Thanks so much for your swell responses to this hike-log and the slide show video. I found that I was missing photos in the text of the one I sent Tuesday, it seemed stark. It was bugging me so I added a few photos for curb appeal . . . you can now kick the tires! I’ve also added photos from the archive of an earlier Ring Mt. Hike in a P.S. It’s the same log other than that. Lew
Our last hike here was just after a rain with slippery going underfoot and water flowing in the streams. This visit things were dry – our path filled with cracks & fractures, the grasses gone fully golden. Native Americans had visited this area for thousands of years leaving evidence of their lives with grinding stones a beautiful example of which we discovered at the beginning of our hike. The mound laced with tiny bits of sea shells indicated they harvested all kinds of shell fish at this site as well from the bay below. But perhaps the most dramatic messages from the past are the remarkable petroglyphs going back perhaps 8,000 years.
Ring Mountain from Sausalito’s Bay Model with the faithful Raccoon (US Army Corps of Engineers ship on the left).
Betty Goerke in her book Chief Marin, Leader, Rebel and Legend writes “Perhaps the best know sacred site in the Huimen tribal area is Ring Mountain, on the Tiburon peninsula. In more than twenty-five locations on the mountain, carved designs known as petroglyphs are visible on the rock surfaces of chlorite schist. They appear as engraved circles with raised centers, some in groups of up to three circles.
Many of the petroglyphs are difficult to see unless light chances to illuminate them at the right angle, which is how a geologist, Salem Rice, first noticed them in the 1970’s.”
Perhaps it was this remarkable rocky promontory with its sculptured boulders that the early inhabitants discovered and recognized as unique and powerfully symbolic. “California is known among geologists as a type locality for subduction. In everyday language this means a place that exposes textbook-quality examples of subduction related rocks and tectonic features. The rarest and most scientifically precious of these is in Tiburon, and part of it is on pristine display at Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve.” http://science.kqed.org/quest/2011/05/19/geological-outings-around-the-bay-ring-mountain
Turtle Rock is a superb example of this dramatic geological history of Ring Mountain
In 1976 this land had been purchased by a real estate developer, Robert Goetz, for suburban homes. Fortunately, the idea shocked leaders in Marin. Led by Phyllis Ellman, a conservationist who opposed the development and led the opposition. The negotiations finally led to its acquisition by the Nature Conservancy in 1982. In addition to its rare geology, Ring Mountain had many special plants that are found only on its serpentine soil. In 1995 Ring Mountain became a part of Marin Open Space District.
We were finally able to spot some Tiburon Mariposa Lilies toward the end of their bloom thanks to a ranger’s suggestion, Tiburon buckwheat in a number of locations, and diminutive Clarkia amoena (Farewell to Spring) in many places along our trail still blooming brightly.
Imagine this entire hill filled with luxury homes, a view location par excellence – the Bay, the Golden Gate, San Francisco . . phew!
Place Names of Marin by Louise Teather writes that Ring Mountain is named for George E. Ring who was a dairyman from New Hampshire and a Marin County Supervisor 1895-1903. He “owned the California City Tract below the mountain from 1879 until his death in 1913.”
That Tract is now called Paradise Cay and the point was called Ring Point “and the 602 foot-high mountain acquired its name.” A high school senior, Catie Hall, in a remarkable senior project in 2009 writes, “There are conflicting histories of how Ring Mountain got its name. One says that it was named after George E. Ring .. The much cooler version: Ring Mountain is named after the ancient Miwok Native American petroglyph rings etched on the rocks scattered around the mountain.”
Here’s a slide show/video of our hike set to some of the music in the Concerto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo. (Allegro con spirito with John Williams playing the guitar)
Finally, a couple of terrific links about Ring Mountain for after dinner feasting and a map to get us back.
P.S. A couple of photos from a hike with Armando on Ring Mountain in April of 2011 approaching from Old St. Hilary’s Church –