Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sitting Bull Plaque

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We left the heavy fog in San Francisco with the hope of reaching sunshine, but our short four-mile round-trip hike to the Sitting Bull Plaque began on a windy and chilly morning.

Starting once again from the Mountain Home Inn, we trekked along the Gravity Car Grade into Marin Municipal Water District lands, then continued along the Hoo Koo E Koo fire road past last week's junction at the Vic Haun Trail.

The Temelpa Trail isn't signed, but it's easy to spot where it intersects the road.

The Temelpa is a steep trail, worn down to bare rock by winter rains.

The Sitting Bull Plaque is set in this big boulder and is a very simple design (inset). It reads (approximately):

"Behold, my friends, the spring has come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! Every seed is awakened, and all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being, and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even to our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves to inhabit this vast land.

"Yet hear me, friends! we have now to deal with another people, small and feeble when our forefathers first met with them, but now great and overbearing. Strangely enough, they have a mind to till the soil, and the love of possessions is a disease in them. These people have made many rules that the rich may break, but the poor may not! They have a religion in which the poor worship, but the rich will not! They even take tithes of the poor and weak to support the rich and those who rule. They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.

"This nation is like a spring freshet; it overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path."

I say "approximately" because instead of transcribing the sign, I cut-and-pasted the text from a web page about Sitting Bull (here).

Apparently the plaque was first put up in 1993 (there's no mention of it in Lincoln Fairley's 1987 Mount Tamalpais, A History, nor is it shown on the 1989 Olmsted & Bros. map), then later replaced by a more scratch- and weather-resistant one (link). An even more elaborate shrine was installed, only to be taken down by the same breed of water district officials who dismantled most of the Music Camp.

We got our only taste of sunshine at the Sitting Bull Plaque. The Temelpa Trail continues up to East Peak, but we continued just a few steps farther to pick up the top of the Vic Haun Trail and head back down.

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