PALA GRAVE ROBBERS.
Words & Photos by DAVE SWIFT.
The Grave is often referred to as the final resting place, one in which there is no escape. The remains of a person, place or thing are covered in dirt and most times a marker is left to let others know what or who is buried beneath the earth.
In some cases, “the final resting place” is uncovered by those seeking the treasures entombed beneath the surface and oftentimes it’s done without permission under the cover of night—this is considered grave robbing.
There is a section of houses just off the 76 Highway in North San Diego county that were once the dwellings of dairy workers. Many years ago the dairy closed for good and the houses were left boarded up and abandoned. On two of those properties, empty backyard pools were found in the late 90s or early 2000’s and renegade sessions ensued under the guise of trespassing.
In the beginning, many of those sessions were quickly halted by authorities who were watching over the land and the boot was given. Other times, sessions were allowed to go on late into the night without any hassle whatsoever. That is until things got out of hand and they were shut down for good (the kidney was buried and the square was watched over by heavy-handed security) —or at least that’s what everyone thought.
Sometime in or around 2005, the sessions started up again at the infamous kidney and lasted a little more than a year before it was once again filled with dirt. It remained filled for almost ten years until a group of skate archaeologists with shovels in hand un-buried “The Pala Pool” in the fall of 2015.
The pool was heavily skated for a month-and-a-half, but the good times ended when it was filled to the brim once again. Most figured this was the end because the 76 Highway was set to be widened and the row of houses were in the way of progress.
A year-and-a-half later the zone remained untouched and Josh “Peacock” Henderson got the idea that maybe it was time to get a crew together and resurrect the pool once again.
Most thought he was crazy, but he assembled a crew and, for nine straight days, they tirelessly worked to make the pool skateable once again. On the first day of skating, a man on a quad rolled up and talked to the group. He seemed amazed that they actually did all that work by hand and he let them know he wasn’t there to kick them out, but inevitably it would get filled again once the landowners found out what was going on.
Six weeks later, the earth moving machines came back and dumped the surrounding dirt back into the kidney. Will this be the last hurrah for this legendary pit? Or will it lay dormant until another group of grave robbers return to find the treasure buried beneath?
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