La Tuna Canyon reposes in the foothills about fifteen minutes east of the I-5 on Pasadena Freeway I-210. It is one of the landmarks I pass every month. It has personal significance for being a place name of special interest to a very special cat, and also because it’s the halfway point on my road trips between Castro Valley and Phoenix.
Given that this curiously named canyon lies about thirty miles northeast on a shortest-distance line to the Pacific, between San Fernando and Angeles National Forest, I was always puzzled by the ‘Tuna’ place name. The Spanish-English dictionary says the English translation for ‘Tuna’ is also ‘Tuna.’ Possibly there was an old cannery here at one time? No, it makes no sense to truck a tuna catch so far from the ocean up several hundred feet of elevation gain. There’s a local ‘La Tuna’ park up there, but I still never found my answer in Google searches. So the name remained a mystery for a couple of years.
On a PBS special Wonders of the West – Sonoran Desert tonight, an expert on native food preparation was showing us how to prepare the traditional fruit of the Prickly Pear. That fruit is called a Tuna.
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