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April 04, 2006
ART AND CULTURE
Historical Society to host John Muir walkers
DELHI, California (STPNS) -- On April 25, the Delhi Historical Society will host two very special presenters.
Peter and Donna Thomas are engaged in a project to document and retrace John Muir's first trip across California. On March 27, 1868, Muir arrived from New York, by steamer, to California. He was thirty, had just walked from Indiana to Florida, and wanted to see Yosemite.
From San Francisco, the typical traveler took a ferry to Stockton and then completed the trip to Yosemite by stage and horse. Muir chose to walk. Muir took the ferry to Oakland and walked via the Santa Clara Valley, over the Pacheco Pass, across the San Joaquin Valley to Snelling, and then up the foothills through Coulterville to arrive in Yosemite Valley around May 22.
Even though this was Muir's first walk in California, the Thomases found that no outdoor enthusiast had ever tried to rewalk it, nor had any Muir scholar thoroughly studied it. The Thomases first step was to determine Muir's route. As Muir left scanty records of this trip, they have spent the last year researching the facts. Second, they had to plot their own route. Most of the roads Muir walked are now major highways.
Fortunately, as a result of Muir's seminal work in the field of conservation, there are greenbelts, parks, urban trails, and pathways, throughout California. The Thomases have taken as their challenge to link these together into a route that parallels Muir's, while walking as much as possible in nature, off the main roads. They envision creating a Trans-California walking route between San Francisco and Yosemite and a guide book that will make it easy for others to follow.
The Thomases will begin their trip on Sunday, April 2 (after attending the ?John Muir in Gobal Perspective? Conference, hosted by the John Muir Center at the University of the Pacific March 30- April 1). Friends and well-wishers can gather at the ferry building at 12:15, by the statue of Ghandi, for a short speech and a gala send off. They will leave on the 1:10 ferry from San Francisco and when they arrive in Oakland will begin their walk using a section of the San Francisco Bay Trail.
Along the way, the Thomases will stop at various places to make public presentations. In addition to the stop with the Delhi Historical Society, they will stop in San Jose on April 9 and in Coulterville on April 29. The trip will end with a celebration of the trip's completion at the Yosemite Lodge Amphitheater on May 13 at 6 p.m.
The Delhi Historical Society program will begin at 1 p.m. at the Delhi Educational Park.
The Thomases live in Santa Cruz. Donna has hiked the John Muir Trail twice and Peter has joined her on sections of the trial. Peter and Donna Thomas are currently self employed book artists: papermakers, letterpress printers, hand bookbinders and visual artists. They have created over 150 fine press editions and artist books including:
Wildflowers of the John Muir Trail
Landscapes of the John Muir Trail
More Making Books By Hand (2004 by Rockport/Quarry Books).
To find the web site make a Google search for Peter and Donna Thomas, or use this address: http://members.cruzio.com/~peteranddonna/index
The Delhi Historical Society is also in the process of organizing a special celebration to look back at 100 years of the Pioneers of Delhi. The Schendel family arrived in Delhi in 1906 and 1907. The Leedoms arrived in 1908, the Fiorinis arrived in 1909 and the Allisons arrived in 1910. The date for this celebration is tentatively set for September 9. Any input and assistance will be greatly appreciated. The group is also considering having a parade similar to the one held for Founders' Day in years past.
Anyone with photographs, writings and other historical items who is willing to donate or loan them to the historical society is encouraged to do so. The group would also like to hear from anyone whose family arrived in Delhi prior to 1940. The stories of how and why families arrived in Delhi are of historical value and the organization is interested in preserving these historical stories.
Please e-mail the Delhi Historical Society at email@example.com or contact Rebekah McCurdy for further information.
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