Saturday, July 25, 2009

Walk #205: Postage Stamp Sized Parks and George Yount's Grave

Here in the Napa Valley again. I only worked an eight hour shift (which has become a short rarity lately); hopped in the car after work, playing George Harrison's last album on the CD. Brainwashed is the title of the album, and also the title of the last song. George's mantra at the end of that last song is worth the price of the CD alone.

Down the Valley. Turned on Yountville Cross Road and stopped in to explore a nature area. It has one of those binocular brown signs that advertise "Wildlife Viewing". Didn't see any.

Instead I saw a postage sized lot of one simple (and very short) hiking trail. There are some places to jump into the Napa River here. A Mexican family was enjoying cooling off in the river while I visited.

For those unfamiliar with the Napa Valley, this is an Agricultural Preserve. Enviros have also worked hard to save the Napa River by enacting agricultural easements. This means that the vineyard must be more than 100 feet from the river to prevent pollution runoff. Those who own the Vineyards opposed this mightily (the struggle was popularised in two best selling books). After the landowners lost the battle, they quickly jumped on board the Green Bandwagon and now are mostly certified organic vineyards. Ironic.

So this postage stamp sized Nature Preserve was sold by a landowner (cause he couldn't use it anyway) to the county to become a park.

Back in the car and off to Yountville. Took a walk around the Geoge C Yount Pioneer Cemetery and Ancient Indian Burial Grounds. I visited George Yount's grave. Yount was granted the first Land Grant from the Mexican Government back in 1836. He shared the valley with the Native folks (the Wappo Indians).

The graveyard also includes a stone which interns the ashes of the village that was Yountville, before the white folks arrived. All of the towns of the Napa Valley were also the sites of the Wappo Indian villages which existed for thousands of years before we arrived. The Wappo Indians lived in such abundance that they had no term for the word WAR in their language.

And this Valley was abundant. George Yount reported that the skies were black with birds during the migratory season. The Napa River was filled with Salmon. 170 years later, I have seen one Salmon make the journey up the river. They are all but extinct.

Shame on us.


Ian Woofenden said...

A nice day of business and pleasure riding, working on a big PV system design and connecting with friends.

12.57 miles
9.01 mph average
34.53 mph max

Ian Woofenden said...

Rode to the ferry dock and back. Had to take the truck across to pick up a wood splitter, so I didn't get to bike around town to do errands, my strong preference over lugging 2 or 3 thousand pounds of steel and plastic around with me. F. drove the truck and splitter home so I could ride back across the island.

7.85 miles
10.85 mph average
30.15 mph max