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California Coast Trails: A Horseback Ride from Mexico to Oregon in 1911 [Paperback]

Our Price $ 14.41  
Retail Value $ 16.95  
You Save $ 2.54  (15%)  
Item Number 427813  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   268
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.66" Width: 5.48" Height: 0.71"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   The Narrative Press
ISBN  158976014X  
EAN  9781589760141  

Availability  108 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 09:45.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
Orders shipping to an address other than a confirmed Credit Card / Paypal Billing address may incur and additional processing delay.

Item Description...
This is the lyrical journal of Chase's 2,000-mile horseback journey from Mexico to Oregon along the coast trails. He set off in 1911, his purpose being to experience the beauty of the land and to record for posterity the distinctively 'Western' way of life. Chase felt that with the construction of the Panama Canal commerce and industry in California would skyrocket and the old way of life would disappear, along with the sacred nature of the coast lands. So he decided to see it all for himself and record it for future generations. A fascinating look at the towns and wilds of California as they were at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A Lyrical Visit to Rural California  Jul 28, 2008
In 1910 J. Smeaton Chase and a painter, Carl Eytel, decided to go by horseback down the coast from Los Angeles. They carried their supplies, rifles for hunting, and a boundless curiosity about the landscape that even then was beginning to change. Far from wilderness, the land had a rural agrarian character. But cars were already starting to appear on the roadways and Chase foresaw the coming of an urban landscape that would replace the small Mexican and Native American pueblos and he wanted to see the land as it once was and would never be again.

The 1910 journey only lasted a few months. Highlights of it included visits to what remained of California's Missions, a day among the Torrey Pines, and exploring the table/mesa ecosystem of San Diego County. One of the leading naturalists of his day, Chase writes thoughtfully on all these topics and published scientific papers on several. But this trip only whetted his passion for a longer journey; one that would stretch from Los Angeles northward all the way to the Oregon border. And in 1911, Chase began that trip, replacing his rifle with a fly rod and small pistol.

Chase's journey through the California coastal region includes lyrical prose about both the landscape and the people who inhabited it. A passionate lover of trees, Chase went out of his way to visit Monterrey Cyprus, Santa Lucia Firs, and of course the Redwoods. Of the latter, he wrote, "They seemed to lack the individual majesty of bearing [found in Sierran Sequoias] and gain their distinction rather from the cummulative effect of their statuesque beauty..." Muir Woods, then only a few years old, was described as "the most beautiful of any preserved enclosure that I have ever seen, and the soft gray day gave them their finest aspect." A repeat visitor to Muir Woods, I find Chase's comments still hold today.

Chase was something of a Jack London socialist, a romantic heavily influenced by Rosseau. He enjoyed the company of all classes of people but like his literary mentors Henry Dana and John Muir, found his true calling in nature. But unlike today's environmentalists, Chase was not anti people and for the most part enjoyed their presence in nature. Old habitations held a special fascination for him. But he was clearly an agrarian at heart and the urban landscape that was gradually spreading along California's coastline concerned him. Writing about Morro Bay, he wistfully predicted, "This pretty place is destined, I think, to be more of note than it is now." Chase was correct, but I think he would have preferred to be wrong. If you want a glimpse of his California, by all means read California Coast Trails. It is one of the best examples of that truly American literary genre, trail literature, that has ever appeared in print.
A Book that May Change You Life  Dec 19, 2006
Be careful reading this book: it may change your life. It changed mine. The book inspired me to retrace Mr. Chase's footsteps, or should I say hoof prints. His book is such a delightful "paseo" (leisurely walk) up the stunningly beautiful California Coast that I found myself unable to resist the temptation to do it myself. Thus, there is another description of Mr. Chase's route, produced more than 82 years later, also available on this site. Read Mr. Chase's book. Sit back and enjoy the images and personalities of 1911 that Mr. Chase brings to life. Maybe you, too, will be inspired to take your own paseo.
Californias Gold  Aug 19, 2001
Anyone who appreciates the unspoiled west and california history should find California coast trails by J.Smeaton Chase a pleasant read. Shortly after publishing his diary journals of extensive journeys throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains in Yosemite Trails, Chase embarked on his next adventure on horseback. This trip would take him from Mexico to Oregon along the coastal route of the spacely settled california. Most of the books appeal to me is Chases daily recording of intimate details such as a rare flower or a unique sunset. His daily travels often ended with a campfire on the sand with the ocean waves for a lullabuy. Chases winning personality and knowledge of California history further enhance the book along with frequent references to former events and places of historical significance. California Coast Trails is a trail guide, history book and personal travel diary all in one. You wont regret the read.

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