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Legends of Konocti ...
According to Pomo Indian legend, Mt Konocti was created when two warriors - Chief Konocti and Chief Kah-bel - battled over a forbidden marriage. The two chiefs took stands on opposite sides of the the Narrows. As each died, Kah-bel's blood painted the rock red, while Konocti formed the volcano. Soda Bay - lying at the foot of Mt. Konocti - was created with tears of the maiden, shed over the deaths of her feuding father and lover. Today, Soda Bay still bubbles with volcanic gases of carbonated water that rise from the bottom of the lake.
Geologists believe that Mt Konocti, a dormant volcano, first erupted 350,000 years ago, and as recently as 10,000 years ago. Geothermal activity still abounds in the area, evidenced by numerous sulphuric springs which drew thousands of tourists and health-seekers in the early 1900s.
Archaelogists have found evidence that native people, principally Pomo and Wappo, began inhabiting the area more than 11,000 years ago. An essential part of Pomo spirituality, Mt Konocti remains sacred to their present-day descendants.
The name "Konocti" has mysterious origins. In one Pomo language, Konocti means "big rock". But the most favored translation is "Mountain Woman" from the Pomo word "Knoktai" of which "Kno" means"mountain" and "Hatai" means "woman." To many, the mountain shape appears as a reclining woman.
Though European settlers attempted to change Mt. Konocti's name to "Uncle Sam Mountain" in 1854, the original name has endured.
Mount Konocti's surface - which rises to 4,300 feet - varies with elevation and exposure. The south slope of the mountain is covered with 12 square miles of black obsidian. At the bottom of the North Face, the Black Forest - a dense forest of Douglas fir once slated for cutting - has successfully been preserved, while magnificent oak trees date back more than 500 years. Four peaks comprise the top - Wright Peak, South Peak, Buckingham Peak and Howard Peak. A California Department of Fire (CDF) tower sits atop Wright Peak, offering stupendous views.
The first homesteader's cabin on the mountain, built in 1903 by pioneering woman Mary Downen, still stands. The cabin remains is situated on the edge of a beautiful meadow, surrounded by ancient, towering maul oaks - some more than 500 years old.
The grave of her son, Euvelle Howard, rests 200 yards away, his epitaph chiseled onto a boulder.
The Mountain's Presence
It is possible to view Mt. Konocti's own weather system create wispy clouds, high winds or winter snow flurries. Changes in barometric pressure cause gusts of air to move in and out of the mountain's volcanic vents. Though some locals believe huge catacombs exist within, only small caves have been found. The Pomos have handed down stories of throwing sticks into Mt. Konocti's crater, and later finding them floating in the lake.
We now have the chance to preserve this very special place, unlike any other. You can become a part of this momentous project by making a tax-deductible donation now . . .