Trail Posts: A Literary Exploration of California’s State Parks

A lively introduction to California’s natural and literary heritage

Two college students leap among the branches of a coastal redwood canopy, with no safety equipment other than their sense of balance. A woman gives her testimonio of the day in 1846 when boisterous men in coyote skins raised a hand-painted bear flag above her home. A beginning surfer—derogatorily termed a “kook”—ponders the grassroots activism in the surfing community that saved an estuarine beach from development. Freewheeling Beat writers drink wine and meditate on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. James Marshall tells us in his own words what it was like to come upon the nugget of gold that sent the world rushing into California.

Wallace Stegner wrote that “no place, not even a wild place, is a place until it has had that human attention that at its highest reach we call poetry.” Writings by explorers, poets, and novelists confirm that our parks are indeed a great convergence of landscape and the human spirit. Trail Posts gives a new appreciation for the abundance and vitality of the land, and our artistic engagement with it.

Trail Posts includes writings by Isabel Allende, Joan Didion, Jack London, John Steinbeck, and Mark Twain, as well as writers you will be glad to meet for the first time.

About the Editors

Mariko Conner made her way back to her hometown of Berkeley after attending Carleton College. She has worked for Heyday since 2012. Her favorite state park is Montgomery Woods.
Malcolm MargolinMalcolm Margolin is the publisher emeritus of Heyday, an independent nonprofit publisher and unique cultural institution, which he founded in 1974. Margolin is author of several books, including The Ohlone Way: Indian Life in the San Francisco–Monterey Bay Area, named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the hundred most important books of the twentieth century by a western writer. He has received dozens of prestigious awards among which are the Chairman's Commendation from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fred Cody Award Lifetime Achievement from the San Francisco Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, the Helen Crocker Russell Award for Community Leadership from the San Francisco Foundation, the Carey McWilliams Award for Lifetime Achievement from the California Studies Association, an Oscar Lewis Award for Western History from the Book Club of California, a Hubert Bancroft Award from Friends of the Bancroft Library, a Cultural Freedom Award from the Lannan Foundation, and a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He helped found the Bay Nature Institute and the Alliance for California Traditional Artists.