Summer Progresses

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Sometimes being up a beautiful canyon, four miles from the nearest neighbor, had a down side. One day in mid-June, around 1:00, I had a phone call from Frank Walden saying that Maureen had seen five motorcycles going up our road past their place. I locked the doors and called Bob when I could hear them. My being upset got Rebecca upset and that wasn’t a good thing. I later chastised myself for showing my nervousness. They didn’t go past us but perhaps had gone up the old road and gotten above some way. I called Maureen and she said they hadn’t come down. Around six Bob called from Big Bar and said that five people were loading motorcycles into a truck at Big Bar. They must have had trouble with one because of it taking so long for them to return to the highway. It was raining a little and not really good for riding.

In town again for a couple of days, Bob brought home his five-year anniversary pin (with the phone company) and the matching necklace for me. I started sawing plywood to make a stove for Rebecca. Bob dug all the dirt off the top of the septic tank. I took the children and went to the Laundromat. Washed all the towels from the Weaverville house. We headed back to the ranch that evening and ate dinner at Big Bar at the Towne’s restaurant. The children seemed happy to be back there, rolling down the lawn and playing on the porch.

Rebecca was reading now and I noted that she seemed really tired and I was going to have to limit her to just two books in bed at naptime and at bedtime. “She is really such a pleasure most of the time—is getting an occasional insight, has a clever sense of humor.” Jeff was starting to supply the final word of lines of several songs and of the Hop on Pop book. He was also beginning to put two words together at a time like “daddy’s shoe”.

I was reading a book called “Death at an Early Age” about African American ghetto schools in Boston.

We moved a treadle sewing machine out to the ranch and I was able to do some sewing with it. Nice to be able to do that without starting up the generator.

The children liked to coast down the slope of the lawn on the kiddie car and a little Playschool wagon.
One day while they were napping I painted the window frame on the fenced porch as well as the doorframe. We used a quick-drying latex paint on the floors and I’d paint the floors off and on during the summer.

There was a maple tree along the road below the barn, that leaned out at almost a right angle, that Rebecca liked to climb. We’d walk down the road so she could do that and I’d coax Jeff to walk back.

One morning Rebecca helped me make a pineapple upside-down cake. It looked and smelled so good after we baked it that we each had a small piece. And had another piece with lunch and more with dinner that night. “Jeffrey calls it an up-down cake.”

To celebrate Gilda and Sandy Sanders’ 25th wedding anniversary there was a gathering at Cedar Stock Resort. We took the children to Florence and Leonard’s so we could attend.

Bob worked on the ceiling in the addition the next day and I got chard and more raspberries from Florence. Froze some of the berries and took some out to the ranch. Grasshoppers and leaf-hoppers were chewing away on the cucumbers and other vegetables in our garden.

One evening, after work, we all went to Colleen’s so I could purchase a dress. I don’t remember this or the occasion for which it was purchased but I was trying to be sure I got something Bob would like. “It’s bright yellow with a shocking pink trim and white daisies’– about three on the front and one on each sleeve, with pink centers. About ¾ length sleeves. Very bright! I had a preconceived idea of something more of a white or blue sheath, which this definitely wasn’t but also want to wear clothes Bob likes. I buy so few dresses I’m not really sure how his taste runs—he was making much more conservative choices till he saw this one. Anyhow, I’m happy to have it.”

During a 3-hour children’s nap I made a half recipe of fudge, weeded in the garden, hauled some 2 x 4s up from the barn so I could fix a prop for the peach tree, cut a lot more grass around the edge of the lawn, took down the laundry. I’d called Trinity Gas that morning and they said they’d bring gas the next day—not exactly willingly. Bob usually called before he left town but didn’t that day. Our phone had gone out. After naps the children played in the small plastic pool. Jeff “practically rolled” in the water –“had more fun!”

We started having our morning snacks out on the back porch in a patch of sun. The children would eat and talk. I read and talked. “Very pleasant”.

The phone was working again and that evening Bob called and said he had a chance to get a load of wood for free out at Minersville so ate in town, drove out to get the wood, and called at nine to say he was on his way home.

On the 4th of July, before the parade, we bought (50 cents) a big, yellow, helium-filled balloon from the Boy Scouts for Rebecca, her first (my first too!) and tied it around her wrist. She loved it. Then, after short naps, we went out to Canyon Creek for a family gathering that included the Hurds, Vernon and Ruth Ryan, and Nancy and David Adrian and their children.

Back in town that Sunday afternoon I took Rebecca to see the movie Dr. Doolittle. It was too long for her and had too much singing but otherwise was ok. “She consumed more goodies than I should have allowed but she was tired and also restless.”

The next weekend we were back in town again. Moon Lee was having a party and, sitting on our porch drinking iced tea, I recognized Leonard’s voice and a laugh that was familiar but that I couldn’t place. The Lees lived right across the street from us, on a small hill.

In town the following weekend, Bob had begun digging a ditch for the sewer line from the house. One morning I vacuumed white sheetrock dust from his work on the ceiling in the addition while the children watched Captain Kangaroo. After lunch the next day I helped with digging the ditch. about six feet, 18 inches deep. “It’s very hard work and I’m quite tired tonight.” The ditch was completed though from the septic tank down to where a backhoe could reach it. This was when we were still planning on an easement from our neighbors, but a week later they informed us that they weren’t giving us an easement.

“Rebecca was going to sleep outside tonight in her tent. I took her sleeping bag out and flashlight. About five minutes later, here she came, lugging the whole works—she’d changed her mind. Maybe she can nap out there tomorrow just to get used to the idea.”

In mid-July I built a tree house in the apple tree nearest the generator shed. “Made a wooden ladder to get to the first platform and made another platform above that. It took a long time and by the end of the day I was screeching at Rebecca and had bruised my thumbs from hitting them with a hammer. My own fault I guess for starting it with my limited carpentry abilities but it’s pretty nice now. Rebecca had no nap and was anxious to play in it so we fought over property rights. “

The next day I was working on some boards for fences around the little trees. I was getting nails from on the back porch and Rebecca stepped over the ladders we used like fencing along the edge of that porch. I yelled, “Don’t go over there” but she did anyway, tripped and fell off the edge about eight feet. I ran around to where she’d landed, mostly on rocks, and she was lying on her back screaming. It knocked the wind out of her, and she had abrasions on one shoulder blade, her lower back and her head. After she lay on the couch for awhile she complained about her stomach, so of course I had visions of internal injuries. I thought it was probably fright and having the wind knocked out of her but figured I should call the doctor just in case. I dialed the number and the phone went dead. So we drove to Big Bar where I called again. Reassured (Dr. B. said that the worst thing to do if it had been internal injuries was going on our rough road—thanks doc) but by the time we got home she seemed suspiciously healthy.

July 21st we went out to Coffee Creek to Alice and Horace’s delightful cabin. That was fun –with Florence and Leonard, Alice and Horace, and several cousins. There was a shallow area in the creek where the children could play. Leonard caught fish so we had fish with dinner the second night. We cleaned up after dinner and came home where we watched “the men step on the moon and the rock-collecting events. Fascinating –looked as if they were jumping in water—slow motion. “

Several Trinity County residents were interviewed by the Trinity Journal about their reactions to the moon landing.
Robert Morris: “The basic principles used in the moon landing have been around since Newton formulated the basic laws of mechanical motion, but the technology required to do this job is extremely recent. Without the digital computer, we’d never have gotten off the ground, and all the other technologies involved are very recent. I think that probably the most important thing that has been demonstrated by this accomplishment is the crucial requirements of meticulous planning and reliability of systems. We’ve never had this kind of reliability in any technological system before and we’ve learned a lot about achieving reliability in all kinds of technological systems now.”

Bob was happy because someone was being transferred from Victorville to help him at work. He has been swamped.

Summer 1969 continued

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Reading these journal entries and looking back on our life then, from where I am now, all these years later, is a bit like being my own grandparent. Sometimes I think, really? You said that? Or you thought that? Why didn’t you……? And once in awhile—Good for you! As a couple we were at a stage where we were still sorting things out about life—what was important to each of us, what was important to us as a couple—and we had two children, two homes, and not enough time or money. In some ways all of these issues continue through one’s life but gaining maturity gives us more strength to deal with it, to weigh things with fewer distractions.

Bob had originally planned to live in the Bay Area and immerse himself in the science for which he had trained. With a background in electrical engineering and experience with some of the first laser technology he would probably have been quite successful. But he had such a strong bond with Trinity County that he also wanted to live there. I’d been raised in state parks and had a major in wildlife conservation so Trinity County was perfect for me, and my fondness for the outdoors. All those roads taken and not taken combined to bring us together and into a complex relationship, not only with each other but also with the land that we both loved.
The streams and rivers were high that year due to snowmelt.
Late in April Rebecca and I walked over to the bog and collected some frog eggs to watch turning into tadpoles and then frogs.

Another day I noticed, from the upper end of the meadow, a very sweet, strong smell drifting up and finally tracked it to a large madrone fully in bloom.

Rebecca and I were delighted to discover that we could get books from the elementary school library. So we started getting books downtown AND from the elementary school. I also started taking her to nursery school to see how she would like it and to give her more interactions with other children.
I was still looking into employment possibilities and interviewed for a job at Junction City School but didn’t get it. One day I subbed for Marne Wilkins in the high school library. Jan Hooper watched the children.

I needed to make an exhibit for the museum “in my capacity as Natural Sciences chairman” and wrote to the Sierra Club in Arcata and to Humboldt State asking whether they had information about plants used by Native Americans. This was long before the days of Google!

La Grange Cabin: Florence invited us to a potluck picnic at the cabin on the La Grange Ditch. I made a salad, carrying Jeff in the pack in the process because he wouldn’t let me put him down, and we drove up on Weaver Bally. “It’s small and has dove-tail corners just like the house at the ranch. Hal and Dorothy Goodyear went too and the men measured the building. They’re hoping to move it down to the museum. The La Grange Ditch used to run right under it. Many maples around. Quite dark. We sat on the ground near the cars and ate. Drove back to Weaverville and went to the museum to look over a possible site.” When we got home Jeff had a temperature of 101. No wonder he’d been fussy.

Mid-May: “This morning I saw a small (about 13 inches) garter snake, with yellow stripes, swallowing a toad that appeared to have a body length of about 1 ½ inches. The snake had just the head in its mouth when I spotted it in the driveway, right beside the truck. I got my camera and Bob and Rebecca came along to see it. We watched while the snake continued to swallow, apparently elongating the toad. Finally, after about ten minutes the feet of the toad disappeared into the snake’s mouth. With the toad about 1/3 of the way down its body the snake glided off and went into a small hole, where it remained. This took some doing as the spot where the toad was stuck some.”

A trip to Seattle: In late May we drove to Seattle, via Scott Mt. and Callahan. Stayed in Ashland the first night. They were building a new indoor theater for the Shakespeare Festival. We spent two nights in Nehalem with my parents

and then went to stay with my eldest brother and family in Seattle. We went on a ferryboat ride one day

and that afternoon Rebecca and Jeff had their first escalator ride. The next day we all, including my brother and family, went to Bellevue and visited a college friend and her family (Nancy Piper Garing and husband John). This was followed by a trip to the zoo. That Saturday we drove to the N. Cascades and took a hike to where we could see Glacier Peak on the way in. Very lush growth. Rebecca walked the entire way, two miles.

Back at the house Rebecca and Dana took blankets, pillows, books and flashlights and fixed up a “campsite” behind the furnace. Rebecca’s favorite part of the whole trip.

On the way home we left the freeway at Eugene and, in Oakridge, ate sandwiches that Jan had fixed for us, along with milkshakes that we purchased. We stayed overnight in Chemult and the next day drove through Crater Lake and then home. Saw an antelope near Doris. When we got gas in Redding the starter wouldn’t work so we had to get a push.

Jeff was trying hard to talk, pointing to things, wanting to know their name. He was rapidly learning new words.

On the 9th of June we still didn’t have the washing machine out at the ranch yet because we hadn’t officially moved so I washed some diapers there with the scrub board. Frank Walden told us “hippies” had been packing off things from summer homes from Big Bar to Corral Bottom. He wanted to put in a gate down by his place so people couldn’t get up behind him.

Our neighbors in town decided to not let us have an easement to run a pipe across their property to join the town sewerage system. They were willing, though, to give us a corner of land plus an edge behind the garage where the roof overlapped their boundary in exchange for a survey and $250.

Moon Lee and Cal Pacific were apparently much closer to an agreement on Cal Pacific taking over the water system, which would eventually lead to our being on a town system and not using the ditch for our water. Dr. Polka and the health department were involved.

On Rebecca’s birthday I made a Smokey the Bear cake. Cheryl helped out some at the party. Guests were Jenni Hooper, Nancy Van Duyn and Scotty Field. The children made crowns, unwrapped presents and ate. Peanut butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, carrot sticks and cool aide, then cake and ice-cream.

Bob went to Victorville for a week as part of his job. I drove to Redding with the children and picked up Tigger (the cat) from the animal hospital where he’d been left the day before to get neutered. We then went out to the ranch. When I went to show Rebecca the baby robins, pulling down a branch of the maple tree, the only remaining baby flew out of the nest, while the parents had hysterics. I chased him and put him back in the nest but by evening he’d gone.

Question from Rebecca one evening at bedtime, after having gotten up numerous times: “If I had two noses, would I smell with one and breathe out of the other?” Around 4 a.m. I’d brought Jeffrey downstairs to get him a drink of water and discovered “the largest scorpion I’ve ever seen crawling across the floor between the stove and the sink—3.5 to 4 inches long. I put Jeff in the rocking chair and killed it with the edge of the flyswatter.”

The next day we walked up to the bathtub settling tank (carried Jeff most of the way) drained and cleaned it. The children played in the little creek near the tub. Came back and I opened the valve below the house to drain all the muddy water out. While the children were napping I cut two chunks of wood into stove wood and kindling; cut grass around the raspberries; cleaned out the irrigation ditch in the orchard; cut grass in and around the driveway.

That Friday we went back into town and in late afternoon drove to Redding to pick Bob up at the airport. While backing out of the driveway I remembered I hadn’t combed my hair (was dressed up and even wearing heels). I got out of the car, leaving both children there, hurried into the house and into the bathroom. Then I heard Rebecca scream and, looking out the window, saw the front of the VW disappearing. I raced through the kitchen and out the back door and got to the car just as it came to a stop against a row of rocks that kept it from rolling down into the trees. I comforted Rebecca (who fortunately hadn’t tried to get out the door I’d left open) moved the car, turned it off after putting it in gear and firmly set the brake. Shaking, I went briefly back into the house before we left.

On Sunday, after dinner, Bob had to go up on Oregon Mt. because of problems from a thunderstorm and didn’t get home until midnight. For Father’s Day he got the book “On the Loose” and a hairbrush.

Our rather frantic lifestyle was beginning to get to Bob. I was terribly busy with small children and trying to keep two houses relatively clean and tidy but I didn’t have a required daily commute and a fulltime job outside the home (s) to deal with. In mid-June he was “again quite discouraged about trying to keep up two places and the driving involved. He has even mentioned temporarily abandoning or even selling the ranch. Sure hope we can work on a compromise of some sort. I understand, I think, but am so fond of the ranch and living out here in the summer. But the drive back and forth every day must be tiring and he has things he wants to do get done in town. He had some inventions in mind and the addition was going to include a large table with plugs all around it for electronics. ) I love the isolation out here and the chance to walk in a beautiful spot even though tied down by household things.”

Wetland Wander

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Interesting wetland wander this morning thanks to Willamette Resources & Educational Network (WREN). I haven’t been on one of these monthly excursions in a long time. About 15 of us met at East Kirk Pond, near Fern Ridge Reservoir. Our guides were Wes Messenger, Willamette Valley Project botanist and Aaron Conich, Wildlife Technician with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Wes gave a background of the the geology of the area from ice age to the present and explained how vernal pools are perched on material washed down from the Montana floods as well as ash from Mt. Mazama (think Crater Lake). He told us about native Americans burning periodically to keep plants like ash trees from encroaching on the prairies so that plants they used, such as camas, could continue to thrive and he identified some of the plants growing nearby.

Aaron’s explanation of the life of Western Pond Turtles was what I found of greatest interest. These turtles nest on land along the upland prairies as well as spending time in the water. They have a lot of competition from an invasive species, the Slider Turtle, that also nests in these places. Sliders can lay eggs several times a year while the Pond Turtle usually nests just once a year. And the Sliders lay more eggs each time. Predators of both include raccoons, foxes, coyotes, and skunks. We viewed one tiny pond in a nesting area that was surrounded by an electric fence to help discourage predators. He showed us the remains of one Slider nest that included some bits of egg shell, spongy and more like snake and lizard eggs. Pond turtle eggs are bit more like chicken eggs in texture but both turtles’ eggs are quite small.

We were very lucky that Aaron had found an active nest just a couple of days ago. It now has a wire enclosure over it that has holes big enough for a tiny turtle to escape if it wanted to. A stainless-steel tag is numbered and attached. The enclosure is firmly attached to the ground. I asked about the hardness of the earth and he said that the female gorges on water and then urinates on the ground to soften it so that she can dig with her strong feet. She digs a tiny hole, about the diameter of a 50-cent piece and lays about four eggs, stacked. She then scoops up some of the wet earth and makes a rounded plug to plug up the hole. The evidence of there being a nest is the plug plus what little grass that is there being matted down in the shape of the bottom of her shell. The babies don’t hatch until next spring! I was surprised at that. Then they make their way to the water. A very fine-mesh screen covers the top of the cage to keep raccoons from putting their agile paws down to pull the plug. When Aaron finds a nest he pulls the plug, checks the eggs–without removing them–to see which kind of turtle is the parent–and then replaces the plug with one moistened by water from one of the ponds.

As with some other kinds of turtles, the temperature of the ground at a certain time during the incubation period determines the sex of the turtle. A cooler temperature yields males and a warmer one females. Because they are stacked, the top layer may be slightly warmer or cooler than the bottom layer. Ongoing studies are being done throughout the Willamette Valley and citizens can contribute to the information by signing up with INaturalist and reporting sightings.

January to May 1969

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Late 1968 and early 1969 seemed to be all about snow, transportation and young children. We had a lot of snow that winter. And, with young children there are colds and other illnesses. I wrote of being depressed during early January due to being confined to the house with either the children or myself being ill or unable to get out because of snow, or both. That eased as the snow melted but just when the driveway cleared it would snow again. Finally, in early February, we were able to get both vehicles in and out of the driveway, which gave me more flexibility.

Occasionally Mary Ann Fields and I would get together to talk, mostly about teaching our eldest children to read, and Rebecca and Scotty seemed to play well together. Our younger children were too young for interacting much.

When the weather wasn’t bad I tried to make use of going to buy groceries by walking downtown, carrying Jeff in the pack. We’d try to ride back home with Bob when he came home for lunch. This trip would include a stop to look at the ducks at Bob and Alan Young’s place and usually time for a snack at Varney’s and/or a trip to the library. I was taking care of Kathleen Morris from 2-5 every day after school. She and Rebecca usually got along fairly well. I tried to have some kind of craft project they could work on or cookies to decorate—something to keep both of them busy. When the weather got better we’d often go to the park.

Sometimes Bob had to go to the top of one mountain or another to work on phone company equipment. Going up Long’s Peak (out near the lake) included riding a skidoo to get there. He was still interested in the school board and attending their meetings. Now and then he had to go to Garberville for a couple of days. And once he had to go to Victorville for most of a week. Rebecca was enchanted by his packing process and “helped” him put things in the suitcase. Later she took a cardboard box and carefully folded up doll clothes to pack in it. She said she was going to New York.

Dave Ohde was showing a movie to interested people called “The Medium is the Message” based on Marshall McCluhan’s book. It implied that the way we send and receive information is more important than the information itself. Actually, when the book came out, there was a typo so it read “The Medium is the Massage”. McCluhan liked that and kept it. I think Dave also showed it to some of his high school classes.

My nephew, Nick Twight, had heart surgery and Alice and Horace Jones took care of his brother and sister for two weeks so the parents could be with him. Alice asked whether I could help out for two days so I took them one day each week of the two weeks they were in Weaverville. I made cookie dough the night before so cookies could be cut out and decorated. The first day, everyone made valentines in the morning. In the afternoon they rolled out the dough, cut and decorated. “I’m too hovery–would have been better if I’d gone out of the room and stayed out. But they couldn’t get their cookies from the table to the cookie sheet by themselves; Jeffrey was screaming in his bed; crumbs were all over the floor; I got crabby. Then they all went outside and played for awhile. When they came in they had hot chocolate and cookies. Alice and Horace came for them at 4:30. The two children were quite a pair—bright, quick, aggressive. Jessica loves dressing up. Cedric put together a puzzle 3 or 4 times as quickly as I could have. I’m really tired.” Alice said Nick was doing better than expected and would be able to go home sooner. The second day that I had the Twight children we went to Varney’s and the library. Afterwards we went home and I cut out crowns for them to decorate and wear. Hotdogs for lunch. The two boys took naps, the two girls talked. After naps I put up card tables and blankets for a house.

I was involved with trying to get information out about the damage that would be caused by the proposed Dos Rios Dam and wrote several articles for the Trinity Journal. The first one was on anadromous fish. I did some research and also consulted with John T. from the California Fish & Game so I could be sure my information was correct. This came out in two separate issues of the Journal. I began working on a second article in mid-February—this one on deer migration. Researched deer browse, talked on the phone to Burt K., Marvin H., and Gene G. about deer browse. Took the kids with me over to the U.S.F.S. to get a paper on deer browse.

In mid-February Bob hooked the washbasin, shower and laundry tray to one line, running plastic pipe out across the garden. That left only the sink and toilet going into the septic tank. He had to leave the sink on because the only vent went up from the sink line. Then he put lime where the leech line leaked. He also said there was a lot of water just standing under the house–drainage from the rain and snow running off the bank behind the house. That was going to require a ditch across the yard with a drain. I was up about five times that night with coughing children.

February 23rd—Bob went downriver and walked to the ranch from above Walden’s. There were lots of slides and the creek had washed around one end of the bridge. Up at the house, the generator wouldn’t start nor would the tractor. The roadwork needed will cost four or five- hundred dollars. “He is very discouraged. I am too because I feel more than ever that I should try to get work next year.” We have so many areas where we need to spend money—“I hate to see Bob get too involved in lots of back-breaking type physical work when he can do so much more with his hands and mind.” A few days later Bob decided he could do the roadwork with the tractor but would take most of the summer. I made some phone calls to ask about teaching jobs for fall. There were some for upper grades at Big Bar and Lewiston but I wasn’t qualified for that. At the same time, I really wanted to have a third child.

Feb. 26th – Bob and I stayed up until nearly midnight working on a letter to Reagan. He wrote and I typed. (I’m assuming this was about Dos Rios dam.)

I’d almost forgotten about Mounty Mt. Lion. Some controversy arose locally about the whether mountain lions should be eliminated or not and I decided to leap into the fray by anonymously becoming Mounty Mt. Lion. Various letters to the editor were exchanged. My most articulate responder was a mouse. That was fun!

At a Historical Society meeting we went to (Dr. Amesbury spoke on Ishi), my entry and another from a lawyer who lived in San Francisco, tied for the title of the newsletter—Trinity Trails.
“Cat got into the meatloaf while I was gone.”

As the weather improved the children played outside more. Jeff would go to the door every chance he had and squeal to be let outside. I worked on cleaning up some branches from a tree Bob had cut down, raking pine needles and cones and hauling them in the wheelbarrow down to the road where they could be more easily loaded into the truck. Bob finished putting the wiring in the addition. One day the children and I rode out to Riordan’s so Florence could take some pictures of the lake with snow around it. Jeff wouldn’t go near Thelma or her mother but went right to Clint.
Bob had gone to Garberville for a few days. I put in some insulation in the addition.

The U.S. Forest Service told us they wanted to make a jeep road on our side of Little French Creek to do some surveying for a road in Big French Creek. They planned ro log up around the Upper Ranch within the next few years and wanted to haul the logs out Big French Creek. “I don’t mind the logging as much as I do the access created for people to come in around us.” Bob hoped he might be able to get them to do some roadwork in the process.

One day, while we were eating lunch in the car on the way to the ranch, Rebecca looked up at the sky and said, “The clouds have big blue blankets.” Jeff was learning to say a few words—Daddy (Adee) and Bye-Bye. He loved to be read to and if Bob came in late, close to bedtime, he’d grab a book and take it to his father.

One evening, after Bob got off work, we rushed out to the ranch. We could drive all the way to the house by then. Scoot Miller’s cat was parked out there. The children ran around the house looking at their possessions—In two minutes Rebecca bounced her ball, pedaled her trike and swung on the swing. “It was so nice to be at the ranch again. Many deer in the meadow, Eagle Rock covered with snow, grass growing green, trees budding.” We ate dinner at Big Bar.

Easter Sunday I hurried outside, after having the sunlight wake me up, and hid eggs. Put slippers on the children and went outside with them to enjoy the hunt in the wet grass. Bob stayed in bed to sleep. Rebecca’s stuffed animal was a little donkey while Jeff’s was a rabbit. A little later we all went over to Florence and Leonard’s for another egg hunt with cousins. In the afternoon we worked on the addition.

I covered a packing box with contact paper to make a small closet for Rebecca.

Ironing was often mentioned in my journal—it seemed ongoing and constant along with doing laundry. So glad it is a rare occurrence now!

Bob didn’t get elected to the school board. He was disappointed and I was for him but “in many ways it’s a relief. He is involved in many things already and is so conscientious he’d probably work his head off.. Today he got some of the results by districts, which was heartening. He came in 3rd in Weaverville, 1st in Big Bar. “

In mid-April we drove out to the ranch. Redbud and dogwood were just starting to bloom. The peach and pear trees were blooming. Two apple trees had fat flower buds. At Prairie Creek the gooseberry bushes had small berries but at the ranch they were still in flower. Bob walked up the hill with Jeff in the pack to the boundary but Rebecca and I turned back and spent some time watching ants carrying tiny bits of dirt from their hole, putting it down, and going back for more. A week later when we were out there all the apple trees were in bloom. And on that weekend Bob worked on the tractor and generator getting them both in working order. He gave Rebecca a ride on the tractor from the orchard to the barn.

One evening we let Rebecca stay up to watch Cinderella on TV (black and white). “She loved it. When the fairy godmother appeared she asked (hopefully and wistfully and I thought it was so sweet) “Mommy, do I have a fairy godmother?”

November & December 1968

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Child rearing is a learn-while-doing enterprise. Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you don’t. If you’re lucky you have books that help, or even better, helpful older friends or relatives.

Reading this now is a reminder of how little sleep one gets with small children. Many nights had interrupted sleep and mornings were early. Plus parents get many of the colds that their children manage to come down with. There were sometimes a few perks to that interrupted sleep stuff. Once when I was up in the middle of the night with one of the children I saw a striped skunk on the front porch moving back and forth with its nose to the concrete.

Rebecca, looking at a tall pine tree, decided that if she could climb to the top she could probably touch the sky. She had a generally cheerful disposition but was very insistent on doing things herself, including opening heavy doors at the post office.
Sometimes she wore the little pack that I made for her to carry her dolls, or whatever. She usually carried “Friend”, a red-haired, soft, stuffed doll that someone had given Jeff when he was born but that we had decided she needed more than he did at the time. Reading the journals I can see that I’m writing about Rebecca a lot more than about her brother but she was mobile and talking while he had just begun to move around on his own. And I can also see that the first child just naturally gets more coverage—everything is new for the parents. Do parents of five children say “Oh, yes, George (child number 5) started walking last year some time?”

The Ranch
Vernon Ryan called to tell us the insurance company would no longer cover the ranch in case of fire.

Time Goes By
Aunt May (Florence’s aunt) died on the 23rd. The hospital called to tell us at 11:30 p.m. because they’d not been able to reach Florence and Leonard who were out of town. They were back shortly. She was 86. I remembered a story Aunt May had told me about going to her woodbox one time and, when she opened the lid, finding a rattlesnake. She ran back into the house, got a teakettle of boiling water and killed it. Her funeral was the first I’d ever been to. I decided I didn’t want an open casket at my funeral. (I just read Aunt May’s obituary in a binder of newspaper clippings from the past that I’ve saved and I read that she had two children who died at 6 years old and 18 months from measles and whooping cough, which might be of interest to anyone involved in the current controversy over vaccines.)

Thanksgiving dinner was at Florence and Leonard’s. Afterwards everyone had places to go so Florence washed the dishes and I dried. I’m assuming Bob and Leonard watched the children. Afterwards, when we got to our house, we realized the doors were locked and neither of us had a key. We went into the addition and there was a window into the kitchen (that used to be to the outdoors). Bob opened it and lowered Rebecca down between the freezer and the refrigerator. He gave her a flashlight and she made her way into the living room to let us in the front door.

One of my notes mentioned that we had too many presents to give and not enough money so I tried to make some of the Christmas gifts. I sanded and painted left over wooden blocks from the addition, sometimes going out into the garage to paint them after the children were in bed. I also made a jumper for Rebecca and a matching one for her doll.


Florence and Leonard brought over a few things of Aunt May’s for us including Sudworth’s book, which I was delighted to have. The book, “Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope”, was published in 1908 and is a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service publication by George B. Sudworth, Dendrologist. At the time it could be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents in Washington D.C. for 60 cents. Gifford Pinchot was Forester then. Aunt May’s signature is neatly written in the front, Clara M. Richards, Lewiston, Calif. Today I still think this is one of the best tree books that exists. Sudworth explains that Dr. C. Hart Merriam was very helpful in establishing distributions.

The illustrations are quite wonderful and the each species has detailed descriptions about where they may be found. For instance, in the case of the Weeping or Brewer’s Spruce: he names the parts Oregon where it was found at the time—east end of Chetco Range in Josephine county between 4,000 and 5,000 feet Sucker Creek and high mountain tops south of Rogue River (north slope of the Siskiyous). He is equally detailed about Trinity County locations, including head of Canyon Creek and others.

Also between the pages of the book was a leaflet from Better Homes and Gardens, dated 1933, entitled How to Identify the Evergreens. And a note on page 165 by the Macnab Cypress where it’s written in pencil “Between Shasta and Whiskey Town”. At that time it was a rare tree. Not sure now. It makes me wish I’d known Aunt May better. Why did she get that book? What was her interest?

This was the first of a planned 4 volumes—the others were to be Rocky Mountains, then southern states and finally northern states.

One evening Florence and Leonard came over to babysit while we went to see the movie “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” with Sydney Portier and Audrey Hepburn. We sat with Doris and afterwards went to her house for coffee, cake and conversation. “A very enjoyable evening”.

Bob left on Dec. 12th to go to San Francisco to see a Professor Linsley at Stanford about desalinization. I don’t remember what this desalinization event was all about but think he was probably thinking of some kind of invention. He brought home a book on butterflies for me, a little red, white and yellow Stanford owl for Rebecca and a stuffed Santa for Jeff.

One evening at the Ohde’s, Doris and I had a long discussion about raising children. “with world affairs as they are now and our own brink of “race war” condition. She feels that our children will have to pick up the pieces and that we must work hard to teach them to judge others and events only on the basis of their own knowledge and not to be led by a persuasive speaker, etc.”

We went to a school board meeting and came home reeking of cigarette smoke.

December 17th I took the children to Jan Hooper’s and substituted at the high school—study hall all day (I’m sure that was not fun!). That plus coffee, plus being up too late the night before left me exhausted. Rebecca seemed to have had a good time but Jeff apparently spent the day looking for me. I also subbed two half-days the previous week.

And There Was Snow
Florence walked through about a foot of snow to our house all the way from her house to watch the kids. I took the truck to get chains put on the rear wheels, got a haircut, bought some groceries, got chains put on the front wheels and came home. Later I took the children to the doctor—both were on the verge of tonsillitis so we got prescriptions.

On another night we invited Florence and Leonard, Alice and Horace, Peter and Angenett, the Wilkins, Herb Upham, the Ohdes, and Dixon and Heather Jones, to our house. The Ohdes walked all the way from their house as did Alice and Horace– who stayed only an hour and then walked home to take care of grandchildren so Peter and Angenett could come. As Ohdes were leaving the lights went out. Peter, Angenett, Dixon and Heather stayed for a little more wine punch and cookies and listened to Bob play his banjo.

With no power for heat or lights we moved the children into the living room and had to wake up often enough to keep the fire going in the fireplace. Still no electricity the next day and around 11:00 our water stopped. Bob went up to the reservoir to try to start the syphon. I started briquettes going in the broiler (?) and we were able to have hot coffee and soup for lunch, after a cold breakfast. By now there was two feet of snow in Redding and some roofs there had collapsed.

The next day Bob went down to Austin’s and borrowed their little generator to recharge our refrigerator and freezer. That night (Christmas Eve) we cooked hamburgers in the fireplace with a hand grill. Rebecca slept on the couch again—Jeff in a porta-crib– and somehow Santa filled stockings and distributed presents without disturbing anyone. About 7:00 a.m. that morning all the lights went on.

My mother always made handmade Christmas cards, printed from linoleum block prints that she designed and printed herself. She had so much artistic talent! I’m including one of them in this article. I have copies of many of them and someday hope to share.

Dec. 26th—Peter and Bob went up to the reservoir and by 11:00 a.m. we had water!

We had filled the laundry tray with water when the water had started running low and I forgot about it. The washing machine drained into the laundry tray and the forgotten water ended up all over the floor and into the kitchen where a lot of it ran under the freezer (which was set into a hole in the floor) and then to the ground.

On the 27th we got Janet Anderson to babysit and we went to the Joneses and watched the special programs on the astronauts’ trip—10 times around the moon. “The pictures of the earth were really something—not like a globe with supports at both ends—just a shining ball against a a black background. We had coffee and dessert and Bob and Peter argued “reality versus meaning” until midnight. Lots of fun.”

Fall Harvest

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October continued in much the same way as had September but with perhaps a greater sense of urgency since we didn’t know exactly when we’d be moving from the ranch back into town. Bob worked on his second article for the Trinity Historical Society publication. I continued to harvest a few things from the garden—green beans, cabbage. And we had many apples, which we’d give away to people who came to visit or take into town.

Florence gave Rebecca’s kitten (Tigger) a wicker basket house and made a little soft, brightly colored bed for inside.

On October 21st we went to a meeting at the CD Hall where Hazel Wilburn and Al Wilkins as well as Dick Wilson and Joe Paul (from Trout Unlimited) spoke opposing the Dos Rios Dam. There were about 135 people there. The general mood was No Dams for Trinity County. Those opposing didn’t speak up. Many questions were asked from the floor. There were several sports writers there. “Trinity County will form a similar group and there will be a steering committee of members from both sides.” (‘In 1967, the US Army Corps of Engineers unveiled a proposal to construct the largest dam and reservoir project in California’s history: the so-called “Dos Rios Dam” on the Middle Fork of the Eel. In addition to being 730-feet-high, the dam would have flooded a 40,000-acre area for its reservoir, equal in size to the Shasta and Oroville reservoirs combined. This proposal was brought about due to flooding in 1964-65 and to Los Angeles’ need for more water. Among other things.

Richard Wilson was a wealthy Republican who owned a ranch in Round Valley. The flooding of Round Valley would also have meant that the Native American tribe there would have had to be relocated. The tribe teamed up with environmentalists and Wilson to fight the proposal. Eventually it was vetoed by Ronald Reagan). For still another possible pending water grab see–?sba=AAS)
Back at the ranch, mornings were usually clear at six but by seven it was foggy. “As the fog clears and the sun rises the colors of the foliage are brilliant. The English walnut is bright yellow now and the peach and pear trees various shades of orange . The Virginia creeper on the porch is a deep red.”

One day Rebecca and I saw an owl in the maple tree behind the house. I thought it was probably a sawwhet owl, about robin size with white spots on the wings. It was about 15 feet above the ground and was hard to see because it looked so much like the leaves and branches. It stayed for about 15 minutes and then flew when I went under the tree to try to take a picture.

There was always rockwork to do in spare moments, or painting window trim, or chopping some wood, or picking apples. Florence brought Eleanor Asplin out one afternoon when she came to take some fall color photos. Leonard, Rupert Asplin and Vernon Ryan had gone hunting. Some weekends Bob would be busy with phone calls about various phone problems.

One evening when Bob brought home a big stack of mail from town there was a copy of a Ranger Rick Magazine that had a short article I’d written. I was pleased, even though it looked a lot different than what I’d originally written.

After naps on October 29th, Rebecca and I worked on turning a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Bob had called earlier saying he had to stay in Garberville that night. “Rebecca was most interested, and helped pull out seeds and fiber and put chunks I set aside in a pan for pie. “

We had the washing machine in the “cellar” space under the porch and if it rained and I was doing laundry, it meant running down the bank to the machine and back up through the wet.

November 1st: “Did 3 batches of laundry, running up and down through the rain. Cut some wood this morning for the heating stove (3 wheelbarrows with Rebecca riding)) and more this afternoon. Dug up all the carrots I could find. Finished hauling and stacking the last load of wood as it began to rain. Cold—temperature stayed around 45 degrees. Made 3 baby food jars of tomato preserves. Cooked venison stew and a tongue. Folded one batch of clothes. Put them away and bathed the children before Bob got home. “

The next day, a Saturday, Bob was busy getting things ready for winter: tractor, generator, lawn mower, etc. We’d had a heavy rainstorm the night before. Coyotes were barking and calling on the hill after lunch. I packed a lot of things in the afternoon. The next day we moved into town. Bob and Rebecca went back out to the ranch with the store truck to get the washing machine.

November 6th— Bob and Jim Barrett and a man from Redding rode up Weaver Bally on horseback to do some survey work for the microwave. It was about seven o’clock when they got back and they rode in the dark for about an hour.

Nixon got re-elected. This was back when we were both Republicans. When I moved to Oregon I changed to the Democratic party. “Nixon had 187 vote lead in the electoral college but both he and Humphrey had 43 percent of the popular vote with Nixon barely a few thousand ahead. “

I had to turn down a substituting job in Lewiston because I couldn’t find a sitter.

A few days later we spent an hour or so letting the children ride on Daphne while we took pictures with plans to put one of the photos on our Christmas card. That Sunday we drove to the ranch, stopping on the way to look at the Pattison place where William Wilshire Pattison was buried. Bob had borrowed a polaroid camera from Pat and Dick Hamilton and took some pictures of the headstone. “It’s really pretty—marble with the base covered with moss and the top in four scallops, each with a different print. Above the inscription is a miner’s pick and shovel, on another side a crown, etc. We ate lunch at the ranch and about one o’clock the Goodyears came up with their pickup. I’d started defrosting the refrigerator and was cleaning some but left that to pick apples with them. Finished a little after 3:00 o’clock. Bob stayed in the house most of the time, working on the biography for the article. After the Goodyears—Dorothy, Hal, Elsie, Gail and Jan–had toured the house they left and we left shortly afterward, eating at Big Bar.

One evening, while Bob was working on a post for the gate at the ranch, working at the high school, I took the children over to Florence and Leonard’s and put the kids to bed. Florence and I stirred up ingredients for mincemeat (including apples from the ranch). I peeled, cored and cut apples while Florence ground the meat and apples.

Bob and Harley Lowden went to Mad River two different days. The kids and I went downtown on November 14th –library and other errands—and it started snowing fine, powder snow on the way back. I gave a ride to a woman and her son who were who were walking up the hill. That afternoon I swept the snow off the plastic, that Bob had put over the porch cement, about every half hour and typed a few more pages of Bob’s article. Rebecca and I made chocolate chip cookies. Doris and I decided to not go to Redding to hear Ansel Adams speak. It was snowing clear down to Redding. (I don’t remember that we were going to hear Ansel Adams speak! Too bad it snowed.)

Florence brought up seven quarts of mincemeat. I took the children outside to try to play in the snow but it was very cold. I filled some glasses with water and showed Rebecca how to tap them with a spoon to make music. She put food color in the water.

Dick’s VW was stolen from behind the store and a few days later was found in Yreka with a flat tire.

Bob went to Earnest Duncan’s funeral. He said someone sang Red River Valley and Ghost Riders in the Sky. “I’m glad I didn’t go because that would really have shaken me up.” I always think of Earnest with a handful of roses for Marlene Towne at the restaurant or the night he came into our house at Big Flat, barely standing, after hunting for his cows up on Manzanita Ridge in the snow. He got a lot of enjoyment out of life.”

Early Fall 1968

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When I last wrote about life at the “ranch” we had just returned from a 7-day horse packing trip into the New River area. After picking up the children we spent the night at the house in town and the next day headed for the ranch, stopping to see Florence and Leonard briefly on the way. Florence was washing and drying horse blankets. Took Rebecca to ride Topsy and Daphne for a few minutes before we left. She seemed very nervous—I think our absence was hard on her.

We went out to the ranch where I did several batches of laundry. We picked green beans and squash from the garden and apples from the orchard to take with us the next day as we headed for Nehalem, Oregon to see my parents. I left most of the children’s things packed as Barbara had washed them all. On our way to Oregon we ate dinner in Yreka and stayed overnight in Ashland. We went to Lithia Park to feed ducks and geese before going to the motel and stopped by there the next morning as well.

My parent’s house in Nehalem was yellow and two-storied. It looked old and had peeling paint but then coastal weather is hard on the outside of a house. Inside it was quite nice. They owned six lots up on a ridge with a view of the ocean and a river in the distance and a good view of Neahkahnie Mountains, steep peaks along the ocean. Their yard once had masses of blackberries but they’d done a big clearance job. There were lots of elderberries, maples, ferns and a shore pine, and spruce as well as some small holly trees. The kitchen was long and narrow but quite pleasant with doors to the garage, a half bath and the cellar. The living room had large windows in one corner and a fireplace. Upstairs were three bedrooms and a bathroom. They used one of the bedrooms as a utility room. The first day that we went to the beach was cool and foggy but we enjoyed it–Rebecca picked up everything in sight and brought it home, sand and all.

My mother didn’t pass her driver’s test when they moved there and they seemed kind of isolated but happy enough. The next day, at another park, we walked where there were several shallow caves and a waterfall. Later we ate lunch on the sand where both children ended up with sand in all their food but didn’t seem to mind. The third day I came down with the children’s cold. While the others took our car to get it lubed my mother and I went down into the basement, brought up some scraps of wood and built a fire. That Saturday we left. I voiced concern in my notes for living so far from them, not being able to check on them now and then.

We drove on Highway 22 and near Sisters Rebecca saw her first rainbow. It was a brilliant one with a more faded second one above it. We passed a lot of ranches that made us want to buy them. After eating dinner in Crescent we drove on to Chemult where we spent the night. It was noisy with lots of trucks and a train.

Sunday we drove through Crater Lake—cloudy, cold and some rain. There was snow and ice on the road. We stopped at park headquarters for a few minutes where Bob took pictures of some buildings and the microwave set-up while Rebecca and I ran up and down the road. We ate lunch in Jacksonville and visited the museum. They turned their old courthouse into a museum and it had lots of room. Rebecca didn’t seem to get bored—we kept moving and also there were lots of dolls and toys displayed. We ran though the Siskiyou County Museum and got to Weaverville about 9:30.

The next morning Bob got called in to work on the budget. I took clothes and children over to Florence & Leonard’s and washed a couple of batches of laundry. Bought groceries, mowed the lawn. We stayed overnight in town. Tuesday I took Rebecca to the library, did some shopping and went to the ranch where I unpacked, comforted children a lot and picked vegetables. The days continued pretty much in this fashion with berry picking—elderberries– making jelly, chopping wood. Bob was spending some work days tromping around on Weaver Bally looking for a good micro-wave site. It was getting colder at night and I began covering the tomato plants. Both chimneys had screens clogged with creosote that Bob cleaned off. In the warm, Indian Summer afternoons I picked and wrapped apples for when we would move back into town. Weaverville had three heavy frosts but we were still ok.

At the town house Bob dug up some azalea and rhododendron bushes by the back door where he wanted to put a porch. The Ohdes gave us a little kitten, gray with white bib and feet, that Rebecca named Tigger.

October 1st: “Jeffrey has been climbing onto Rebecca’s rocking chair the last few days. He gets up and down for 20 minutes at a time, sometimes sitting and rocking for a minute. It’s quite a struggle and sometimes he gets one leg caught and needs help. It drives Rebecca nuts because he ‘s having so much fun with her chair. She’ll sit in it even though she doesn’t really want to, just to keep him out. She is still quite nervous. Haven’t been able to calm her down since our pack trip.”

One day I tried to find the trail that goes around the point to Big French Creek. I found it but all the approaches seemed to be narrow deer trails that Rebecca couldn’t negotiate. We went up on our ridge and sat and talked, looking across at the house through the red poison oak leaves. The mountain on the other side of Little French Creek was beautiful that morning—“deep blue with just the tops of some of the taller firs catching the sunlight. Yellow leaves of maples on this side crisp against the dark. ” That day I picked some apples and made two quarts of applesauce, which I froze, and one pint of apple juice. Did some rockwork. Picked lettuce for salad and made sauce from some of our tomatoes. Rebecca took a new book to bed with her that night.

A few days later we were in Weaverville. Bob flew to Mad River and got back late. I took the truck over to the sand and gravel place and picked up a ton of gravel, brought it back to the house and unloaded it. Took the truck back and got the car and bought groceries. After lunch I got another ton of sand and redwood board for a mudsill. Out at the ranch that weekend Bob worked on the generator and I did laundry. We both did rockwork in the afternoon and he put in a mudsill. I picked the rest of the tomatoes. I’d gotten up at 3 a.m. the night before to build a fire in the big stove.

A couple of days later Bob stayed in town overnight to get an early start on going to Mad River. He was really late getting back and I began to worry about him and made a few phone calls. No one thought he’d be staying in Mad River. Bob got home about 11:30 p.m. He had a fawn in the truck. It was this year’s fawn but had lost its spots. It had a large gash in its left rear leg, very deep. He took the 22 and went down the road with poor animal but by the time he got to where he was going to stop it had already died. He had found it at the foot of the clay slide on this side of our creek.

Friends from the Bay Area came and stayed overnight (Ted and Betsy Lewis and children). Bob, Ted and Ned got in some fishing at the river and then the next day in Canyon Creek before they had to head back home. It was cold with some snow in the rain. Made my first green tomato pie. It was good—kind of like mincemeat. On nice days I’d take the children up into the meadow beyond the orchard because the house was mostly in the shade in the mornings now. Afternoons were pleasant out on the lawn.

Bob went to Mad River on a Monday and stayed overnight. That day, after lunch, the children and I played and read out on the lawn. Jeffrey would climb up on the porch with much effort, walk around for a while and then get off the porch by falling off. Tuesday evening Bob called to say he had to stay in Mad River one more night. I put the last of the gas in the generator.

The next day the children and I drove to Big Bar and had coffee and snacks at Towne’s restaurant. Went across the street to get a few groceries and gas for the generator. Stopped at Bill Jackson’s old place at Prairie Creek and picked some wild grapes on the way home. Also picked up a few rocks along the road to take home for the foundation.

“It was really exciting to have Bob home again after three days and two nights with just the three of us. Rebecca kept up a constant stream of chatter with him until I put her to bed.”

On one of our mid-October walks we found mushrooms at the edge of the woods, pushing up through the pine needles. I rolled a little log over and we found a salamander, about three inches long with yellow legs and tip of the tail, and large bulging eyes. After Rebecca held it we put it back and replaced the log. We looked under many other logs but found no more salamanders. Under one small, rotting log we found carpenter ants and their eggs and a gray scorpion. We came home along the opposite side of the creek and crossed after picking a bunch of wild grapes for Rebecca to nibble on. Jeff was asleep in the pack by then. We found the house full of smoke. The screen on the chimney of the heating stove was plugged again.

New River Part III

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Friday–Today we started out at about 10:00 for Thompson Peak. Florence, Leonard and Vernon took Topsy, Ginger, and Chollo down near the Moliter Mine (about six miles) to go fishing.


Bob and I hiked up the meadow and began to follow ducks and flags zigzagging up through a rockslide. About half an hour later we could look down and see three backpackers coming up towards the falls below us. It was fairly cool today with high, thin clouds and haze in the morning.

We arrived at the lake about 11:30. It’s really pretty—irregular shoreline with Thompson Peak behind and the snowfield glacier right beneath it. Talus slopes to the right and left of the snowfield. Smooth, polished rock around the edges. We immediately set about cleaning up a little before continuing. The water was very cold but refreshing. One interesting thing about the lake was the millions of tiny, red shrimp (I think) in the shallows. Whether they were further out or not I don’t know. There were some on us after ducking into the water and they were in our cup of water.

Jumping across the mouth of the lake, we went around to the other end. The distance between the lake and the waterfall is about 15 feet. We ate lunch at the other end, sitting in a small parch of grass in the shade of a little hemlock. I forgot to mention that there were a number of weeping spruces along the mouth of the lake and we also saw a couple down near camp.

After a large drink of water we began winding up the talus slides. About half way up the ridge we looked back and saw the backpackers at the lake. Later we found out that they had come a much harder way, closer to the falls. We got to the ridge after crossing several damp places with monkey flowers, gentians and penstemons blooming and came to a place that was flat and gravelly. We picked our way up the ridge skirting large boulders, mountain hemlocks and pines, foxtail maybe? We stayed too high, really, going up the edge and had to do some boulder scrambling. Coming back we stayed low.

We went up and down a couple of chimneys coming and going. Finally got to the top. It was hazy but we could see Mt. Shasta to the north and could look down on Grizzly Lake and the glacier to the east (?). Big crevasses in the glacier. Grizzly Lake is shaped somewhat like a big foot. To the south we could look down into Canyon Creek Lakes. Took some pictures and headed down. Talked a few minutes with the three boys at the lake. They were from San Jose and had come in from Cecilville in Siskiyou County. They wanted to know what kinds of jobs were available for a college graduate in Weaverville. They were hoping to climb the face of Thompson Peak.

At around 6:00 we were back at camp. The others hadn’t arrived yet so I started a fire and Bob turned the dogs and the horses loose. The dogs had been left at camp to allow their sore feet to heal. About then the other three came back. Freckles (one of the dogs) was so happy to see Florence that he went over and sat up beside her horse. Fish for dinner that night and brook trout that Leonard had caught for breakfast the next morning.

This may be Potato Mt. from earlier in the trip

South end of Devil’s Backbone

Saturday—Florence and I started walking with Topsy this morning. She said that, after having ridden Topsy yesterday, there was no way to make the horse go faster. Made me feel a lot better about riding her because I was beginning to feel guilty about not keeping up! We walked about three miles and got through the worst of the rocks and steepness. We met four backpackers on the way. The rest of our group caught up with us and soon we were all riding again. We ran into some yellow jackets and Topsy stumbled and nearly fell while running from them.

Adjusting a pack–kind of dark photo

We followed a ditch grade for a long time and looking across the creek could see the piles of rocks left from mining (like the dredging rocks) but these had been hand-placed by the Chinese. The trail today was either level or downhill a good part of the way and Topsy trotted to keep up. So I spent most of the day bouncing.

We stopped for lunch at Mr. Jorstad’s place. He has a log cabin along the trail, which he and a friend (who was with him today) built 40 years ago. The porch and inside floor are large square blocks of wood, with dirt between. There is a loft for sleeping. Outside he has a camp for summer staying with a wooden cupboard, stove, tent, wooden bed (which he made), wooden (pole) swing, swinging couches and a table. Water is piped across the N. Fork to the edge of the camp. A donkey is in the corral. We shared our orange juice and cookies with him and his friend and they talked about the mineral survey being done in the area and his mining, etc. He showed us a small bottle of gold. He’s a small man, thin, balding, nice smile. Quiet way of talking and speaks well.

We went on, Florence and I walking across a couple of bad stretches above the creek and got to Hobo Gulch about 5:15. The boys and trucks were there and, after the horses and saddles were loaded, we drove about 15 miles downhill to reach the highway. Got to Weaverville around 8:00, unloaded horses and went up to Ryan’s to eat. We rode 22 miles on the horses today. I rode Milkshake the last mile and discovered that riding needn’t be all bouncy. He has a rough walk but a very smooth pace.

We picked up the children at Austin’s around 11:00. They both seemed glad to see us even through their sleepiness. We enjoyed looking at them and listening to Rebecca talk—after a week it was like seeing them freshly and newly.

New River, Part 2

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Wednesday—continued—We left camp at 9:00 and rode to Marysville, which was established in 1885 and abandoned, I think, in 1913. There was a Marysville Hotel run by people whose daughter, Mary, is buried there. Nothing there now but myrtle (a groundcover with shiny green leaves and purple flowers) growing among the brush, and old logs and rocks, which were part of the foundation as well as old cans, pieces of iron stove, and bits of pottery. Florence found an old broken red, poker chip and we found an iron lampshade (small, which I brought along). We also found an old piece of rocking chair and the head of a bed.

Then we rode on to White Rock, which was fair-sized compared to Marysville I guess. Here were a number of cabin sites, caved-in cellars, etc. Many old rusted cans and lots of broken bottles. People had done lots of building there. There was even an oven door with a porcelain handle.

We then rode to the Boomer Mine but were unable to see the boomer because of the huge slide in Slide Creek, which has grown to eliminate the trail. Tremendously deep gulch there in the narrow canyon, several hundred feet deep. This was mined by the people who lived at New River City (Old Denny), which we next visited.

At New River City we drank water from a mossy spring—nearly muddied by Sport (Vernon’s dog), who loves water. Then we wandered around. One old cabin remains, another has recently burned. One cellar was carefully rocked in with layers of rocks, those in the corners overlapping smoothly with the walls. I found a tiny bottle with a broken top in the brush.

We went back to Mary Blaine, then up a steep climb all past the Cinnabar Mine, which we’d passed on the way down only on the opposite side. There was an old retort (like a big concrete stove), old cabin and a little shack with chairs in it, and two wheelbarrows. We ate lunch about 1:30 at Mary Blaine, put the packs on, and left at 3:00. We rode right across the top of that big slide that goes up above the Boomer Mine on a narrow little trail. When we came to Election Camp we found a note from Alice and Horace, which they’d left there Sunday when they hiked through. (My notes don’t say where they’d hiked from).

After a big Indian massacre at Lake City in 1864, all the people of the New River area had moved over into Siskiyou County. They didn’t want to lose their vote so they came to this camp to vote—about 300 miners.

We got off the trail a little but soon were going right again. We rode and rode –rocks, brush, timber—and a beautiful view always of Pony Mountain, Cabin Peak, Wedding Cake, and Thompson Peak. The others saw a bear once (I might have been behind on my fat horse!). We finally arrived at a cut over area about 6:30—clear cut and a mess. A wide road led through it. We entered through a hillside meadow full of cattle and they followed us for some distance, calves getting separated from mothers. One calf still had its umbilical cord. Reunions were loud and prolonged.

We found a place to camp off the road a way on the trail to Grizzly. When the horses were turned loose Target headed for the top of the hill and had to be chased. Camp was made in the dark and dinner, drinks and dishes done in the dark also. Two boys came hiking down from Grizzly on their way out. We covered about 17 miles. This may have been the camp where I remember having my highball and sprawling on my sleeping bag to be awakened by Bob telling me I needed to help fix dinner. What a day! I wouldn’t have believed a person could get so tired and sore by riding a horse or see so much beautiful country.

Thursday– We broke camp slowly this morning because our stove was so small and it took a long time to cook hotcakes. We went through one downhill stretch, which was kind of tough because of Topsy’s sway—made me seasick. But our trip kept giving us beautiful views of the Thompson Peak country. We ate lunch at a camp on Grizzly Creek about a mile above the Molieter Mine junction. Lots of large firs, ponderosa (Jeffrey?) pines today and some large incense cedar. The ground cover is thimbleberries and twin berries with the latter having bright orange color.

Just after we started up the hill this morning Florence’s cinch slipped on Milkshake (sometimes people traded off on horses) and the saddle slid way back. It was on steep switchbacks and she really had to work to keep the horse still and get the saddle fixed. We arrived at Grizzly Meadow about 3:30. Tall, jagged cliffs with remains of glaciers up at the top, a thin waterfall dropping down from Grizzly Lake in front of the further cliffs. Bob and I will go there tomorrow. Our camp is at the lower end of the meadow right beside the creek. There is another camp in the trees at the other end, toward the cliffs.

The dogs have such sore feet they can hardly walk. There’s a Douglas squirrel scurrying around just above our sleeping bags.

New River Part I

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The next few stories are going to be about our horse trip into the New River area so I hope my readers enjoy camping trips in the mountains. I’m mostly just copying my journal and re-living the trip in the process. I have slides but most aren’t labeled so I’ll be putting them in randomly. Maybe someone will recognize different places. Unlike my traveling companions I had no experience with horses. I was assigned a gentle horse who hadn’t been ridden much in recent years and probably needed to lose some weight but she wasn’t going to be a discipline problem. It turned out that she had a bad habit though. She would lag behind the others and then trot to catch up. I think Bob took most of the pictures.

We left the children with Barbara and Jim Austen and on September 1st Leonard, Florence, Vernon and I rode in the truck pulling a trailer. Ginger, Ed, and Daphne were in the truck and Topsy and Cholla in the trailer. Bob followed in our jeep, pulling Milkshake and Target in a trailer. When we got to Salyer, Bob, Dave and Chuck weren’t behind us so Leonard and Vernon went back and found them near Mary Carpenter’s—a trailer wheel had sheared bolts and nearly come off—5 more minutes and it would have been off. Bill Jackson had a trailer available so they went to get it. Florence and I stayed at the Salyer store.

We finally got started again only to have the fuel pump on the big truck lose a pin. Bob got it fixed and about a quarter mile further it happened again. We ate lunch at Grizzly Camp and weren’t on the trail until quarter to four. On the trail Vernon went first on Cholla, leading Target; Leonard on Ginger, leading Daphne; Florence on Ed, me on Topsy and Bob on Milkshake. Beautiful country: large Douglas fir, red fir, bracken, and hazel nut bushes. We stopped at 5:30 at Lipp’s Camp. Tall firs around a little green meadow. There was a rocked-in spring which we reached by dropping a bucket with a rope. Steak for dinner—tender and delicious. There was an old miner’s lean-to cabin nearby.

Monday we left camp at 9:45. It was a beautiful trail today. We went through forests of very large Douglas fir, some 8-10 feet in diameter. This was quite alpine appearing country—green meadows, cone-shaped red fir, with branches clear to the ground. We also ran across a couple of hornets’ nests and the horses got skittery. I really had to hold onto Topsy’s saddle horn! We ate lunch at a little stream; sat on a log alongside, about half a mile before Eight Mile Creek. We had to stop several times to re-arrange packs.

Along the way we passed several jeep roads leading to mining claims and also had to lead the horses across a large slide area. There were elderberries and dogwood with berries along the trail. At one spot Bob said he thought we could see the ocean off to the west. At another we could see Mt. Shasta and could look down on a little pond, partially filled with weeds. A large pond, where we watered the horses, had many water dogs (rough-skinned newts).

We stopped about 6:00 o’clock at Summit Mine and set up camp right by the trail. Vegetation was brush and fir. There was trouble with Milkshake. Both he and Target have a crush on Ginger and Milkshake got so tangled around a tree trying to follow her that they had to cut the rope.

This camp has a lot of old iron parts for mining equipment that were hauled in by horses or mules, including the remains of a ball mill. The spring here is small, about 200 feet from camp and comes from an old mine shaft, which has partially caved in. Florence and Leonard said that when they were here 15 years ago there was a cabin here and some men working.

I was really tired from lack of sleep and had sore muscles. My knees got especially stiff (Topsy was quite round).

Tuesday, after lunch, Target and Daphne had to be re-packed. We were sitting on a rocky point that had cedar, Douglas fir, knobcone pine, ponderosa pine and sugar pine on it. There were lots of small, brightly colored rocks with shades of green from yellow to dark. Much of the trail that morning was narrow with loose shale and steep mountainside above and below. There was a metallic clinking of hoofs and clatter of small rocks bouncing down the hill. It was nerve wracking. We also had to watch for holes in the trail. There were a couple of tricky crossings. On one steep dirt gulch Daphne’s lead rope dropped and she went up by herself. The other crossing was a creek with slippery rocks. At another point Chollo took a shortcut and Target had to follow up through brush on a steep side.

Vernon is fun on trips because he’s so full of stories.

Wednesday—Lying in my sleeping bag at Mary Blaine Camp. The sun hasn’t come up yet. There’s a golden glow beyond the Alps. We got here yesterday about 4:30 after more long stretches of shale slides. I couldn’t see how the horses kept on the trail. This is the most dramatic camp so far– to the east, the Alps with Thurston Peak; to the north at least eight ridges, including South Fork Ridge.

The camp is among red firs. There’s a small table between trees, dish towels on barbed wire, open rock stove and little tin stove with a stack, which we’re using to cook. Water comes from a spring in a little meadow just below us. It’s enclosed in a piece of culvert and we share it with the horses. To the far left, looking east, is a large meadow running clear to the top of the ridge. Vernon took the horses over there to feed and then brought them back.

We had our drink (highball) right after getting here yesterday. Really a tired crew I think. Bob and I went down to the spring and washed thoroughly after dinner. Vernon and Leonard took the horses over to the meadow. Florence bathed. Bob and I fixed our sleeping bag sites and I washed the dishes. There was a nearly full moon last night. So pretty.

There is so much country around here—it’s just big. We’d like to come through some time just walking, with Daphne—through part of it anyway, to take more time. People are beginning to stir. It’s 6:15 Big carpenter ants are in bed with me.