The route over Chilkoot Pass has connected the coastal and inland Tlingit since ancient times. But in 1898 the Klondike gold discovery triggered a stampede and thousands of men sought the fastest route to the claims. Two of the most utilized routes were the Chilkoot Trail and the White Pass route. The Chilkoot Trail (which traversed Chilkoot Pass) began in Dyea AK, which is now a ghost town with just a few remains. The White Pass route began in Skagway, which is just a few miles to the southeast and thrives to this day. Both routes converge at the settlement on Lake Bennett, BC. Here the stampeders used the extensive Boreal Waterways to complete their long journey to the gold fields.
After over hunting sea otter in Alaska, Russian-American Trading Company set its sites on the New Albion, the northern California coast, and by 1811 had established a temporary base in Rumiantsev Bay (later Bodega Bay). Exploration for a permanent settlement ended in the selection of the eventual site of Fort Ross, 20 miles up the coast. Over the next 30 years the Russian settlement blossomed on the success of the otter pelt trade. In the later years of the settlement, the Russian-American Company facilitated the scientific study of the area. Among it’s interests was the exploration of the interior starting with the Russian River itself and it’s tributaries. Any advance into the California inland would be facilitated by its waterways, and the Russian River valley and watershed is flush with tributaries.
The most prominent features of northern of Point Reyes are Tomales Bay, the wide open range land, Drake’s Estro, and it’s many surf-battered beaches. But it also provides a refuge for the very rare Bishop Pine. The 1995 Vision Fire engulfed the Mount Vision hillside and burned 12,354 acres of bishop pine forest and coastal scrub.
Douglas Fir dominates the southern half of Point Reyes peninsula’s forest land. (In contrast, Bishop Pine flourishes in the north.) Point Reyes represents a far southern outpost for the species; its stronghold being the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia. Take a turn around the southern half of the peninsula, exploring the major ecological zones and visiting the Rift Zone – where the San Andrea Fault separates Point Reyes from it’s mainland neighbor.
The Purisima Redwoods is primarily a well maintained circuit, but the southwestern end seems to terminate at Lobitos Creek. Circumnavigate the park and then explore the Lobitos Creek trail and look for any signs of the creek.
Pacifica’s Montara region can be accessed from the inland San Pedro Park or the Coastal McNee Ranch. From either route, one can press inland and explore the peaks in this area of the coastal range, including the local maximums, North Peak.
Run the resupply route from Girdwood to Eagle River along the Iditarod Trail. Pay special attention to the Monarch Mine settlement and take care on the multiple stream crossings.
In 1769 Gaspar de Portolà lead the famous Portolà expedion from its encampment near present day Moss Beach into the hills and eventually ridge line of the north peninsula.
During Prohibition (1920s and 1930s) Ranchers set up distilleries hidden in the Mount Diablo region to supplement their hand-to-mouth existence. Help the ranchers in their elicit enterprise and move some hooch out of Jackass Canyon.
Retrace the railroad. Start by taking the Mountain Division (former South Paciﬁc Coast RR & Santa Cruz & Felton RR) up from Santa Cruz to just south of Los Gatos (the original terminus) to the ghost towns of Alma and Lyndon. Unfortunately, there’s no view of these ghost towns as their sites lay beneath the Lexington resevoir. From here cut west to intersect the Felton & Pescadero Railroad at Boulder Creek. Take the Boulder Creek branch south through Ben Lomond and finally rejoining the Mountain Division at Felton, which of course returns to Santa Cruz. Rather than retrace this ground, scout out another route, east of the Mountain Line, and assess its suitbility for another narrow gauge line to compete with the entrenched tycoons.