Part of Wellness and health for me is getting out in nature and embracing my surroundings. It is also a great way for me to develop relationships, meet new people and learn things I wouldn’t have hadn’t I got out. My husband and I had an opportunity (without children) to go on a hike this week and we took full advantage. We landed at the Mare Island Historic Preserve, which is a “retired” Naval base in Northern California about 30 miles north of San Francisco and not too far from home for us. I decided to take my camera and spend some time capturing our day (I love creating lasting memories with my Canon DSLR – in case you couldn’t tell).
The first stop we made on the trail was the Mare Island Naval Cemetery; which is over 150 years old and the oldest Naval Cemetery on the West Coast of the United States.
The feeling I experienced upon entering a cemetery like this was one that is hard for me to describe. I felt a sense of grief upon walking though, which was mixed with an odd sense of pride and gratitude, (pride because walking though made me feel so proud to be a part of our country’s history and gratitude almost for the same reason). Thinking about the fact that these men and their families made decisions to fight and protect my freedom, was so real when I was standing there. As if I am indebted to them, and gratitude filled me heart and my eyes with tears.
The picture above shows a silver piece with the words guardian angel, which sat on top of the headstone, it was aged as if it had been sitting there in that exact spot for several years.
We felt like we could spend the entire day walking around reading the tombstones, there was so much silence between us, I could feel we both shared so much respect for these individuals, and silence was almost like a unspoken agreement between us. The only time we spoke was when we were reading something interesting…
At one point he stopped me and said “Do not go over there, its hard”… Well, saying that in itself made me way too curious. So what did I do? I went “over there” – there was an entire grouping of tombstones that were all babies. babies that died in the mid 1800s, and tiny plots, with headstones that didn’t reveal the cause of death.
After leaving the cemetery we started on a beautiful trail that over looked the San Pablo Bay; a body of water that leads from Vallejo, Ca to San Francisco, Ca and then dumps into the Pacific Ocean.
Upon investigation the trail is called Shoreline Preserve Scenic Vista Trail. Beautiful Trailways ad vistas, that all intertwine through the island and loop you back into the main road.
One trail we took was so enchanted, through the dark woods on a cleared dirt pathway covered in leaves with old trees and twisted branches that resembled giant hands.
Then, stumbled upon a beautiful picnic area, complete with tables, chairs, string lights and bird feeders
We took some time to explore this area, its actually a garden called the Rowser Garden and it open for public use.
The garden was bohemian (as if you would find a family of gypsy’s living there), awesome detail, very comfortable, I almost pulled the book out of my backpack and settled in for the afternoon to read, but, there was more to see so we kept exploring.
As we headed back we spotted an artsy and eclectic looking building, our curiosity of course got the best of us so we paid it a visit.
We were told this is the visitors center and we were greeted by its mascot!
We began to explore inside and were amazed. Historic Artifacts, photography, Art, and everything that makes up what Mare Island is and was can be found in this building, with a lovely laid back host who made us feel like we walked into our own home! She even offered us an array of tea with local honey from bees on Mare Island.
There was so much to explore here that we will need a few more visits before we can fully understand and absorb all the history there. But, then, my eyes caught someone special, in the very back of the Farmhouse, there she was, lady Liberty, in all her glory holding her tablet.
Standing at least 20-25 feet tall, with company, I am not sure who the man is supposed to be? I’m sure one of our country’s founders.. forgive me!
But the detail on these statues is breathtaking. I was told these are part of the fourth of July parade every year, and they are housed here in the visitors center the rest of the year (my guess is because of the extremely high ceilings in the Farmhouse).
Lady Liberty has such a detail about her face, upon close investigation, she looks like she means business. I am not sure who created this version of her but the detail is impeccable and you can see she means every bit of whats written on her tablet.
Then, on the back wall of the Farmhouse, I found this random peace sign (in a street art fashion), and it was visible as if pit is intended for viewing pleasure.
We wrapped up our visit and headed home, so grateful for the time we spent together and the history we learned. We are looking forward to exploring more on Mare Island. Iguess we figured, we did get married on the island, so we should learn more about it. Thanks for reading!