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by Richard Tryce an early resident

The Lost Miners of Coal Mine Ridge

The historical records of Portola Valley confirm that the original Indian inhabitants of the Peninsula believed there were ghostly spirits in the mountains. This area has a mystical history and heritage. And so it was after the earthquake of 1906. The earth fell in on the coal mine on Coal Mine Ridge. Waters covered what was the mine. The resulting lake is West of the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Vista Verde Way. And for children and adults with open minds and spirit, the plaintive call of the trapped miners can be heard carried in the soft winds of October. Be still, listen hard, and don’t be afraid. 

The Indian Princess

There were two Indian tribes separated by the mountains between Palo Alto on the Bay and Pescadero on the coast. There were bad feelings between the two tribes. And so it was that the beautiful Indian princess of the Palo Alto tribe and the strong handsome Indian prince of the Pescadero tribe were forbidden by their Chieftain fathers from seeing each other. Alas, they were so in love. But their passion and love were so strong that they could not be held apart. Secretly, they arranged to be together at a hidden place between the Bay and the coast – – that place was under a big bay tree which still stands on the crest of Coal Mine Ridge near what is now Joaquin Road and Old Spanish Trail. It was there that stolen moments together could keep love alive. But one day, the Indian prince was not there at the appointed time. The princess was beside herself with worry and heartbreak. Faithful to her promise and love, the Indian princess returned to their meeting place again and again at the big bay tree. One day the princess did not return to her tribe in Palo Alto, causing her family great concern. It was then that her sister revealed the love story of the princess and the prince. To this day it is said that, if you look just the right way, the shadow of the embracing lovers can be seen at sunset during the summer under the gently protective branches of the big bay tree by Joaquin Road.