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Wednesday, Oct 10 2012 10:01 AM

Fall tours continue at site of Kawaiisu village, Tomo-Kahni

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Fall is the perfect time to visit Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park near Tehachapi. Tours are offered each Saturday through Nov. 17, weather permitting. Photo courtesy of California State Parks

This is a great time of the year to visit the Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park. The weather is mild and that always make the desert more appealing. California State Parks have begun the fall tour season and tours will continue each Saturday through Nov. 17, weather permitting.

Although no structures remain on this Kawaiisu Native American village site, the area's rich history comes alive through the trained volunteer tour guides and the clues that the inhabitants left behind.

Tomo-Kahni means "winter home" in Kawaiisu, and rock rings mark the locations of many of the kahni, house structures, that were built of juniper boughs. Hundreds of mortar holes in the park tell of a very active past.

The tour also includes Medicine Cave, Nettle Springs and a cave with pictographs -- a sacred place of the Kawaiisu. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the site, the only way to explore the park is on a guided tour, which involves a moderately strenuous three-hour hike.

Orientation begins at the Tehachapi Museum, 310 S. Green St. on Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. The orientation and tour lasts about four hours (8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.), including travel time to and from the park (transportation is not provided and car pooling is encouraged). Weather at the high elevation park is variable. Layered clothing is recommended, along with adequate drinking water, sun protection, and sturdy walking shoes.

Tour fee is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-16 (age 5 and under are free, but not recommended for tours). Tours are limited to 15 people and fill up quickly. Reservations are recommended, for groups, plus an additional fee of $10 per party. For reservations or more information, call 661-946-6092 or email mojave@parks.ca.gov.

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