Bike Ride, Fort Ord, Fort Ord Dunes State Park, Fort Ord Monument, Let's Go Outdoors, Marina, Marina Equestrian Center, Presidio of Monterey, Warhorse

3rd Annual Fort Ord Warhorse Day – Marina Equestrian Center


On Saturday May 18th, my husband and I loaded our bikes on to the back of our car and headed over the hill to Marina for the 3rd Annual Fort Ord Warhorse Day an event we found listed in the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District’s Let’s Go Outdoors Spring and Summer catalog, and presented by Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse.  Honestly we didn’t know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised to find so much history, “hidden in plain sight,” not to mention plenty of family friendly outdoor activities.

Our day began with the Defense Language Institute
 Color Guard’s presentation of the Colors,

Reveille called by Michael Georgariou
of Boy Scout Troop 187,

and the National Anthem sung by Sarah Mitchel 
with accompaniment
 by the Defense Language Institute
Joint Services Brass Ensemble.

Friends of the Ford Ord Warhorse 

Friends of the Ford Ord Warhorse is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the recognition and preservation of the history of the Fort Ord Army warhorses and soldiers, for the educational and cultural enrichment of the Monterey Peninsula, its visitors, and the nation.” Margaret Davis, Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse

One of the purposes of Warhorse Day and FFOW is to educate the public about the rich history in the buildings surrounding the Marina Equestrian Center, the preservation of this history in the form of a living-history museum on the property and protection of the interconnecting trails that run from Fort Ord Dunes State Park on the beach to the inland trails of the Fort Ord National Monument

History 76th Field Artillery 


The 18th Cavalry was first organized on June 6, 1917.  On November 11th they became the 76th Field Artillery Regiment assigned to the Third Division and were sent to France in May of 1918.  The 76th saw their first fire fight on July 5th near Chateau-Thierry, on July 15, 1918, they were instrumental in the defeat of the Germans in the Champagne-Marne Defensive and continued to serve well through the Armistice on November 11, 1918, finally returning home, to Camp Pike, Arkansas, the following August.


From Arkansas, the second battalion of the 76th was moved to the Presidio of Monterey in 1922 where they remained until 1940.  During the unit’s first few years at the Presidio they built the horse stables, the last of which remain, are located across from the Presidio Museum.


“On August 4, 1917, the U.S. War Department purchased 15,609.5 acres of land from the David Jacks Corporation to be used as a training area and firing range for the infantry, cavalry, and field artillery units stationed at the Presidio of Monterey. 


This acquisition, today known as the East Garrison area, was then called Gigling Reservation, named after a German immigrant family that had lived on the land.”(1)

In 1933 the Army renamed Gigling Reservation, Camp Ord, after Maj. Gen. E.O.C Ord a Civil War commander.  Much of these 15,000 plus acres consisted of manzanita scrub brush and sand. In 1938 improvements on the land began with the building of administrative buildings, barracks, mess halls, a sewage treatment plant and tent pads. 


On July 1, 1940, the War Department activated the 7th Infantry Division under Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell to a tent city at Camp Ord (later called East Garrison), while they built a more permanent post known as Camp Clayton (the present Dunes shopping center) and Camp Pacific on the coast.  The second battalion of the 76thField Artillery (horse drawn) unit stationed at the Presidio of Monterey became the first unit of this new division. Their 1,400 horses were kept in temporary corrals at the tent encampment, until their stables were completed. 

On August 15, 1940 Camp Ord, Clayton, Pacific and other nearby camps combined and were redesignated Fort Ord.  By the end of the year, For Ord had 1,098 buildings finished or in progress.  

Historic Ford Ord Station
 Horse Veterinary Hospital 


Work on a $2,731,000 construction project at Camp Clayton in Fort Ord…is one-third complete…The contractors expected to begin work in a week or two on another $3,500,000 construction project at the fort.  This development will include 146 barracks, 34 company storehouses, 23 company messhalls, 33 company recreation rooms…commanding officers’ quarters, veterinary hospital…” Oakland Tribune Friday October 11, 1940

The first buildings ready for the 76th Field Artillery Unit were twenty-one stables, a blacksmith, and saddler shop.  The soldiers moved their horses from the temporary corrals into their permanent homes along 4th Avenue running south from 8th Street. These structures were torn down in 2011. Next the soldiers moved into their own barracks near 1st Avenue and Divarty Street December 1940, many of which were demolished in June 2009.

On January 30, 1941 the veterinary hospital (presently the Marina Equestrian Center) was completed. This hospital would care for the horses of the 7th Field Artillery, the 68th Quartermaster Pack Troop (horses and mules), and the 107th Cavalry (horse-mechanized) unit that came to Fort Ord in December of 1941 to defend the West Coast from a Japanese invasion.

The six buildings of this veterinary hospital are the only intact buildings from the Fort Ord warhorse era, and the only Series 700 WWII Mobilization Type Station Veterinary Hospital of its kind left in the United States, these buildings have been “hidden in plain sight” for 70 years. 

The Annual Warhorse Day’s give us the opportunity to explore these living-history buildings, and  fascinating “Flash Museum,” set up in the T-3140 C-5 Veterinary Clinic building by the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Preservation Group.  A permanent museum of this sort at the Marina Equestrian Center, possibly in this building, is one of the goals of the Friends of the Ford Ord Warhorse. 

If you missed the annual warhorse event you may take a self-guided tour of the six buildings that comprise the U.S. Army Veterinary Hospital at the current Marina Equestrian sight by using this informative flyer from Friends of the Fort Ord Warhorse. 

“When people learn that the army was building infrastructure for horses and mules in WWII they are startled.  We know that the cavalry and horse drawn munitions and pack mules were used in the Civil War and WWI but when did this actually end?  Where was the last stand of the U.S. Warhorse?  The answer is right here the buildings of the present day Marina Equestrian Center lining 5th Avenue and in front of you are the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital a WWII Army Hospital for horses and mules.   It was completed in January 1941.  In the 1930’s there was a heated debate whether  the U.S. Army should continue with horse or convert entirely to motor vehicles – horses have advantages.  Number one they are the ultimate all terrain vehicle and we saw them being used in Afghanistan in 2001. The Marines at Bridgeport are using horses to this day.  The army built 12 of these station veterinary hospitals in the mobilization era 1940 – 1941, Fort Ord is the only one left and it is complete, all six buildings.” Margaret Davis 3rd Annual Warhorse Day  

Our morning at the 3rd Annual Warhorse Day was filled with patriotic, family friendly, educational activities.  My husband and I had one hour before our “Loop de Fort Ord” bike ride sponsored by Monterey Off Road Cycling Association which was scheduled to leave promptly at 11:15AM.  
We had the opportunity to meet Sgt. Allan MacDonald, one of the last surviving horse cavalrymen, at 89 years young who still wears his uniform sharply as living history lesson lest we ever forget this era.

Sgt. MacDonald’s chest is covered with medals, including two Purple Hearts (Admiralty Islands and Korea) and a Bronze Star for action in the Admiralty Islands. 
Here is our quick run through of the museum and the surrounding exhibits.  

Before we leave we wonder if lunch might be in order, that chow line looks and smells mighty inviting, thank you Marina Volunteer Firefighters Association  – but burgers, hot dogs, and army beans – better wait until after our 11 mile ride.  


Photos*Color Photos
– Marina Equestrian Center originally C-5 Veterinary Clinic building T-3140 – Photo taken 2008 by Greg Krenzelok – Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2.
– Last remaining Cavalry and Artillery horse stables at the Presidio, located across from the Presidio of Monterey Museum – Photo taken 2010 by Greg Krenzelok
– Building T-3140, T-3142, T-3143 – Photo taken 2008 by Greg Krenzelok

*Black and White Photos
– 76th Field Artillery Battery “D” passing in review Presidio of Monterey 1920’s – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
-76th Field Artillery Battery “D” detail section Presidio of Monterey 1939 – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
-76th Field Artillery on maneuvers at Camp Gigling – DLIFLC and POM Archives.
– 1939 tent camp on cement platforms – Harold E. Raugh, Jr., Images of America Fort Ord (Arcadia Publishing, 2004), 17.

All photos without * taken by L. A. Momboisse at the 3rd Annual Warhorse Day May 18, 2013.

Fort Ord War Horse Day In Marina – video by Elizeth Labega
3rd Annual Warhorse Day Fort Ord Living History – video by L. A. Momboisse
Warhorse Day Bike Ride Fort Ord 2013 – video by L. A. Momboisse 

(1) Harold E. Raugh, Jr., Images of America Fort Ord (Arcdia Publishing, 2004),  7.
Garland Park, Garzas Canyon, Hike,, Let's Go Outdoors, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, Walking Tour Carmel

Garzas Canyon – Focus on Wildflowers Hike – Let’s Go Outdoors

One of the best kept secrets for getting outdoors is the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park Districts Let’s Go Outdoors! hikes.  I say it is one of the best kept secrets because the usual cast of characters shows up for each hike.  Not that I don’t enjoy their company, we have developed quite a nice camaraderie, but I also think it is nice to share.  

The Garzas Canyon Focus on Flowers would be my fifth Let’s Go Outdoors activity since moving to the area in June of 2012.

To reach our starting point, coming from Carmel on Carmel Valley Road, pass the main entrance and Visitor Center for Garland Park, turn right onto Boronda Road.  This cuts through a lovely grove of eucalyptus trees  (shown in the picture at the top) and over a one lane bridge.  Turn left onto East Garzas Road.

There is ample parking on the outside of the trail.  The trail map above shows our hike outlined in yellow. And just as a side note, there are over 50 miles of trails in Garland Park and we are only walking 3 1/2 miles of them. 

Our hike was to have been led by Michael Mitchell, a MPRPD volunteer naturalist and co-author with Rod M. Yeager, MD of Wildflowers of Garland Ranch – a field Guide.   Apparently this was prerequisite reading, because many of my fellow hikers showed up with this text already in hand. Not to worry, I still have time to catch up for next time – I purchased my text on the way home at Griggs Nursery.  Anyway back to the hike…

At the last minute Mr. Mitchell was unable to join us so our hike was led by Gordon, with assists from
Paulette and Rick.  Paulette is very knowledgeable about the trails of Garland Park and quite good at flower identification.  Rick is very knowledgeable about birds (he can speak their language) local history, and  entertains us with his captivating stories of local flora and fauna.  He also can mimic a mountain lion which got all of our hearts pounding. 

Gordon, who is quite young at 88, amazed us all, not only with his ability to identify even the tiniest of wildflowers, but with his amazing stamina on a clearly strenuous (at least I thought it was) 3 1/2 mile hike with a number of steep climbs both up and down. 

Off we set on an early Saturday morning in late March. Before getting behind the fence to begin our hike, I had to ask the identity of a vine which I had spend the majority of the previous day removing from my garden.  It had appeared almost overnight and invaded our yard so thoroughly it was even reaching up and pulling the Acacia limbs down to the ground. 
The answer, an aggressive vine called Wild Cucumber, or Man-root because the roots of this plant can become almost as large as a man.  Looks like I will be pulling this out of our yard next year.

Next Gordon pointed out Poison Oak cautioning us not to touch this because 95% of the population is allergic to the oils on this plant (even when green).  Gordon, assuring us that he is one of the 5%, gently plucked a leaf from the plant and popped it into his mouth.  When asked what it tasted like, he deadpanned, “poison oak.” And with that we were off on our hike.
In the open field Gordon points out
the tiny white Popcorn Flower
(which I was never able to find),
purple Sky Lupine 
and Meconella the petals of which
alternate in color, cream and yellow.
We leave the open field and the habitat
quickly changes as we begin
our assent through the oaks. 
Gordon leads the way, naming plants
that prior to today, I am sorry to admit,
 I considered nothing more than weeds.
Take this patch for instance
after an hour on the trail I am actually
able to spot the
Padre Shooting Star
(upper left, mid right)
and Parry’s Larkspur (dark blue one
next to the purple one).  A flower that ends
in “spur” means that it has petals that
grow together and form a long
 “spur” (point) at the end.
  Gordon  navigates our hike by using the
carefully placed trail markers.

We continue on Garzas Canyon Trail
looking for the gate to Terrace Trail.
No horses on this trail, but dogs are allowed.
Terrace Trail crosses East Ridge and we stop (finally)
for a water break at the top of Redwood Canyon.
Rick, our bird docent, points out two
 Red-tailed Hawks
soaring effortlessly high above us engaging
in what apparently is a courtship dance.
 But no time to lollygag Gordon gets
 us back on our feet.
 We are on our way to find
 the fields of Indian Warrior.

Not to be confused with
Indian Paintbrush which we saw earlier.
 Our hike continues, at a rather rapid steep decent,
 into Redwood Canyon as
 we follow the Las Garzas Creek,
traversing back and forth over four
seasonally available wooden foot bridges.
We will follow the
tranquil Las Garzas Creek
 to the gate connecting to Garzas Canyon Trail,
and through the open field (where we began).
With my new found
ability to identify wildflowers I spy 
California Goldenfields, I think.
As a novice, I am open to correction.

I never did see the elusive Popcorn Flower
(thank goodness for Wikipedia).
I highly recommend Let’s Go Outdoors! Unless the popularity would mean that I am unable to join in the fun. Or maybe the popularity will lead to more hikes and more adventures. 

I have put together a pdf list of the wildflowers we saw on our hike and when possible have matched the name with a photo.  This exercise has encouraged me to take off on my own…stay tuned for there is so much of God’s Green Earth to discover.   Pax.

Photos – L.A. Momboisse 2013