San Fransisco, California.
I traveled to San Francisco, California knowing, and dreaming, up a few things.
One, I knew there was a bridge. Two, I knew there was a recently opened Museum of Modern Art. Three, I knew that somewhere (over the rainbow) there were redwood trees.
During my trip I discovered all these things. The Golden Gate Bridge, I learned, eluded to the name of The Golden Strait, the narrow entrance between the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay. The Golden Strait was named by U.S. Army Officer John C. Frémont who first discovered it in 1846. They first discovered gold in California just two years later. However, its an orange bridge and not named because of it’s color or because of the gold they found. It was actually written in Frémont’s memoir that the strait looked similar to the Golden Horn harbor in then Byzantium (now modern-day Istanbul). Read more here.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art had been closed for three years until its grand re-opening this past May. The museum has expanded and now offers free admission to people 18 years and younger.
I admired it’s new architecture and the incredible magnitude of each exhibit. David, my boyfriend, and I started at the top floor and worked our way down. Our favorite part of the museum was the insane vertical garden built just outside the museum walls. I also loved seeing Frida Kahlo’s artwork and the work of Rothko as well.
While modern art to some can be tasteless, and I admit it can be hard to understand at times, the SFMOMA did a wonderful job combining all persons tastes no matter what artistic background they had.
While the Redwoods are all over California, some people only recognize it as one “redwood forest.” Actually, I was one of those people. I educated myself and learned that California has 40 miles of coastal parks that house and protect these magical redwood trees.
Redwood trees are known for their width and height. Though, they are not necessarily the biggest. Sequioa trees are larger in width but not by height.
Many people wonder how they grow so tall. Redwoods have thrived in a foggy, wet, and dark climates for thousands of years, and are grown in rich, deep soil. They also were known to have some fire damage (thought to be caused by lightning) which caused burls in the tree (a trees scar tissue) that helped the trees grow even more. When we were in California, we visited the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve. We read about the fire damage on the trees but they mentioned that is was not recent (not in any written memory, that is).
I also read on the National Park Service website that over 96% of the original old-coast redwood trees were logged. During the gold rush, lumberjacks and gold diggers made their way out to the coast to dig for gold and to chop these big baby redwoods down (to build their booming society). It wasn’t until many of the trees were logged that they were realized as precious and valuable trees. In the 1920’s many people then began to try to preserve these trees, such as the 1918 Save-The-Redwoods League.
The park that we visited, the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, was named after Colonel Armstrong. He was a successful army official and business man, owning and operating a sawmill site in California after his move from Ohio (WOO!). He later learned of his love of forestry and the redwoods in specific.
In 1878 he gifted 440 acres of what is now known as the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve to his daughter, Kate Armstrong, to help make his dream of an arboretum. After many failed attempts and trials, and even after his death, in 1917 the now Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve was bought by the County of Sonoma. It officially opened as the Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in 1936 and in 1964 it was finally deemed a State Natural Reserve. You can read more about the reserve here.
That a Wrap (up).
Our trip to California was inspiring and informative. The price of living, however, (around $5,000 a month to rent an apartment in downtown San Fran) coupled with its crippling homeless situation showed some of Sweet San Fran’s troubles. I wanted to so badly help the many people that were laying on the street and in the subway, but didn’t know how.
Thank you for reading along and I hope that my informative trip to California may help yours.
Cheers. See you on the next adventure,
Jordan | The Tart Peach