It had been raining off and on as I drove down California Highway 1 along the Mendocino and Sonoma County coast, when I arrived at the closed gate to Fort Ross State Historic park, a real blow. I hadn’t visited this beautiful and curious spot for decades and had been looking forward to it. The California State Park System, in it’s wisdom, had determined only weekend visitors would be admitted so on I went until, at a bend in the road, there it was. No way to get in but I was determined to at least enjoy the view and get a picture. A U-turn beyond, I pulled onto the shoulder across the narrow road, got out in the drizzle and crossed to the grassy bank, as close as I’d get that day.
The history of Fort Ross is complex, with Spanish expansion from the south through Mexico, meeting Russian enterprise moving across Siberia and Alaska from the north to California in 1812. The American presence at the site dates from the 1840’s. Read more of the history of Fort Ross State Historic Park on Wikipedia.
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