The far end of the Juan Bautista De Anza trail – Christopher para

The piece of land that I was assigned to work with for this unique internship opportunity is a winding stretch of land (approx. 1,950 km) that crosses various geographies, land/weather conditions, state and country borders, the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail. Intercepting along Sinaloa, Arizona, and California, it is home to a story of colonization, migration, and diversity that 240 individuals & 667 animals (cattle, horses, mules) began in 1775 and ended June 1st, 1776, in San Francisco. It encompasses hundreds of sites along the trails, often marked/situated by their use of a mission settlement, aid from Natives, or a significant event within the group of travelers. They settled at the end of their colonial travels near the Presidio district of San Francisco, the first trail site I visited with my supervisor and another intern, Eduardo, and his supervisor.

The base of Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire

We discussed the changing meaning of memorial sites and monuments, and what they could come to look like in the near future, with attention to what is the historical as well as the contemporary significance of each and what they are symbolizing. This specific trail site of the Presidio was beautiful and slightly gloomy the day we visited, lined with huge pine and eucalyptus trees (nearby water + eucalyptus leaves, make for the best fresh smell). It even includes a piece of land art by Andy Goldsworthy title Spire, which is essentially a huge spike of trees leaning up against each other, which was lit on fire during the summer of 2020. Working outside and spending time with the land, seeing community has already been my favorite part of this program, as much as I love zoom meetings and webinars. <3 So, I am excited to keep exploring and begin to solidify which sites I will focus on for my upcoming projects, so far it has been more surveying and photographing these sites.

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