Trails of the Past

Living in a boat, most of our time is spent at or very near the shoreline, which I find natural and is far from being a problem.

There have been exceptions to it along the way though, and we have thoroughly enjoyed our excursions further inland.

Yesterday we had one of these, as we had the opportunity to visit the Mission Trails Regional Park.

When we arrived to San Diego almost two months ago, I was reading a non-fiction book about a story that took place on Southern California’s coast during the Mexican Period (first half of the 1800’s). Chapter after chapter, I would read the detailed descriptions of the San Diego area and then, just raising my eyes to the surroundings, I tried to concatenate the mental image from the book with the actual one from my eyes. It is amazing that a little more than 150 years ago, everything around us was native land, sparsely inhabited by the Yumeyaay, and the occasional Mission here and there. After the transfer to the US in 1850, the area saw exponential growth and today San Diego is within the top-10 largest cities in this country. As beautiful as it is today, I couldn’t help but wonder how the San Diego area looked back in the early 1800’s.

So, it was with great pleasure that I accepted the kind invitation from Katja, s/v Imagine, to take us and the crew of s/v Coastal Drifter on a tour of the Mission Trails Regional Park – one of the few places where native land, flora and fauna have been preserved.

Katja has in depth knowledge of landscaping, and her passion became evident as soon as we got to the park. We soaked in her knowledge and enthusiasm as we walked the park’s trails, identifying Sages, Vines, Sycamores, Oak Trees, California Palms and different kinds of flowers – all starting to bloom now that spring is in full swing here ! At the rocky bank of a stream, she showed the kids how the Kumeyaay used the stones to laundry and also to process their food (there are small smooth excavations visible on the rock, which were formed by their grinding food against it). We also saw hints of Coyotes (well, it was their poop – not too glamorous, but educationally relevant anyway), and birds of prey in the sky. Luckily, we didn’t have any (known) encounter with the ubiquitous rattlesnakes. The park has a comprehensive visitor center, which enhanced the experience with information about the fauna that inhabits there. The vistas of the park were also great, and a strong reminder to me that the interior of this country has spectacular natural beauty, one which is worth further visiting some time in the future.

Today, back to regular homeschooling, I had the idea of leveraging yesterday’s experience in the Science class. As I started to cover the concepts of Ecosystem, Habitat, Food Chain and Food Web, and make parallels with what we had seen yesterday, the kids immediately got hooked up, started using examples of what they had seen and drawing conclusions at a pace that was hard for me to follow. The fact is, I just had to introduce the theme. The learning, they did all by themselves!

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Thank You Katja for letting us experience such a relevant part of San Diego through your eyes !

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3 Replies to “Trails of the Past”

  1. Great article Alex! You captured the historical significance of the park perfectly
    Excelente artigo Alex! Você capturou o significado histórico do parque perfeitamente.

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