Range of Light
“Looking eastward from the summit of Pacheco Pass one shining morning, a landscape was displayed that after all my wanderings still appears as the most beautiful I have ever beheld. At my feet lay the Great Central Valley of California, level and flowery, like a lake of pure sunshine, forty or fifty miles wide, five hundred miles long, one rich furred garden of yellow Compositae. And from the eastern boundary of this vast golden flower-bed rose the mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city. Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light.” John Muir
On this the centennial anniversary of our National Parks, an uniquely American idea to preserve parks for our children, let us to pay tribute to John Muir, the father of the National Parks. Muir lived a part of his illustrious life in the Bay Area. His home in Martinez, a National Historic Site, can be visited on the Around the Bay in Two Days led by Sheila and Russ Stevens and many Contra Costa Canal Trail rides.
Another exciting part is that Muir’s first historic 33-day walk from San Francisco to Yosemite in 1868 went through our backyard. He “followed the Diablo foothills along the San José Valley to Gilroy, thence over the Diablo Mountains to valley of San Joaquin by the Pacific pass, thence down the valley opposite the mouth of the Merced River, … and up into the Sierra Nevada.” Although much of Muir’s ramble is paved over, Peter and Donna Thomas of Santa Cruz concluded in their book “Muir Ramble Route” that he likely followed the Coyote Creek to Morgan Hill, up to Henry Coe, Pacheco Fall, and then through Pacheco Pass. Following Muir’s footsteps gives a new meaning to many ACTC Bears and Goats rides!
Tony Le, ACTC President