Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beware the Olompali Devil Weed

The day after our hike to the top of Slacker Hill, we decided to check out a nearby historical site. Olompali State Historical Park has a bit of a bizarre past.

Around 1200 AD, it was a major center of the Coast Miwok.

Miwok women would gather around this stone and use as a mortar to grind acorns.

We explored replicas of Miwok structures.

Around 1850, the property was sold to James Black and became the private home of his family.

Orchards of many different kinds of fruit were planted.

Varieties included apple, pear, quince, fig, pomegranate, persimmon, apricot, peach and plum. Fifty acres were planted in 30 varieties of grapes.

Apparently, the banana trees didn't do well but his oranges did.

Later, a 26 room mansion complete with a Victorian formal garden...

Dairy Barn...

As well as a blacksmith shop and quarters were built.

At one time the property was sold to the University of San Francisco as a Jesuit retreat. (photo credit)

In the 60s, it was a hippie commune. (photo credit)

And for a short period of time, it was owned by the band, The Grateful Dead. (photo credit)

During this time, it was a gathering place for San Francisco area musicians, including Janis Joplin.

We decided to hike the 3.1 mile nature loop.

We admired flowers.

We listened to and observed birds.

Sam forged a creek.

Then used a fallen tree to climb back across.

We were entranced by all the lizards sunning themselves along the way.

There must have been almost 50 of them.

We saw a snake or two.

But we didn't see the poison oak that must have been lurking there as well.

I blame this day's adventures for the awful rash that would plague me for the next two weeks.

I'd have stayed home if I would have known what I was getting into. Thankfully, the painful, disgusting, aggravating rash is gone. Only the scars and memories remain.

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