Modern California holds sprawling metropolitan areas, the biggest population of all the United States, and the eighth largest economy in the world. But prior to the mid-1800s, California was a land of sleepy settlements. Now densely populated, San Francisco had only 459 residents in 1847. Everything changed when gold was discovered east of Sacramento in 1848, and the rush of gold prospectors that followed gave rise to California as we know it today.
A native of the Midwest, Mallory Goelz grew up in Danville, Illinois. She spent the last six years living in various states, slowly making her way to the West Coast, until she landed in Montara. She's been at the front desk of the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel for a year and a half now, and loves everything about Montara. Indecisive, or "all decisive" as she calls it, and a child of the "flat middle," she can never choose between coastal waters or rugged mountains. Luckily, the Northern California coast gives her both.
Point Reyes National Seashore is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a Trails Challenge fundraiser! The Point Reyes National Seashore Association, the park's nonprofit partner, and the National Park Service are establishing a Trails Trust for the well-loved trails and paths of Point Reyes that need to be updated and maintained. In honor of the park's birthday, and to kickstart trail renovations, the Trails Challenge -- which challenges hikers and equestrians to explore all 150 miles of trails -- is a benefit for the Trails Trust.
I've always found a magical allure to hitting the open road. Being a city dweller, walking is pretty much all I do, so getting out of town and looking at an open stretch of road from the driver's seat is really thrilling. On my latest adventure, I explored Route 92, which runs east to west from the San Francisco Bay, over the mountains to the coast. It's a nice alternative route to get to Coastal Highway 1 and the Pigeon Point or Point Montara lighthouse hostels.
The Embarcadero, San Francisco's scenic eastern waterfront, holds some of the city's most well known attractions as well as some wonderful hidden spots in between. One Saturday afternoon, I set out on the Embarcadero's pedestrian walkway to see what I could discover on the path from the Ferry Building to the San Francisco Giant's AT&T Park.
Many State and County Parks await visitors to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse, and Jane Mauss, the weekend housekeeper at the hostel, is a great resource for outdoor explorers. Born and raised on the San Francisco peninsula, she's made Pescadero her home for over two decades. Jane is pictured here riding her beloved donkey, Johnny Appleseed, who also knows the trails and beaches of Pescadero well. If you don't spot him on the trails near the lighthouse, look for him on stage! He'll be "performing" this spring in the San Francisco Ballet's production of Don Quixote.