Alta Magazine and Books Inc. in Palo Alto proudly present award-winning writer Nick Neely for a Book Launch celebrating his engaging new work, Alta California: From San Diego to San Francisco, a Journey on Foot to Rediscover the Golden State. Nick will be in conversation with Patrick Thomas, contributing books editor at the SF Chronicle.
Alta California weaves nature and humanity, past and present, in surprising and serendipitous ways as author Nick Neely follows the first overland Spanish expedition 250 years later--on foot
In Alta California, Nick Neely chronicles his 650-mile trek on foot from San Diego to San Francisco, following the route of the first overland Spanish expedition into what was soon called Alta California. Led by Gaspar de Portolá in 1769, the expedition sketched a route that would become, in part, the famous El Camino Real. It laid the foundation for the Golden State we know today, a place that remains as mythical and captivating as any in the world.
Neely grew up in California but realized how little he knew about its history. So he set off to learn it bodily, with just a backpack, trekking through stretches of California both lonely and urban. For twelve weeks, following the journal of expedition missionary Father Juan Crespí, Neely kept pace with the ghosts of the Portolá expedition--nearly 250 years later.
Weaving natural and human history, Alta California relives his adventure, tells the story of Native cultures and the Spanish missions that soon devastated them, and explores the evolution of California and its landscape. The result is a collage of past and present, of lyricism and pedestrian serendipity, and of the biggest issues facing California today--water, agriculture, oil and gas, immigration, and development--all of it one step at a time.