, you’re trekking through Hellhole Canyon, and you happen to discover what appears to be an abandoned hippie commune in the middle of a forest. I couldn’t believe my luck.
My best friend Juli and I had heard of Devils Den before, and had come to Hellhole Canyon the day after Halloween 2014 for kicks, but I don’t believe either of us were prepared for what we found.
We decided to take a look around, as I think any sane person would.
We found what appeared to be some sort of scientific (meth?) lab, complete with yellow hazmat suits and gas masks. Very Breaking Bad. There were childrens rooms, still covered in alphabet stickers and small toys. We walked through a field of wheelbarrows and shed-like homes, with only one question in our minds.
“What happened here?”
And as we explored around this beautiful, abandoned, eerie wonderland, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of impending doom, as if someone, or something, was about to jump out of the hills and alter our lives as we knew it.
As we trekked back up towards the car, an angry looking man stopped us and accused us of being up to no good. We convinced him of our innocence before running to the car, but knew that the locals did not want us around these parts.
I couldn’t wait to get out of there. But now, months later, I find myself thinking about Devils’ Den all the time.
Which people brought their children here? What were those people doing in this place? When, and why were these homes built, and then abandoned?
These questions have never been answered for me. Maybe its better that way. But the mystery of Devil’s Den will never fail to pique the curiosity of any adventure seeker, and for that reason, I hope it remains safe and relatively undiscovered by the masses.