Easy Living – Russian Ridge California

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A peaceful sunset over a peaceful landscape, in California’s Russian Ridge Open Space.

When I think of Native Americans, I tend to think East Coast (Iroquois, Seminole, etc.), or Plains (Sioux, Cheyenne, etc.), or even Southwest (Navajo, Apache). But rarely do I think of California. However, what is now California was home some of the most thriving indigenous peoples. Before European contact, one third of all Native Americans in (what is now) the USA were living in California. It was also home to one of the highest densities of distinct languages anywhere on Earth. In fact, the westward movement in the 1800’s (gold rush, Oregon trail, etc.) actually reduced the population in California by 90% over the course of the century, due to Westerners bringing new diseases and invasive plants! After spending some years exploring these parts, I can see why the natives had made such a prosperous home for themselves. The weather is mild and peaceful, the landscape fruitful. Never is it more evident than a tranquil sunset in these Santa Cruz Mountains. There’s even several deer in the distance in this photograph that I didn’t notice until editing! Taken in Russian Ridge California.

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