Mt Umunhum

Half  Dome – Yosemite Musing
If you are a South SF Bay resident or have driven down Highway 85 or 101 and looked west, you may have seen a huge block standing at the top of the Mountain range.

Distant view of Mt Umunhum

The huge antenna stand

That block rises  about 80 feet and at one time held a high power search radar focused on the Pacific and tuned to see Soviet Bombers heading our way. Almaden Air Force station was opened in 1958 during the Cold War. The Ruskies were threatening us with their high altitude Badger and Bear nuclear armed bombers. Not good. The radar station was an early warning system – that worked. Though the 60’s and 70’s it swept the ocean skies with a distinct “whomp” that could be picked up by a phonograph stylus. The “whomp” “whomp” were bursts of energy that would annoy locals. After several treaties with the Reds, the site was deactivated in the late ‘70’s.  We no longer needed it since we had other means of detection. In 1980 it went surplus and was bought in 1986 by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. The government left us a toxic mess. Lead paint, asbestos, mold, contaminated soil and creepy crawlers abound. What to do with the site? A prison? A resort? How about a park for the people! The hope is the latter. Congressman Mike Honda supports the conversion. But it may cost $11M to clean up the place before anyone can go up. The access road is on private property and you cannot drive or walk up. They say the views from the top are fantastic. You can see our smaller neighbor 50 miles north, San Francisco; Monterey, Santa Cruz and I wonder about Half Dome. Mt. Umunhum (it’s fun to say it … t ry it: Umunhum) is named after an Indian word for hummingbird. It stands about 3500 feet above sea level. Congress has appropriated $3.2 million in funding for the cleanup of Mt. Umunhum. For more info, to see a video and to donate go <HERE>.  Maybe soon we can meet at the top!
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.
John Muir

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


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