Saturday, March 15, 2014

CA History and Nature - Backpacking at Angel Island

Wow.  It is hard to describe this experience.  The beautiful ferry ride over; the hike; the absence of many other people for most of the afternoon, the entire evening, and then most of the morning; the silence at night, then the sounds of hooting owls; the raiding raccoons, the incredible urban view; the fun with friends....

Ready to go!

Waiting for the ferry (small one; we were pre-season)


It was sort-of like being in an other-worldly bubble, completely surrounded by nature and yet with the entire city-scape, from bridge to bridge and beyond, all highlighted by a full moon, within view.  We even camped near an abandoned military battery, so the kids had a private playground in which to play imaginative games, supplemented by gorgeous and easily climbable cypress and oak trees.  G woke me at night when she heard owls hooting nearby; complete magic!

View from bridge to bridge and beyond to Sausalito

Sunset over Golden Gate Bridge

Sunrise colors on dewy flowers

It was also really awesome to me to see my girls in such fine shape.  I had my well-loved backpack with me, the one I bought in 1996 to travel the world.  It has seen every continent, many of them twice, and has seen countless trips in the Sierras.  I love that it can now "see" my girls, part of the adventure and so capable and competent, with hardly a complaint.  They carried their own sleeping bags, pads, flashlights, and clothes; I had all common gear and - though I am out of shape aerobically, I was pleased to feel strong in other ways.  Summer, we are ready!

I love "journey" views

Golden Gate bridge in rear

Hiking buddies

On our way out, we stopped at the visitor's center and got an overview of CA history at a glance, learning much that was new to us.  The Coast Miwok used the island for 2,000 years as hunting and fishing grounds.  The island was critical during the civil war, protecting the richness gathered during the gold and silver rushes from Confederate pirates.  It was used as an immigration station for many decades, a west-coast Ellis Island at which Asian immigrants were often detained for many months.  It served military purposes, a holding place for WWI POWs and a launching place for WWII sailors, many of whom went on to serve and die at Pearl Harbor.  More recently, Nike missiles were placed on the island, guarding San Francisco for the same strategic purpose that caused the Civil War military growth over 100 years prior.

Role of CA in Civil War

Timeline of Angel Island history
 An incredible overnight, which made us feel rich beyond measure (and yet cost so very little in actual dollars!  Love it!)

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