China Camp State Park is in my back yard. I think it’s a lovely place and frequent it. With access to hiking and mountain biking trails, a quiet road for the road bike, several fishing spots and a historic fishing/shrimping village (with interpretative center) there’s much to see and do there. San Pablo Bay wraps around it.
In the 1880’s, nearly 500 Cantonese people lived there, catching and drying Grass Shrimp for export back to China. (Incidently that’s what we fished with the other day.) I found excellent info on the original vs restored buildings and fishing process at this WEBSITE.
Here’s a pic of the original village:
Now just a few buildings stand with MANY more trees:
I like the pier:
Once caught the shrimp were cooked and dried. Then, fisherman in special wooden clogs walked on piles to crack the shells. A winnowing machine, invented in China B.C. separated the shrimp by size and removed the shells. The Chinese recipients used the imported shrimp as fertilizer.
This drew to a close, though, as American demand for shrimp increased. Discriminatory legislature prohibited the export of shrimp, forbade traditional Chinese fishing techniques and restricted the size of the catch. Thus, the population declined.
A man named Frank Quan, descendant of an original villager, is the sole occupant. He must’ve been the man changing the brine over olives, behind one of the houses, I said “Hello” to. Once the tourists clear out for the day I’ll bet it’s quiet down there with just the sound of the water.
HIKING IN THE PARK
One of my favorite little loops goes past intertidal marsh and through beautiful oaks.
This particular day, I remember, the birds were causing a ruckus. Through a stretch of woods, a woodpecker was hard at work, revealing occasional glimpses of a red head. Accompanying his percussion, were a whole slew of chirping and squawking birds. I sat and listened for a long time, under the canopy. Peaceful and thrilling at the same time!
I think this is a California Bay Laurel. They smell good.
Headed there today.