Thursday, January 12, 2006


I like maps, and my favorite these days is a dog-eared copy of the Olmstead & Bros. Map Co.'s Rambler's Guide to the Trails of Mt. Tamalpais. Most importantly, it's a great map, but it's also annotated with endless but useless historical footnotes in a tiny font. Some excerpts below, sans joax:

Throckmorton Trail: ...the famed cellist, Pablo Casals, nearly ended his musical career by injuries from a fall on this trail.

White's Hill: Lorenzo E. White, an argonaut, arrived in San Francisco in 1849 aboard the bark John Ritson after a voyage of 95 days from Panama. Illness forced him to quit the gold fields so he repaired to the San Geronimo Valley where he raised cattle. The powers that be in Washington have removed the apostrophe from all places named for individuals, but we like it better left in.

Nudist's Nest: A soft, grassy spot in the midst of serpentine on Rocky Ridge. No longer used for the purpose indicated.

Bill Williams Gulch: reputed to have been a Civil War deserter who absconded with gold, Bill Williams had a cabin here.

Colier Trail: ...he was a Scot, an old bachelor, and a man of wealth which he endeavored to conceal. He would come to the door and pretend he was an old tramp seeking a handout. Short, simianesque, and bristly-bearded....

Rifle Camp: ...named after an old rifle dug up by a dog named Schneider...

Steep Ravine Trail: Ebenezer Knowlton, the "hiking professor" (1835-1911), kept this route open...

Swede George Creek: Swede George may have been "the Old Man," an unnamed Swede who worked on the mountain getting out saddlewood and who was living in San Rafael until he died in 1875.

Back to my incredibly edgy life of urban hijinx tomorrow.