Voices from the Carmel River Lagoon

With Linda Yamane and Sandy Lydon

On most summer afternoons when the fog begins to blow in off Carmel Bay, if we listen carefully, we can hear the voices of those who came here decades and even centuries ago to forge what we now call California. Many languages ebb and flow on the wind, including Rumsien, Castilian, Latin, Majorquin, Russian, Cantonese, Azorean Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Irish and English.

There is a rich and deep history here, beginning with the Rumsien people who had a special relationship with this area and its beneficent climate, flora and fauna. Junipero Serra established the headquarters of the California mission system on a small hill overlooking this lagoon. The Californios rode their magnificent horses across this sand; a Chinese junk wrecked near here establishing a multi-generational family whose descendants still live nearby; Azorean whalers, were here, as were Japanese and Italian farmers.

A Rare Opportunity – Sandy and Linda have been studying, researching and writing the history of this place for many years, and this adventure was born during an afternoon in 2005 when the two of them paddled a pair of Linda's tule boats in and around the lagoon's quiet waters and shared their perspectives on why this place was and is so special. They have given several co-presentations here for the Big Sur Land Trust.

It is a Herculean struggle to align the calendars of these two busy scholars so that they might share their insights with a small group of adventurers.

Listening, Thinking, Walking and Paddling – We will be sitting, listening and wandering around the mouth of the Rio Carmelo throughout the day, and there will be an opportunity for participants to experience personally just how seaworthy the Rumsien vessels were.

Linda Yamane - Linda is an independent scholar and descendant from a 1773 marriage of Spanish soldier Manuel Butron, and Carmel Valley-born Rumsien, Margarita Dominguez. Through relentless and determined research and practice, Linda has revived the language and culture of her Rumsien forebears. She is presently weaving a basket for the Oakland Museum that will be the first Rumsien basket created in over two hundred years. (She's holding one of the baskets in the photograph from the cover of the magazine News from Native California, published in the fall of 2010.) She has written widely on the history and culture of the Rumsien Ohlone people, and was editor of A Gathering of Voices, published in 2002. She is a consultant with State Parks, the Big Sur Land Trust, and many other organizations.

Sandy Lydon, historian emeritus, Cabrillo College, has been studying and teaching the history of California for fifty years. He has written extensively on the history of the Chinese and Japanese in the region. He is currently completing a long-overdue manuscript on the history of the mouth of the Carmel River and Point Lobos.

Date: Sunday, August 28
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Fee: $75

Planned distance to be covered: 2 miles over the course of the day at a gentle pace

Register Here

General Stuff:
These walks are not designed for children under eighteen, or pets, so please leave them home. (Actually, maybe they can watch each other?)
Bring a picnic lunch. We will have a lunch break near the parking lot, so you won't have to carry your lunch any great distance. Coolers, etc. are recommended.
Layers – cool (probably foggy) in the morning, warmer in the afternoon, then a brisk wind usually beginning mid-afternoon.
Comfortable clothing and possibly something you can wear and get wet. The tule balsas are somewhat tippy at first, so you might get wet.
Sunscreen, hat, sunglasses – The sun is very bright in and around the Carmel River.

Location of day's beginning: Parking lot for Carmel River State Beach

Simple directions:
1) South on Highway 1 past Ocean Street and down the hill to the Rio Rd. stoplight.
2) Right on Rio Rd.
3) Left on Santa Lucia.
4) Left on Carmelo
5) Continue on Carmelo to parking lot. Restrooms on the right.