Ron Kauk & Kenji Hakuta asked to visit the sandstone outcropping where Ron had spent time as a teenager, riding his bike from San Carlos in the early 1970s. Ron entered into the world of climbing at Jasper Ridge and in Yosemite. He is now well-known in climbing circles. (See <SacredROK.org> or google him. Ron, Kenji, & Kenji's wife Nancy Goodban founded SacredROK to introduce Merced teenagers to nature & self-discipline, and to a different path than that obvious to them in their circles in Merced.) I took them to what I have called the Sacred Space -- a flat sandstone rock, overlooking the surroundings, with some grinding depressions left by Native Americans. It is probable that this remote location was not used for day-to-day food preparation -- perhaps for some ritual? Ron immediately recognized the location as the spot where he had spent hours in his youth, climbing the wall alone or with friends.
There are many instances of scat from the Dusky-footed Woodrat around the Sacred Space, as well as a set of scratches leading up a rocl: claw marks from a climbing animal? I would like to have an ID!
Down below, on trail a near Trail 1 (the Herb Dengler Trail), is a large Tafoni sandstone boulder which also has grinding depressions in its top. This one, near oaks, might well have been used for food production. It is a favorite climbing rock for the Environmental Volunteer tours of Jasper Ridge.
This gallery consists of images captured during four visits to the area in early 2011: February 10, with Ron Kauk & Kenji Hakuta; February 20; February 26, when I sought but did not find the Sacred Space; and March 9, after an early morning with Rob Buelteman (in another gallery).
© Photography by Dan Quinn