Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth


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Sunol Regional Wilderness and the Ohlone People (Gallery)

Yesterday we went to check out Sunol Regional Wilderness Park which is south of us about 30 minutes.  The day before I had pulled a muscle so badly in my back that I could hardly bend over to pick up my water from the coffee table and even sitting in a car was furthest from my mind.  But unbelievably I recovered in one day, thanks to my chiropractor who keeps me put together so I was able to take a drive with Dave to the park and even do a bit of hiking.

I laughed when we started this hike because the map said a “gentle” hike.  Oh really?????  Needless to say I’m out of shape but I’m working on it.  We took a 3 mile hike and I’d say more than half was straight up (which I didn’t realize would be the case before we started).  I didn’t really make an effort to bring a camera because I didn’t know we’d be hiking so I only had my iPhone.  There have been some adjustments made to some of the pictures on my iPhone apps.  Please click on the first image to see the best resolution and arrow forward to advance through the gallery.  I hope you enjoy our beautiful California hills!

History:

What makes this area so special is the history of the Ohlone people, also known as the Costanoan, which are Native American people of the central and northern California coast.  In 1776, when Spanish military and civilian settlers arrived in the Bay Area to establish military garrisons (presidios), Franciscan missions, and civil settlements (pueblos), life abruptly and dramatically changed for the native people of the San Francisco Bay Area.  With Spanish colonization, came the establishment of mission communities meant to supplant the existing tribal organization.  By 1810, introduced diseases, forced labor, and efforts to indoctrinate the indigenous peoples into an alien society and religion led to a tragic destruction of the way of life of Costanoan people.   It really was a gentrification of that time and a sad mark in California’s history.

Bedrock mortars used for pounding acorns by the Ohlone found in the area are reminders of Sunol’s first inhabitants of this area.  We saw some of these at the Ohlone Camp during our hike.  If you’d like to read more about the Ohlone people, please click here.

For the past century, the land known today as Sunol Regional Wilderness was used almost exclusively as ranch land.  Under the East Bay Regional Park District’s multi-use land management policy, cattle continue to graze in the 6,859-acre wilderness. Today, camping, picnicking, hiking, back-packing and equestrian trail rides attract thousands of park visitors a year. Visitors should bring drinking water because there is no drinking water in the park.