I have seen San Bruno Mountain change in spring for about eighty years. Early morning, the hilly rolling mounds, make me think of people covered by a huge blanket. The shadows, created by the myriad of small shrubbery in deep crevices, are dark, while the sun bounces off the higher sides of the mountain. Fog creates a look as if icing on a cake, and it dissipates, revealing the beauty of the hills waiting to be explored. In the early 40’s there were only a couple of homes to be seen on steep sites. Now when the fog lifts, it reveals, many large homes.
For years wild fires filled our nostrils with acrid smoke. In the 40’s and 50’s, volunteer firemen actually got paid to burn the many vacant lots in Brisbane during summertime; their faces blackened and only the whites of their eyes could be seen. I remember they even smoked cigarettes while doing this chore!
When the higher parts of San Bruno Mountain were on fire, we’d run up there, and the firemen would give us wet gunny sacks to beat the flames. I remember a hot ember went into my boot, burning my leg and foot. I quickly tore off that boot!
We used to hike up into the canyon crevices, when spring rain water was still slowly trickling down. Even as children, we marveled at the coolness and beautiful ferns being nourished by the spring water. We’d sit on a rock and eat our sandwich. We were young so we hiked straight up the mountain to the very top.
The reward was breathtaking; a view of the bay, ships around Hunter’s Point, plus the whole bay area. Cows from Hansen’s Ranch grazed around the tall towers, but we avoiding going there as we didn’t want to step on cow dung and deal with the flies.
During WWII, the US Army had a camp right on top of the mountain; we always saw army trucks buzzing up and down going by our house at 406 Humboldt Road. The Army used it for an observation post. It had to be one of the coldest and windiest places to be stationed in California.
San Bruno Mountain is covered primarily in grass with a variety of shrubs dotting areas. Now around town can be seen blossoms in beautiful colors, trees bursting with buds, bright yellow daffodils, standing like trumpets, announcing the new beginning again.
Early morning at the gazebo and looking up at San Bruno Mountain, she is at her best. Still sprouting green grass, sun glimmers off of the large windows from many hillside homes, shadows exposing the canyon crevices, wildflowers peeping up into the grass, life goes on each spring.
The mountain encompasses us like a cape, and we must keep in mind the mountain constantly needs our protection! I was appreciating the beauty of San Bruno Mountain, it was chilly, the sun came up suddenly and I felt warmth like someone poured warm water over my back. It felt so good and the thought popped into my head, its spring on beautiful San Bruno Mountain.