Desecration Row

Volvon Village August 2021

We don’t believe this village site is getting the respect that it deserves. It may be the most important remaining intact example of the living situation for the premier Volvon tribe that controlled access to the sacred mountain (Diablo).

50-60 cattle apparently herded to this location does not seem to jibe with Contra Costa Water District stated policies.

“CCWD asks for your cooperation in staying away from these areas and keeping the locations of identified cultural resource sites on the Watershed confidential to prevent disturbance, looting, damage, and other unauthorized uses that compromise their cultural and scientific values.”

EBRPD

“It is important that these sites and artifacts be understood, respected and protected.”

Cultural Resources Assessment of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California

The Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) was contacted by letter on July 10, 2008, requesting information on sacred lands and a contact list of local tribal representatives.

A response was received from the NAHC on August 1, 2008, noting, “A record search of the sacred land file has failed to indicate the presence of Native American 
cultural resources in the immediate project area.”

This is what we are up against folks.

700 plus bedrock mortars disappearing beneath the manure and duff

We daylight so that people can appreciate what was going on here for probably thousands of years.

It’s hard to keep up with this level of degradation.

Fortunately, we have mapped and recorded every aboveground bedrock mortar at the site in the interests of future scientists and native Americans who will eventually wake up to the potential here. For instance, “How old is this site?”

Heather at the Birthing Site

https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/resources/heather-at-the-birthing-site/

Enjoy the 4 minute slideshow.

We do not disclose the location of this unbelievable find.

We stumbled upon it one day while wandering.

A few things to notice include:

-the cupules on the side near the pouch and on the rocks in front. We knew that cupules have often been associated with fertility rites

-the two Olla Bowls in front of the pouch would have heated water

-the bowl on top of the rock could have been burning sage and other herbs

-there are not the usual bedrock mortars at the site

-the site is isolated and protected

We think many Volvon births occurred here over the centuries.

https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/resources/heather-at-the-birthing-site/

Canyon Trail Park – El Cerrito

Canyon Trail Park Petroglyph Boulder El Cerrito

20+ bedrock mortars and 175+ cupules on one chlorite blueschist boulder. This rock in Canyon Trail Park is on a branch of Baxter Creek. Baxter Creek flows into the Bay near Stege, a long-vanished neighborhood on the old shoreline of San Francisco Bay, northwest of Albany hill. Some of the Bay Area’s largest shellmounds once stood in Stege.

Rock art specialists believe the first cupules pecked into this rock date back thousands of years. The rock probably had a ritual or ceremonial use. See Canyon Trail excavation for a discussion of the excavation of this site. Drawings of the above and below ground cupule arrays are very interesting.

These cupules had important meaning to the people who made them. They have been associated with fertility rites and astronomical observations.

Check out our 5 Site Huichin Tour
https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/east-bay-huichin-tour/

Several years ago BARARA (Bay Area Rock Art Research Association) started a campaign to recognize, respect, and protect this rock. The attention drew taggers to the site and they modified their efforts.

We believe it is important for people to visit these sites, and contemplate the past, the present, and the future. Go back 7 generations in your mind, and then forward.

Sunol Ridge Prayer Circle – Sunol

Ok. We really don’t know if this is an ancient Native American construct but we think it is.

It doesn’t appear to be recently created by western hands for any rational purpose.

It is in an auspicious ceremonial type setting. Probably on private property. Takes a while to get to. Great hiking and views.

Canyon Middle School – Castro Valley

8 bedrock mortars on two rocks right below the parking lot.
Go on the weekends.

We’ve had some interaction with area residents who thought the site could enhance the school’s curriculum. “Last year we had a representative from the local Ohlone triblet visit, and our district decided to keep the site quiet and hopefully recreate the largest mortar to place in our campus with an informational sign at some point in the future.

We are technically not supposed to take students or others to visit, but I honestly cannot help going myself to daylight the mortars and absorb the vibes, so to speak.”

Another resident:
“Canyon Middle School. I checked the property map and they have ownership of the mortars —but the school district doesn’t know what to do about them. So they are ignoring them (for now). And they want no help.”

Does anyone have any idea how old this site is?

Broken mortars are an indicator of a long history.

Fig Pig Gulch – Livermore

19 bedrock mortars in a charming setting that can help you appreciate how nice living in California has been for a long time.

We encourage people to get out and hike around.

Good for the mind and the body. All of the sites in our Travelogues are worthy of a look/see.

Just head out the Volvon Trail.

Get on the Whipsnake Trail and hike out to Mallory Ridge.

Find the second drainage to the north, and find your way down
to the 1200 foot elevation above the Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

You’re there!

All of a sudden, a real nice shelf.

Bedrock mortars scattered all around. There are more long buried in the area.

Rock alignments indicate frequent occupation.

Worth a visit for the intrepid adventurer. It’s crazy to think about what was going on here for thousands of years.

Volvon Village KEEP OUT

Dear Friends,

For the first time in 15 years we are getting some recognition that the main Volvon Village might be a valuable resource.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to stroll through there has been stunned by the seminal visceral experience of realizing the substantive historic importance of this place. We will continue to advocate for opening it up as per our 100 Year Plan as described in this document submitted in 2011.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IEDzWJMKXypsQqE6nPlFbsLSXDgp3zat32YeBVZ3a7Q/edit?usp=sharing

The Contra Costa Water District and East Bay Parks do not want to deal with the growing awareness of the 10,000 year history of Native America right beneath their feet. Too hard to manage!

Over 700 bedrock mortars with cattle grazing right on top of them.

This plateau offers an unbelievable experience. Tear down the fences!

Respect and Protect the limited remaining evidence of this culture and civilization.

Volvon Village- Artist John Finger
Kaaknu the Volvon – Artist John Finger

SW Windy Point – Danville

11 bedrock mortars up a secluded canyon.

Start here at Curry Point on Mount Diablo. 5-6 mile round trip. 600-700 foot elevation climb.

Go down Curry Canyon Road. Don’t miss the Curry Creek Milling Station about a mile down up a little drainage on your right. 18 very unusual mortars.

Go up the hill on Curry Cave Road.

Continue up Curry Cave Road to the park boundary.

Save Mount Diablo has bought this property and at the moment is striving to keep people off of it.

We are monitoring archaeological sites to be sure there is no damage or looting.

The boys examine bedrock mortars in this grand outcrop.

Great hiking and exploring throughout this area. You could spend a whole day poking around.

Sogorea Te – Vallejo

Glen Cove Park, aka Sogorea Te
A 3,500 year old village site, shell midden, and burial ground. 29 bedrock mortars visible at low tide on wave-cut beaches.

That’s Crockett across the water from Glen Cove (Sogorea Te).
The Fages expedition in 1772 met and feasted with 400 natives at that major league site, now remembered with a plaque at the library.

This is Glen Cove in 2010

This building has been removed.

In 2011 Corinna Gould and a hundred others occupied this site for several months.

At first they didn’t know about the 29 bedrock mortars on the shore, visible only at low tide.

Walpert Ridge – Hayward

It is said the mountaintops and high ridge lines are conducive to spiritual awareness and activity. Walpert Ridge radiates this kind of energy.
16 unique sites and 182 bedrock mortars that we know of Rock alignments and prayer circles all over the place.

Possible RoundHouse setting.

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The rock alignment in front borders an ancient footpath leading to another prayer circle.

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Large unique bowls at the Chinese Tree of Heaven. So named because early Chinese settlers/laborers occupied this site for a time in the 1800s.

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Rock alignment near the high point of the ridge. The barbed wire fence came later.

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The view south on the ridge. Lots more going on in those trees than you might imagine.

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Prayer circle mid ridge.

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Heading into Ryan’s Hideaway gully. We were getting kicked off the ridge by Ryan the Cowboy,told him what we were up to and he pointed down the hill and said “Oh yeah, there’s a bunch of mortar holes down there”.  it turned out to be a real nice spot.

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Pestle at Ryan’s Hideaway.

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We call this the Ceremonial Site on the south ridge. Looking towards Santa Cruz mountains.

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Mortar pair at the Ceremonial Site.

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Rock alignment leading to a camp at a spring source.

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Mortar and Pestle at spring source.

Most of Walpert Ridge (but not all) is land banked, presumably to be opened soon to the public,whose taxpayer dollars paid for it. Pre contact it was Jalquin Territory, and had been for probably thousands of years.

Early Paintings – East Bay Natives

Here are three images of Bay Area indigenous natives.

The two colored views are by Louis Choris from the 1816 visit of the Rurik, a Russian vessel.

By 1816 most, if not all, Indians had been cleared from lands bordering San Francisco Bay.

Spanish soldiers Missionized  the last Volvons in 1806, for example. 

However, Northern Yokuts filtered back into the rich estuarine bayside lands to hunt.

By 1816 faunal populations had exploded since no Patwin, Miwok, or Ohlone hunters remained to check their numbers. They were trapped in the Missions or had fled north and east.

Note that the Woman in the tule balsa is wrapped in a Mission blanket while the Braves were naked as always.

Early European explorers/conquerers marveled at their adept maneuvering around the Bay and even out into the ocean.

From Ayala’s report on Canizares’ reconnaissance and mapping of the North Bay in 1775:

“This Indian village has some scows or canoes, made of tule, so well constructed and woven that they caused me great admiration.

Four men get in them to go fishing, pushing with two-ended oars with such speed that I found they went faster than the launch.” The Village in question was either at Crockett or Glen Cove.

Today’s natives call Glen Cove Sogorea Te.(click for more info)

This black-and-white image by Georg von Langsdorff dates from the 1806 visit of the Juno—the famous Rezanov expedition.

We think one of these dancers at Mission San Jose could have been Kaaknu The Volvon.

Chief of Chiefs. Contemporary Ohlone people remember him as “The Captain”.

Pre contact Indians didn’t wear loin cloths or even spin cloth.

Did prudish padres force dancers to cover up or did the artist himself fake the loin coverings so as not to shock his blue-nosed Prussian audience?

Painting the bodies in preparation for the dance had to take time and be for specific purposes.

Round Valley Village Brentwood

It’s really not as bad as it looks.

Fire is good for the land.

It will be glorious in the Spring.

327 Bedrock Mortars in a major league Volvon tribal village site

This tree fell over the Prayer Circle (tseksel) and knocked over a few rocks.

New (very old) bedrock mortars were uncovered, while others disappeared.

This is our map of the 300 plus bedrock mortars still visible in this important Village.

Each flag represents a boulder with one or more bedrock mortars. For the historical record we have photos and gps coordinates of each rock.

Our concern is that if the coordinated, calculated, clandestine policy of suppressing knowledge of Native American Indian sites prevails they will all disappear due to ignorance and inattention. Round Valley was the home of annual Volvon Big Times attracting thousands of people from neighboring tribes for possibly thousands of years.

Pond Village at Los Vaqueros Brentwood

The Black Hills this year are truly black. Volvon Territory. Green’s Village is still right on the other side of this pond by the Marina.

Entering the Pond Village.
130 Bedrock Mortars and 4 Slicks.
One rainstorm and the grass is surging back. Officially known as CA-CCO-461.

The fire cleaned out the grass and shrubs. Most of the trees will survive.

A Not Daylighted 4 bedrock mortar rock.

Daylighted to help the occasional visitor remember the work that went on here.

The cluster is the still unrecognized and unappreciated Volvon Territory. A lot of people lived here for a long time. They controlled access to the Sacred Mountain. The Reservoir buried even more ancient sites.

Indigenous People’s Day 5

Our friend Lucina Vidauri of the Marin Coast Miwok tribe and Olompali has been actively raising awareness of her homeland.

This over-reaction by the San Rafael District Attorney is hopefully not a harbinger of things to come.

Drop the charges against the Indigenous People’s Day

Decolonizers Defense started this petition to San Rafael District Attorney San Rafael DA Lori Frugoli On Indigenous Peoples Day 2020, a monument to Junipero Serra, a notoriously violent mission system leader known for imprisoning and enslaving Indigenous people, was removed from a downtown streetside in front of Mission San Rafael.

While monuments to racism and violence are being removed by city and state officials, schools, parks and activists across the state, the city of San Rafael is refusing to recognize the harms perpetrated against Indigenous people and has decided to file felony charges against five of the fifty demonstrators. Of those charged, Four Identify as indigenous Women and two were baptized in the church Serra founded when they were young girls.

While the demonstration was focused on recognizing Indigenous land and history, not religion, extremists are now pushing for additional hate crime charges against the protestors and holding public exorcisms in the street. This is a critical moment to resist increasing repression and support decolonial activists in your community.

Urge the District attorney Lori Frugolito DROP THE CHARGES! Sign this petition and give her a call 415-473-3719.
Other ways you can support the Indigenous People’s Day 5:
Write a public letter or op-ed in support of recognizing the history of the land we are on and dropping the charges against the Indigenous Peoples 5.

Organize your group, crew, org, faith community or collective to lead an action in support of the Indigenous People’s 5 and urge the DA to drop the charges. Encourage Mission San Rafael to consider how they might begin to reconcile with the violence of their founding. Learn about the history of the land you are on, learn about the Indigenous people it was stolen from, find a way to recognize your place in this lineage and contribute to its healing.

Tell someone about this.

dropthecharges #indigenouspeople5 #ip5

Sign Petition Here

Bob’s Mortar – Livermore

Bob’s Mortar Post Fire

Bob made it out to Bob’s Mortar site in the Morgan Territory fire zone.

Discovered a previously unknown rock with 3 bedrock mortars bringing the count to 78 at this enchanted village site. New mortar rock across the road from Bob’s Mortar satellite site.

3 brms plus 1 broken brm. One shallow brm hard to make out in this picture.

Bob’s eponymous mortar.

Bob’s mortar site with daylighting.

For now, no poison oak.

Log Cabin Village – Byron

The Log Cabin is no longer there on Adobe Creek but the prehistoric 60 mortar Indian Village site sure still is.

A two mile lovely walk from the Marina, winter, spring, summer and fall. One of the oldest known Native American Village sites in the Bay Area (8000 years) was uncovered 1/2 mile downstream when building the dam for the reservoir.

There really should be a gate and a respectful sign here for this fantastic site.

20 feet from the road and the fence it starts and goes 150 yards up the creek.

A handsome 4 bedrock mortar rock.

Un-daylighted.

Daylighted.


We think it’s essential that visitors see the bedrock mortars. People prepared food and lived here for a long time. Important California history.

Kind of a lot going on around here in Volvon territory for 10,000 years.

Joel’s Rockspring Cave – Walnut Creek

Even though this site features only 2 bedrock mortars, when you sit in this cave you can’t help but wonder… when did the Native Americans use this cave, and for what?

It is an easy 1/2 mile hike in. When you get to this sign go down to the creek below and get on the footpath heading south east.

This bedrock mortar is oddly located on the back wall of the cave.

The view out of the cave.

The local kids have hung out in this cave for years, for the most part never realizing they were sitting next to 2 Indian bedrock mortars, or caring.

If you have a GPS locator it might help you find it.

Redwood Peak Skull

This fascinating bit of knowledge came to us from Roger in San Francisco following our Redwood Fairy Rings Travelogue.

He believes this power spot is right where the “Navigation Trees” used by early Spanish Mariners from outside the Golden Gate were located.

He sent us this photo:

and this text:

As part of my research I started looking into the Navigation trees in the Oakland Hills.  While up in the hills looking around I spotted a giant sandstone skull that seeing is believing – hidden up on Redwood Peak! At the top of Redwood Peak – there is a well laid out trail with markers – you will come across a large quantity of boulders on the peak.  

The key to finding the skull is once you are standing amidst all of the graffiti of white people at the very top, straight ahead, looking west,  you will see the the largest single boulder as the peak starts to go back down, a bit to the left.  You will need to carefully start down  on the right side of that boulder and once far enough down, there is a modest level area down about 20 feet where you can look at the back side of the boulder and the above is what you will see.  

The mouth is the perfect size for a vision site that would have had one of the most incredible views of the bay imaginable.  And even more incredible, this boulder and skull head was likely sitting directly under one of the largest trees in the world.  The entire peak looks to have been a giant redwood forest some time in the past, possibly cut down by white people some time in the late 1840’s.   

We found the skull and totally enjoyed the whole Redwood Peak experience. Fairy Rings everywhere.

Jalquin Vista Park – Hayward

Just pop up these 50 steps from your car parked on the street
and you are suddenly in a major league Native America power spot.

On a clear day there are kick ass views in every direction, plus it sits at the Northern tip of Walpert Ridge, home of one of the largest concentrations of Indigenous village, camp, and hunting sites that we know of.

Imagine 10,000 years of people occupying this very location.

Bob daylights one of the 16 mortars we recorded here.

The kids have always been coming up here.

Bob examines one of several distinct bedrock mortars styles in use since who knows when.

A “Basin” without a mortar in it with one right below that has a mortar in it.

The classic “High Low” mortar style.

The beautiful “Olla Bowl” feature, used for heating water and cooking.

For more newly emerging information about bedrock mortars see Bob’s article https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/resources/volvon-bedrock-mortars-article/

Note the 25 sites we have listed on Walpert Ridge. A lot going on for a long time up there folks.

Volvon Mystery – Livermore

We have always found interesting the lack of knowledge and information about the Volvon tribe, possibly the most important pre-historic group in native California.

Here is the prominently displayed map of native populations at the Sacramento Indian Museum. Note the big black space around Mount Diablo and the dearth of settlements around San Francisco Bay.

Here is Sherburne Cook’s famous map, with nothing showing around Mount Diablo and Marsh Creek.

When the first Spanish and Missionary expeditions entered this region the Indian scouts refused to lead the soldiers onto Mount Diablo due to the powerful spirits that resided there.

Here is our GoogleEarth map of Volvon Territory.

If you download our map this is the text Bob prepared regarding the Volvon tribe.

Volvon

The Volvon were one of the Bay Miwok tribelets living in Contra Costa County at the time of European contact. They were a hill people based in the rugged Black Hills southeast of Mt. Diablo. The mountain itself was in Volvon hands. It had been the home of the supernatural First People, who created Indians and their world, and was a spiritual focus for nearly every tribe that could see it. Shamen and religious leaders went to the mountain to pray. Everyday people would visit its slopes for intertribal festivals. This meant the Volvon must have been a prosperous people. One did not just sashay into Volvon territory without bearing tribute for the privilege. Imagine the trade goods the Volvons acquired this way. They were regular participants in regional trade festivals hosted by their Ohlone neighbors, the Ssaoams, at the Brushy Peak trading grounds not far from the Altamont Pass. The Volvons’ preeminent position at the crossroads of Central California no doubt made them a sophisticated and cosmopolitan people. 

That Volvons were active traders does not mean their territory was short on natural resources. The name ‘Volvon’ itself roughly translates as “natural springs,” which befits a triblet based in the Black Hills where the headwaters of a number of perennial creeks rise. The highland heart of Volvon territory today is rich in oak, pine, and manzanita. Mount Diablo is home to a number of endemic plant species–rare resources controlled by Volvons. Open rangelands, now mostly overrun with nonnative grasses, must once have been covered with food-bearing plants. Deer, elk, and antelope were no doubt abundant in the lighly settled ridges and valleys on the eastern side of the territory. 

Volvon territory gives every appearance of once having supported a substantial population. We have discovered 81 bedrock mortar sites, and over 2,100 bedrock mortars. Each site carries its own sense of place and is an individual window into the past. As you walk the paths that connect these sites and build up a richer mental map and sense of the landscape, you may acquire a feeling for the possibilities of life in Volvon territory in the not so distant past. 

There are magical and metaphysical powers associated with Mt. Diablo and the Black Hills. Go there now and experience its effect on your perspective. Steep yourself in prehistory. The Spanish extirpated the Volvons from their homeland 200 years ago, but physically, their territory remains virtually intact today. The land still has a life of its own.

for more info:   www.eastbayhillpeople.com/map

Other Bay Area tribal descriptions can be found on the sidebar.

Here is our thinking regarding the potential Volvon National Park.

https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/volvon-national-park-proposal/

and Tom Stienstra’s article in The Chronicle on the subject

https://eastbayhillpeople.com/eastbayhillpeople/national-park-proposal/

Pestles

When you come across a pestle in or around a bedrock mortar, you come face to face with the fact of abrupt cultural displacement.

We leave these pestles near where we find them, hoping others will have the same seminal experience we have.

The two pictures at the end are in museums. The rest are right where they were left when the soldiers and padres took over. Indigenous lives matter too

Joel’s Pestle, Volvon Village
Ryan’s Hidaway, Walpert Ridge
Jeff’s Lookout, Sunol
Molluck Trail, Morgan Territory
Vargas Plateau, Fremont
Jeff’s Pestles, Mission Peak
Rocky Ridge, San Ramon
Round Valley, Brentwood
Minnis Ranch, Ed Levin Park
Walpert Ridge, Hayward
Rockwall to Campsite, Walpert Ridge
Above Mission Peak Meadow, Hayward
Mallory Gorge, Los Vaqueros
Mission San Jose, Fremont
Alviso Adobe, San Ramon

Petlenuc Ohlone Village – San Francisco

The Yelamu were the tribal group living for thousands of years in what is now San Francisco.

Recently, while digging the foundation for the SalesForce tower, a 7500 year old body in full ceremonial regalia was uncovered.

Following the arrival of the Anza/Font expedition in the 1770s, their useful village and camp sites were virtually erased.

There are several known village sites including the one on El Pollin Spring in the Presidio. Water flows from this spring today into Petlenuc Creek. The Presidio Trust is now daylighting and restoring this creek.

Recent archaeological excavations at a site near the Crissy Field Lagoon revealed 84 animal species including shellfish, surfperch, sea otters, Tule Elk, and Grizzly Bears.

A delightful walk on the Tennessee Hollow Trail in the Presidio brings you right to the spring’s source.

Try to imagine Native life before there was a San Francisco Bay
when the Farrallons were not islands but hills. The Continental Shelf was inhabited by their ancestors.

It is rumored that 5000 plus Natives are buried under the road in front of Mission Dolores, likely another major Yelamu Village prior to the arrival of the Europeans.

Randall Milliken’s study, “A Time of Little Choice”: estimates that 160 to 300 Yelamu were living in San Francisco when the Spanish opened Mission San Francisco de Asís on June 30, 1776.

We think that is a gross under-estimation.

Artifacts have been found across San Francisco from at least 50 different locations.

The Ramaytush (pronounced rah-my-toosh) are the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula. Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, the Ramaytush Ohlone numbered approximately 1500 persons, but by the end the Mission Period only a few families had survived. Today, only one lineage is known to have produced living descendants in the present.

http://www.ramaytush.com for more info.

For every 100 Natives incorporated into the California missions, over 75 died a premature death. Average life expectancy after baptism was only nine years, and at Mission Dolores in San Francisco it was only 4.5 years

Under threat of punishment Native peoples at the Missions were forced to attend religious services and to labor without compensation. They were not allowed to leave the Mission grounds without permission, and then, for only two weeks a year at most. Anyone who failed to return or who otherwise escaped was hunted down by the military. Some were killed in the process.

Native peoples did not need to be saved from their so-called pagan and savage ways of life. They did not need a European education; they did not need European health care; they did not need training in the agrarian arts. Their ancestors were doing just fine on their own before the arrival of the Spanish. Don’t ask them today about the Sainthood of Junipero Serra.

They are not into it.

Redwood Fairy Rings – Canyon

This was a major Saklan Miwok Village back in the day, right at this intersection of Canyon Road and Pinehurst.

There were camps and villages all over the place. Up the road in Moraga at Indian Creek there was one. Saint Mary’s College was built on one.

Walk through this gate into another world.

You can’t keep a good kid down.

A redwood forest is a place, both ancient and timeless, with gigantic sprawling ferns, lushgreen moss, and towering trees. The forest has flourished along the North Coast for 20 million years with individual coast redwoods living up to 2000 years.

A fairy ring is a common name for a group of redwood trees growing in a circle, usually around the stump of a logged old-growth tree.

After being cut down, a new generation of trees sprout from the roots of the fallen redwood, often creating a near-perfect circle or ring. This is one of the ways redwoods regenerate, giving them the tremendous advantage of already having a full root system compared to species that reproduce through seed.

We counted 18 trees growing from this huge stump.

Because redwoods crown sprout from stumps and the roots of fallen ancestors, the age of such a forest is almost inconceivable—while a 32-foot broad, 300-foot tall tree might represent a millennium of vertical growth, the genetics and rootstock below might span many thousands, if not millions, of years.

A vast forest known as the Moraga Redwoods once covered the valley that is now Canyon. But it took little more than fifteen years, from 1845 to 1860,
for crews of loggers to level the entire forest.

An ugly scene for today’s environmentalists to contemplate.

These redwoods and people built San Francisco and the East Bay.

A handheld bedrock mortar found at a Boy Scout campout at Saint Mary’s College in the fifties.

To quote Gregg Castro, Salinan Nation Tribal Chair

“The people came into the world, and they have been an integral part of it since the dawn of time. Though much has been lost in the last two and a half centuries, the knowledge lies deep within each of us. Like a mountain spring, it eventually works its way back to the surface. Knowledge, wisdom, courage, truth, love, strength, respect, forgiveness, integrity, patience, humility – they all are bubbling out to quench our thirst” Just like the mighty Redwood Sequoiadendron Giganteum

Lost Orinda Park – Orinda

Now primarily part of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area.

Bob calls this area Lost Orinda Park because of the old Orinda Park Hotel built here in 1885 (the original foundation remains just feet from the trailhead parking) and the Wagner Ranch (essentially a resort property) built in 1882.

Orinda Park was a popular destination along the old railroad line for weekend trips for those from Richmond and Berkeley seeking warmer climates.

We believe the first homes built by European settlers were right on the best locations in the area which the now forced-out Native Americans had settled long ago. This was probably one of those sites. The year around fresh water San Pablo Creek and springs don’t hurt.

An old photo of the Orinda Park Hotel.

There are lots of interesting signs and locales on this property.

Toris Jaeger has been managing this 16 acre property for 40 years and from time to time helps build Miwok style tule shelters.

“She taught us how to use plants for soap, how to identify spearmint and bay leaves and how to reuse candles by melting them down and re-forming them into new ones. She showed us the painstaking process by which Native American cultures had made acorn meal by grinding the acorns, removing the shell and leaching out poisonous toxins with boiling water. What she was really teaching us was how to respect our environment and each other.”

Inga Miller, current Orinda City Council.

Right now because of COVID 19 the gates are locked. Hopefully not for long.

This site is right upstream from all those dots on known sites at the east end of the reservoir.

Continuing upstream we know of Native American sites on the 11th hole of the Orinda Country Club and at the McDonell Nursery.

Certainly more were lost when the town of Orinda was paved over.

Wagner Ranch Nature Area is a nature preserve and historic site that offers about 1,000 Orinda schoolchildren a year a variety of hands-on experiences. The area features a meadow, forest, ponds and streams, a biodiversity garden, and is home to thousands of native plant and animal species.

Students, from third-graders through high-schoolers, learn about animal habitat, ecosystem studies, Native Americans, California history, foraging, cooking and early U.S. history, among other activities. In addition, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other community organizations have contributed special projects.

Super easy to find at the intersection of San Pablo Dam Road, Bear Creek Road, and Wildcat Canyon Road.The Hotel foundation is right in the trees in front of the trailhead parking. Un-marked.

The Wagner Ranch Nature area is below the school, down to San Pablo Creek. It’s Lost Orinda Park, for Bob.

Mary Bowerman Trail – Mount Diablo

This 3/4 mile easy walking trail circles the very top of Mount Diablo.

It really has nothing to do with Native America except for thousands of years this was considered to be sacred ground.

We know it takes an hour or more to drive to the top of the mountain but why hurry? Mary Bowerman was one of the founding members of Save Mount Diablo.

The first part of the path is paved and wheelchair accessible

The views in every direction are spectacular, to say the least.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

This rock outcrop is known as The Devil’s Elbow or Pulpit, unfortunately. The Volvon Shaman and people certainly may have called it something else.

Once you’re up here it’s real easy to get to the top, with the most wonderful and inspiring views in Central California. Controlled by the Volvon Tribe for many thousands of years.

Redwood Canyon Golf Course – Castro Valley

Formerly Willow Park Golf Course Start here and take the trail under Redwood Road

Follow this trail down into the creek

3/4 mile easy walk from the parking to this 10 mortar food processing site. Right next to the golf course.

That’s the golf course right there.

There are 8 unique specialty bedrock mortars on this rock and one nearby

So close to the golf course the occasional golf ball strays into the area.

Lots of great hikes in this area to Ramage Peak and Dinosaur Peak.

Real nice drive from Castro Valley to Moraga on Redwood Road

Important Indigenous Activists

Most of these people lack federal and state recognition but they still work overtime to sustain and improve their cultural identities.

Perhaps the Black Lives Matter movement will bring some awareness that Indigenous Lives Matter too, not just here but worldwide.

Except for Lucina Vidauri they disapprove of our activities and viewpoint.

Corinna Gould

Gregg Castro

Ann-Maria Sayers

Kanyon Sayers-Rood

Vincent Medina

Caleen Sisk

Lucina Vidauri

San Pablo Reservoir – Orinda

The boys set out to see if they could find any evidence of Site 401on the NE shore.

Site 401 at Northeast Corner, lower right

Carefully examining the shoreline

Our geologist called this “Sparse Lithic Scatter”. Monterey Chert, Basalt, Quartz and other pieces. Along with a glass marble. They all have no preferred fracture plane, they break “conchoidally” like glass.

Note the concentration of sites on San Pablo Creek, now a reservoir.

This burial from Site 407,, possibly a shaman, was interred with 
Olivella Shell Beads, inlaid Abalone Shell and Pendant, Mica Ornaments, Arrowhead Points, and More.