Monday, June 2, 2008

Travels ~ Fort Hunter-Liggett and Beyond ~ Day 3

The third day of our travels, we decided to head North towards Carmel and Monterey. After visiting the Mission San Antonio just down the road, I wanted to show my Mom the one at Carmel. I'd visited there years ago on a photography workshop trip that I took with a photography class at a nearby junior college. So, we programmed the TomTom for Carmel and headed out towards Highway 101. After a stop for breakfast in King City again, the TomTom did pretty good at getting us to the general area. Although, since we didn't have an address as a destination, we told it to go to the Carmel "city center". Well, we ended up in a residential area a ways away from the actual "downtown" area of Carmel. After cruising around town, admiring the buildings and finding a lovely beach we found some workmen and asked one of them how to get to the mission. He gave us some great directions and we found the mission with no problems.

This is the front of the Carmel Mission Church or the Mission San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo as it's properly known. The mission is still a functioning church and has a school in the rest of the buildings on the site. When you visit, you can opt for a docent guided tour or just to wander the grounds, taking care not to disturb the school or any other functions that happen to occur. We chose to wander the grounds. Inside the church, off to one side is a small chapel that contains the crypt or tomb where Father Junipero Serra is buried.

This is part of the courtyard where the school is at the Carmel Mission. The gardens we blooming like crazy and it was very quiet there when we wandered around. I suppose the fact that the walls are so thick in the buildings around the courtyard that the sounds from the school children in their classes were barely heard.

Also in the courtyard there was this huge tree. I had to back up almost to the other side of the courtyard to get the whole tree in the viewfinder. I'm not quite sure what kind of tree it is, but it was very striking. The smaller tree to the left is a pepper tree.

I'll be honest here, I did read the small plaque placed near this statue, but I do not remember who it is supposed to be or who sculpted it. I just thought it was rather striking and thought provoking. Like why is he holding that odd looking branch with birds perched on it?

After wandering around Carmel and the mission we headed for Monterey. This time the TomTom got us pretty much where we wanted to be. We wandered through the shops at Cannery Row for a while then decided that the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant would be a good place to have a late lunch. The food was delicious, especially the clam chowder and the "Hush Pups" which were different from any other "hushpuppies" that I'd ever had. Bubba Gump's puts shrimp, fish and corn in the middle of the "pups". Just plain delicious!

When we got back to Fort Hunter Liggett, there was a distinct smoke smell in the air. A fellow told us that the forestry had done a "controlled burn" in the hills, and the breezes just filled the valley where the main part of the fort is with smoke. I kept going out and walking around with my camera at sunset, hoping for a beautiful sunset photo to add to my "album", but every evening was cloudless so the sunsets were rather "brief" and not very colorful. This smokey sunset from the hill behind the Hacienda was the most colorful one we had the entire time.

Now a bit about the history of the Hacienda and the land around it. Way back around the turn of the century, William Randolph Hearst had begun buying up the land and ranches in the area. In the late 1920's, he commissioned Julia Morgan to design and build the Milpitas Ranch headquarters. Construction of the complex started in 1929 on the site of the original Milpitas Ranch headquarters which had burned down. The original plans for the complex indicate that the buildings were to house 20 employees and it was supposed to have a wing included that would have been Mr. Hearst's private quarters. That wing was never completed, but the rest of the building was expanded to house 30 employees.

Ms. Morgan's design reflected the California Mission style, but differed in that it was constructed of poured concrete instead of adobe or bricks. All the materials for the construction of the buildings was hauled in by trucks from Santa Cruz. And none of the materials went to waste. Even the wood used in the forms for the concrete was used later for the ceilings. Wood stoves and fireplaces provided heat and water was supplied by a well near the San Antonnio River nearby and stored in a tank in the tower over the part of the building that housed the kitchen. The building housed the ranch manager, the mechanics, gardeners and cooks needed to care for the ranch year round. The cowboys, however, camped in the fields.

The Hacienda was used all through the 30's as the headquarters for the ranch. In December of 1940, the Hearst era ended when the approximately 158,000 acre ranch was sold to the government along with some neighboring properties to form Fort Hunter Liggett.

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