HOBO JUNGLE – SEASIDE PARK
In the early 1900’s, my great grandfather E.P. Foster envisioned a miniature Golden Gate Park for the area above the Ventura River Mouth. He planted hundreds of trees all over Seaside Park, but particularly close together on the north side of the river. My first experience of Hobo Jungle was in 1961, in eighth grade, while surfing close by. A group of us were having fun on the beach and decided to trek into the dense forest. We heard ominous tales of Hobo Jungle, and were a bit reluctant to proceed. Once inside, I recall how eerie it was due to the impenetrable canopy overhead. It didn’t take long before we decided to get back on the beach.
Today, only a handful of living trees remain. In August, 2012, during a senseless act, the tall Palm Trees were set on fire with the fire department responding and cutting them down to put out the blaze. Similar to Two Trees with one dead but still standing, Hobo Jungle retains not only a number of dead and upright trees, but also the fallen remnants of past glory, existing like exposed collateral within a confined museum. Their classic remains, however, validate my efforts towards photographic documentation.
I’ve invested countless hours and about 50 visits to Hobo Jungle since 2007. I’ve had close calls with passing trains, as well as a near altercation with a volatile transient at dawn. A special eco system exists where any river meets the sea. Becoming more aware of my family’s history as it relates to Hobo Jungle makes it very special to me. A special thanks to Sarah Kalvin bringing this to fruition.