Monday, October 12, 2009

Trees And Other Things Indigenous

(continued) The explorers continued their quest northwards, seeking the legendary Monterey Bay. As they travelled farther north and further into the fall season, the terrain became more and more lush as the weather worsened. Along the way, several in the party fell ill and had to be carried and cared for by the healthier and stronger. Here they describe setting forth from a point near present day Watsonville.
[text from The Discovery of San Francisco Bay. The Portolá Expedition of 1769-1770]:
Sunday, 15 October [1769] We set out from Laguna del Corral-a name given to it on account of a piece of fence that was constructed between the lake and a low hill in order to keep the animals penned in by night with few watchmen. We marched very slowly so as to cause the sick as little distress as possible; we contrived to carry them on side-saddles, as the women in Andalusia travel. We proceeded for a league and a half and halted near another small pond in the bottom of a narrow and very pleasant little canyon, with plenty of firewood and pasture.
The road was somewhat difficult. We directed our course to the north-northwest, without withdrawing far from the coast, from which we were separated by some high hills very thickly covered with trees that some said were savins
.[1] They were the largest, highest, and straightest trees that we had seen up to that time; some of them were four or five yards in diameter. The wood is of a dull, dark, reddish color, very soft, brittle, and full of knots.
Old growth redwoods can still be found south of San Francisco, but only in state-protected enclaves, such Big Basin State Park in the Santa Cruz mountains. I recall many enjoyable hikes there in the late 1990's with my wife as we debated whether to start a family or not (I won the debate).

Years later, we took our kids on a family camping trip in 2005 to the Redwoods National Park which is located in the very northern most part of the state. The trees did not disappoint.
[1] Sevins = red cedar. Palomar Mountain, about 35 miles east from us in Oceanside, hosts cedar trees that resemble small redwoods.


  1. Dude, never talk to your wife about sex in redwood forest.

    Or in front of the sausage counter at the butcher shop.

    It's just not cool.

  2. You want to keep that talk in proportion. So to speak.

  3. You never heard the expression "got wood"?