Friday, July 13, 2018

St. Mateo and the Mountain

One time, while living in Zurich, I got to chatting with a supermarket employee called Mateo. I write 'one time' because in the three years that I lived in ZH, I think this truly was the only time I got into a casual discussion with a supermarket employee. Small talk, in this scenario, is fairly unusual. I initally approached him to ask where I could find the dairy section. Upon hearing my standard German, he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from a place called Pacifica in California. As it turned out, we were sort of from the same place as his parents had been living in San Mateo County when he and his brother were born in the 1960s. Indeed, his name is derived from the city of San Mateo. He also told me that his brother, Bruno, is named for the neighboring city of San Bruno. I found this story especially amusing and rather sweet as I have never met anyone here named for either place.



San Bruno is also the name of a small mountain that stretches from Brisbane to Daly City, situated just south of San Francisco. Up until last weekend, I had never visited the mountain, now an official part of the parks system, although I had grown up only some 10 miles away. The mountain boasts a stunning bit of scenery and I can't believe it took me thing long to get up there. 

Here are some photos from the excursion--

From the Daly City streetside entrance--

The mountain is home to some rare and endangered plant and butterfly species. Additionally, massive eucalyptus trees are also plentiful. The eucalyptus were first planted in this area back in the 1850s, and although now known to be an invasive species, the sight and scent of them always remind me of home. 



 -walking along the trail that eventually leads to the vista of the southern portion of San Francisco, bay and beyond.

Coastal scrub in the foreground.


View of SF and Daly City: The famed Cow Palace flanked by a massive parking lot, center of shot. The bay and East Bay in the background.




 --making our way back along the path toward the entrance.

Fern on fallen tree trunk. 

Wind speeds on the mountain can reach up to 30 miles an hour. On my visit, I'd say that the winds were a-whipping something fierce once one reached the far side of the mountain facing the bay. I looked somewhat in vain for some of the rare butterfly species that inhabit the area, but darn it if the wind didn't keep them from venturing forth. Fortunately, I live very nearby, so there will be a subsequent visit! 

12 comments:

  1. It's amazing how we don't explore some beautiful places that are close by. Glad you finally made it. Sorry the winds were fierce.

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    1. Yes, it is. Glad I finally made it up there, too.

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  2. It looks a lovely area. Pity about the wind.

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    1. Yes, it's so lovely. The wind was a bit off-putting, to be honest.

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  3. What an amazing excursion. And how lovely to think you will be back (and taking us along).
    Sigh on the wind front. Very windy days make small children, cats and me a touch on the feral side.

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    1. Ha, yes. I was sort of like get me the fuck off this mountain while going round the windy bit.

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  4. I have seen butterflies going against gale-force winds and coping very well. It looked impossible but obviously nobody told them it was.

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    1. I did see a few wind blown birds on my three mile walk. Perhaps the nos. on these rare butterfly species are so depleted that it's simply very hard to see them wind or no wind?

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  5. Looks like a pretty sweet place to spend some time. Thanks for sharing and better luck next time with those butterflies.

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  6. Dear Bea, it always surprises me how all of us can miss the close-by beauty or history or presence of a place and instead travel far away to see something. I've seen so little of the United States and yet been to Europe three times. Now, a friend who loves to travel is introducing me to the scenic and historical beauty of the United States. What a blessing. Peace.

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    1. Agreed. I, too, have seen very little of the US, but have visited Western Europe many times. I'm glad to be exploring more in my own backyard, as it were, these days.

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