Go West, Young Women

28 08 2007

Clockwise, outer photos:
Sue stands in front of some wonderful sculptures at a studio on the way to Half Moon Bay…Sue eating apples (she claims she found on the ground) at Filoli (there are over 50 types of pears and apples growing in the Gardens)…Sue sits in “the big chair” outside the Napa Valley Visitors Center…Sue and Gina after dinner in Chinatown (we had Mexican food, if you can believe that)…in the second photo Sue looks excited and Gina’s going to sleep (too much studying!)…halfway between Filoli and Half Moon Bay, Sue spotted a family of eight deer grazing by the lake…Sue twirls in the grand ballroom at the Filoli estate…a recurring theme—watching our toes—the gull finds his feet as equally interesting as Sue does hers…while our gardens are waning, they’re growing begonias the size of salad plates in Half Moon Bay…Sue shows off her purchases in front of our cute (and fun to drive!) Jeep as we leave the Filoli Garden Gift Shop…Sue demonstrates how to wear sunglasses and map reading glasses simultaneously (most likely this is a Glamour don’twhere is my black cardboard swatch when I need it?)…Big portions and really great food at Big Joe’s Cafe in downtown Burlingame…CENTER: Sue hugs a very sharp metal elephant sculpture…Gina recovers from a day of studying and indulges in a bedtime bag of Trader Joe’s Pirate’s Booty popcorn…Sue almost fell into the basin at The Pulgas Water Temple at the Hetch Hetchy Waste Water Treatment Plant in Woodside, California. More information on The Pulgas below.


Far away from the Bay Area and within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park lies the Tuolomne River watershed. Each year, in the springtime, when the Sierra snows begin to melt and feed the many streams flowing into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolomne, the water accumulates behind the O ’Shaughnessy Dam in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Then, through a remarkable series of aqueducts, tunnels and powerhouses, the water is transported across the Central Valley and into Crystal Springs Reservoir, located just north of Woodside, to quench the thirst of the Bay Area. As a monument to this achievement, the Pulgas Water Temple serves to remind us of the precious nature of this resource.

A variety of plants and trees (such as cottonwood, cotoneaster, and California coffeeberry) thrive in the well-tended grounds. A rectangular reflecting pool lined with cypress trees is an attractive accompaniment to the small columned temple. A quote from the Book of Isaiah (“I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert to give drink to my people”) is inscribed on a plaque. Pulgas Water Temple was designed in the Beaux Arts style by William Merchant, a San Francisco architect trained by Bernard Maybeck. Merchant’s design featured fluted columns and Corinthian capitals to reflect the architecture of ancient Greeks and Romans, whose engineering methods were used to build the new water system. Artist and master stone carver Albert Bernasconi brought Merchant’s drawings to life.

(NOTE: We certainly don’t have anything this pretty to “honor water” at the Blue Plains Treatment Plant in D.C…..a little known fact: I’ve been there to photograph the site when I was a freelancer working for the Water Environment Federation…so I have behind-the-scenes information about treatment plants and photos of the entire process…more than you would ever want to know about!)


© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.



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