Nisene Marks


Fire road into the forest

The way in

The first half of the trail is a fire-road that takes you gradually up to Sandy Point overlook. On the early part of the trail you find the explantation of the area history and how the logging industry was prevalent here 100 years ago. Hard to imagine there was so much industrialization, saw mill, railway etc, in what is now a thickly wooded area – nature as an irresistible force, always lurking in the background waiting for when civilization drops its guard.

Information board telling us about the sawmill

Loma Prieta Sawmill

Everything is very green around us, so unlike the east bay in the summer, but the fall is coming – there is a constant sound of the wind in the trees and showers of dried leaves floating down from above.

Bridge by the ford

Bridge by the ford

Occasionally you cross a bridge. I always think bridges are interesting. We make them and then they stand like faithful servants waiting, waiting, waiting for us to cross and all the time they are gradually decaying. There is a timeless quality to them. People journey back and forth over them, the river flows under them particles of world bound on other journeys and still the bridge stands there in sun and rain, in day and night.

Railway used for hauling logs

Logging Railway



More evidence of past industrialization as we look at the picture of the incline railway. Makes me wonder about all the people that toiled on this logging site. I

wonder what drama and calamities accompanied their lives. You can imagine toiling every day to meet production quota as the logs are carried off to build houses and perhaps bridges. What of those houses now? Do they still stand, are they still occupied? This piece of wood that was once part of a mighty tree standing in the forest is now the frame of a house cocooned in plaster or drywall and never seeing the light of day. Where it once stood in the forest new trees now reach to the sun.

Meanwhile the path climbs around the side of the hill. Its mostly secluded and dark with the occasional threat from cyclists who insist on going at high speed down hill.

In the upper reaches of the walk we start to see the stumps of old growth trees that were no doubt cut in the logging era. Below newer trees shoot up to the sun.

Finally Sandy Point
Its a hazy day and so although we have a wide sweeping view its hard to pick out detail. Vistas are meant to be seen and not heard. They are a place to breath in the expanse of the sky, the land and the sea – an experience beyond words. Such is my dream but its crushed by a group of cyclists who are discussing the details of their lives, their children’s lives, their tomato plants and all manner of other things. Mostly they look at each other rather than the view and the space and time moment seems lost. Perhaps they come here every week and the view has become mundane, or perhaps I need to learn compassion and understanding.
Now to head back down and complete the loop. The way is completely different, a narrow path through the forest.

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