HISTORY

Alta California: From San Diego to San Francisco, A Journey on Foot To Rediscover the Golden State

Counterpoint. Nov. 2019. 432p. ISBN 9781640091658. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781640091665. HIST
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To create this book, Neely (Coast Range) spent 12 weeks on a journey to retrace the first overland Spanish expedition through California. In 1769, Gaspar de Portolá led a group of Spaniards up the California coast on what has been called "The Sacred Expedition." The trek spanned from San Diego to the San Francisco Bay and would come to be a part of the famous El Camino Real, which linked the 21 Spanish missions. This was an important part of California’s history and, to Neely's knowledge, no one had hiked the Portolá route before. A California native, the author had considered hiking the Pacific Crest Trail but felt it had "become something of a highway." Interested in learning more of the history of his childhood state, he embarks on an adventure using guidebooks and journals from the Portolá time period, detailing his nights in a two-pound solo tent in stretches that were both urban and remote.
VERDICT Neely's account is a solid mix of adventure story and history lesson. Recommended for anyone interested in California history.

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