Salmon Lake 1974

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Sunday, August 18th: Yesterday we left the trailhead with Candie and Jim near Carter’s. This is the first time I’ve been to Carter’s since Bob and I camped at Big Flat on our first anniversary and walked in to Josephine Lake. Apparently he’s trying to sell the place now. Anyway, we left our car in the parking lot, walked back down the road and started up. Carter has done a lot of logging in there, which is really too bad.

It’s a pretty trail. Switchbacks up through woods, then winds around through small meadows filled with paintbrush, a few tiger lilies, monkshood, and small purple penstemons. We ate lunch along a creek (Kidd Creek) in a meadow. I spotted a small black bear near a lightning burn on the other side. Jim hiked up to a ridge top to see where we were. When we’d entered the meadow I’d seen smoke in the upper end. After we’d eaten lunch a couple came through heading out. We later decided it was their fire, left smoking, and we went up to look. It was still smoldering and they’d left a couple of mashed cans in it. We poured water and stirred.

Turned out that we were on the way to Mumbo Lake. Coming up the ridge we crossed a couple of patches of snow. At the top we could see Ward Lake and also talked to a man who was camped there and had come up to take pictures. We circled around above Ward Lake (where I slipped in the loose rock and gouged my hand a bit) and made our way up a series of benches to the ridge above Salmon Lake. Lots of wild mint in bloom along the way and we came across an air mattress torn to bits by bears. Marvelous view from the top–Sawtooth Range and others behind- glacial polished, shining. Down over more piles of rock. Jim spotted a big golden-colored bear down in the canyon below—huge.

Salmon Lake nests in the rocks along with two small ponds and another below. Heather in bloom, mountain hemlocks, some white pine and fir. Lots of smooth granite rock. Fish jumping all over. We all went swimming—very cold but stimulating. Fixed dinner and ate it up on top of a mound of smooth granite looking out at Caribou Mountains.

Lots of joking about our reserved tables and the view included in the price. Lasagna, peach brandy and vanilla pudding, preceded by soup. After cleaning up the dishes Candie suggested a bonfire so we had a warm fire to sit around and talk for a while. Finally went to bed and froze most the night. I tried sleeping on an insolate pad—warmer than an air mattress but it sure is hard.

Sunday we fooled around camp for quite a while. Candie fed a chipmunk and a golden-mantled ground squirrel—the ground squirrel coming to about two feet from her. I’d taken my usual early morning tour and discovered one more little pond. Saw the heron again and think it must have a nest in one of the big trees up there.

We went up the hill from camp and in practically no time were up on top. Started down the ridge and soon could see not only Deer Creek Meadows but also up into Black Basin (which I think must be a hanging valley). Finally came to a grassy ridge over which the main trail is supposed to go. We didn’t go as far up the ridge as we should have and ended up zigzagging steeply down the right side of the head of the Salmon Creek Canyon instead of taking the trail down to the left. Went through some pretty places though. Lots of Indian Paintbrush, lupine, etc. and in one spot a field of Western Pasque Flowers, though right by a snow bank they were in bud and about two inches high. 75 feet away they were 10 inches high with a big furry seed head. We ate lunch around 2:30 after coming to the trail, right where the water comes across the trail. Could look up and see where the water cascades down from Salmon Lake just before we dropped down to eat lunch by the creek. Missing the trail had meant a lot more work and sore knees but it wasn’t too bad.

From there on out the trail was easy. Wound through a big meadow and suddenly the trail turned to road. Scot Carter has logged all his land and has roads all over the place. I don’t see how he could do it to such a lovely piece of land. I remember going to a meeting where he spoke about his family’s love for the land, etc. and implied that some people thought the U.S.F.S. should have it, etc. Then he turns around and does this to it. Really bad coming out of the wilderness into that kind of thing.

We got home around 6:30. The breakfast dishes were still to be washed but Linda had started chicken cooking. She helped fix dinner and ate with us.

Monday I took laundry over to Florence and Leonard’s and washed a couple of batches of whites. Was just finishing when Nancy and David and family came in. They’d been staying out Canyon Creek.

Bought gifts for Jeffrey’s birthday that afternoon and made a few calls for nursery school. Eventually left for the ranch after picking up Jessica Twight from the Joneses.
Bob went to Redding and then got out to the ranch around 9:30. We made homemade ice cream and Rebecca and Jessica picked blackberries for it. Had pizza for dinner.

That Sunday evening the two older children were still awake at 9:30. The next day was Jeffrey’s birthday and of course he could hear me rustling wrapping paper. Jeffrey had pulled out a loose tooth and that was under his pillow—too much excitement. Then I heard Bob’s feet thump-thumping down to their end of the room and back and after that things were quiet. I have found only this one bad photo of Jeff, along with Clarke and Scot Muir for Jeff’s birthday. I’m thinking maybe, instead of a regular party, he had Scot come out for overnight at the ranch.

Jessica and Rebecca got along quite well. She was a year older but the entire time was full of talking, giggling and running. The second and third nights she was at the ranch we sent them out to the VW to sleep. The third night Jeffrey was out there also and Clarke until we went to bed when we brought him down to the house. Clarke was really disappointed when he woke up in his own bed instead of in the VW bus. The others knew he was being brought down but I hadn’t told him, assuming they would. I felt really badly about that. We ate lunch down at the creek both days, as Bob was working down there.

“Jessica talked about liking it here and at the Jones’ because it was so old fashioned—we had to hang our clothes out and had no dishwasher! I guess her first two or three years left no lasting impression on her because she hates bugs, spiders, banana slugs, etc.” She lived a very rural life in those first few years. Horace, Nick and Cedric came out for lunch Friday and took Jessica back with them.

Hall’s Gulch

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This seemed to have been a summer for making up for time lost or perhaps looking forward to far busier times when there would be less camping time. More photos, less writing this time. And I found a good photo of Clarke’s birthday party in this little yellow box of slides. I don’t know why so many of the slides are dark when copied.

August 12th—a little after 7:00 a.m. We are camped along Hall’s Gulch, the five of us and the dog. We hiked in yesterday, a Sunday. We drove through someone’s yard and ended up parking near a summer camp.

Clarke carried a little pack with his clothes in it. Jeffrey carried his and Clarke’s sleeping bags. Rebecca carried her sleeping bag plus all her stuff. We ate lunch where Fool’s Gulch enters Hall’s Gulch. We hiked only a mile and a half but it was a hot day and quite a struggle for Clarke. I membered our taking Rebecca in to the Sinks. Four miles up the Canyon Creek Trail, when she was four years old, and how she was getting sick at the time although we hadn’t known it. Much too far for a four-year old, even under the best of circumstances.

We stopped and sat on the trail while Bob went down toward the creek and searched for a good camping spot. The kids were cross and tired. Rebecca had sore feet and I thought she probably needed new boots. She had some jerky with her and passed that around.

I walked on up the trail and came to Hall’s cabin, a little cabin set back in the trees; dry meadow with rusty bedsprings sitting in it.

This spot is nice—a couple of big alders—lots of small ones, a small yew right by our sleeping bags, Douglas fir, maples, Indian rhubarb in the creek. Lots of slate around here. Yesterday the children were building houses out of rocks and sticks and making signs on pieces of slate to go with those—like “keep out”, naturally. Our sleeping bags are on a rocky, sandy flat about 15 feet from the water. The children are down the creek about 50 feet and up higher, where there is more duff. We brought Clarke down here last night after he’d gone to sleep and I took him up again in the morning after he woke up.

Bob took Jeff fishing up the creek just before dinner. Bob caught a fish and Jeffrey got to eat it. “Rebecca goes today. Clarke fished right next to camp after dinner. They’re using a pole that Bob Ocock left in the garage when we bought the house. “

The next day I spent a good part of the day making and repairing, mostly repairing, a stick person for Clarke, a dog for Jeffrey and hollowed out a little stick for Rebecca—a tiny compartment in it. It was nearly 11 before I was through with k.p. duties, including frying the fish for Jeffrey. Bob went fishing downstream for about an hour. After lunch I took a half hour break and went down to sit on a rock for a while. When I got back Bob was working on a paddlewheel. He had it working in the creek alter a while. All done with a knife and string. Later he went fishing upstream and brought back a live fish to release in a little pond he’d made along the creek earlier.

After dinner the previous day we walked up the trail to the cabin. It had really fallen apart over the years but there were pieces of stove around and that sort of thing. Bob held an old dustpan while Jeffrey took a stub of a broom and swept up leaves, clowning around. . We hiked on up past there a ways. Really had to watch Clarke because of all the poison oak. Finally all but Bob started back and he continued on up to where the creek divides. That night Rebecca came down with a flashlight with Jeffrey who had a nightmare. Later she came down. So Bob took his sleeping bag and went up with them while I stayed there with Clarke.

I mentioned that I’d forgotten to note that I’d killed a rattlesnake in the orchard before we left the ranch. “It’s hard to think about things like that and world politics, or Nixon resigning, which he did last week, in a place like this. Although we do have to think about rattlesnakes.”

On Tuesday Bob took Jeffrey fishing and they went about a mile up the trail. Bob caught three nice trout. Rebecca read most of the morning and Clarke lay on the sleeping bags near her and played. Then they played down by the creek. I made a little hut from woven fir branches near their sleeping bags. I used some branches we already had but and cut quite a few more but tried to do it inconspicuously and from crowded trees. The hut was big enough for all three of them to sit in, crowded closely together. It was sort of egg shaped with one side open and a window opposite. I really didn’t use enough fir branches to make it thick but it served the purpose and was fun. After lunch Bob rested a short while and then took Rebecca and went fishing. They got back just as I was getting dinner ready. They had seven fish so we each ate two trout that night, including those caught that morning. Bob cooked the fish and the children were quite impressed that he knew how to do that.

We’d seen dippers and Steller’s jays and a little wren came by a couple of times. I wrote that it was hard to hear birds because of the sound of the creek. And I blamed that noisy stream for some wild dreams that I had. But it was a good trip.

A 90th Birthday and More 1974

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Saturday we went into town for lunch. We were out of bread at the ranch. Bob had left earlier to go to Hayfork to get new boots. He’d bought some earlier in the summer but they were too tight. It turned out that he was able to get the new pair, plus Ernie Glass said he could sell the old pair so he came out fine on the arrangement.

After lunch we went to the library where signing out the books seemed to take forever. We went home and cleaned up a little. Linda Ohde’s parents dropped her off so we didn’t have to go pick her up. After Bob got back he and I went to Gilda Sanders and Hugh Brown’s wedding reception. I was really happy for her. Had a funny conversation with Barbara Simmons before we left.

After we got back to the house Bob took Linda home; I helped the kids change and put shoes on; I changed from pantsuit to dress and then we all went to Aunt Nell’s party. “That was really something!” 200 guests for dinner at Lowden Park with the Women’s Fellowship doing the dinner. The majority were over 60-years old and many over 70. They had a speaker system, which worked pretty well. Florence did a great job with her review of Aunt Nell’s life, her activities and her friends. Several people spoke. “I was afraid Bob would weep about half way through his—he feels so strongly about ancestors and is so fond of Aunt Nell. I really think he can hardly wait to be an old timer himself!” (I tend to assume that those reading my notes know most of the people I mention but: Aunt Nell Pattison, Aunt May Richards, Uncle Stanford Scott, and Uncle Ed Scott were all Bob’s great aunts and uncles, Florence’s aunts and uncles. The family owned the Scott Ranch, which got flooded by Trinity Lake. You can learn more at the Jake Jackson Museum or researching past copies of the historical society’s “Trinity”). Most of the Aunt Nell party pictures were taken by Bob/Robert Morris.

Clarke kissed Aunt Nell’s hand a couple of times, which delighted her. Uncle Stanford got up and said, “And I expect her to come to my 90th in 5 ½ years.” Uncle Ed, who was quite frail, said a few words also. Aunt Nell was so pleased and excited. She got presents and lots of cards. Rebecca made her two cards. Mrs. Rourke was there and insisted on introducing Rebecca to her husband. I saw and talked to Judy Duncan for the first time in ages. She invited us over to swim sometime.

At dinner Uncle Stanford said he’d like to come out to the ranch again sometime as he hadn’t been out there for about 12 years. Bob suggested he and Calvine come the next day. They were staying overnight with relatives in town. So they came out to the ranch the next morning with Bob and Jeffrey. I rushed around trying to get the Weaverville house in order, ironed a couple of Bob’s shirts, and still got out there in time to fix lunch for them. Noel had stayed overnight with us—she and Rebecca not getting to bed until 10 pm and then still talking at nearly midnight. I took Noel back to Florence and Leonard’s, bought groceries, picked up Ann Marie because Jeannie needed time with Fred, who was in the hospital. We got out there about 12:45. Uncle Stanford was resting upstairs. “Amid the bags of groceries I fixed lunch and finally got everyone fed.” Rebecca and Ann Marie headed back to town with Bob and Uncle Stanford.

I cleaned up after lunch (thank goodness for paper plates) and then the boys and I fixed ice cream. Pulled the drain on the pool and sat down with a glass of beer and the Sunday paper out on the porch. The phone rang and it was Jeanne Meyer saying Ann Marie wasn’t there yet. I assured her they’d left and Florence had called earlier to say she was sending some leftover food out with Bob so I knew they were in town. I called the house and told Rebecca to call Jeannie. I was still cleaning the pool when Bob got home and suggested that he and Rebecca put dinner together, which they did. Florence had sent out leftover macaroni salad and some ham so he fixed a green salad and heated up the ham.

Clarke and Rebecca had slept out in the VW van that week. It was still terribly hot. I’d had a bad dream about clouds of dust coming up from the Prairie Creek side of the canyon and then a giant clear-cut coming over the top and down that side.

That Wednesday evening I was writing by candlelight and listening to KKHI on the radio. The day before, around 10:30 in the morning, we had heard trucks coming up the road and the gas truck arrived. They left the big truck down by the creek and brought a small one pulling a lift trailer. They took a run at our hill and pulled up the slope perpendicular to the orchard, backed in between the two small apple trees, around the garden and between the garden and the plum tree to the tank. We were really impressed by his backing. Then they hoisted the tank and went down to the creek to fill it. I finished weeding among the tomatoes in the half hour they were gone. They had more trouble coming back and had to get a second run at the hill.
It was also more difficult lining the tank up correctly. When they were finished I offered them beer, lemonade or water. They took the lemonade. Don Larkin was the tank truck driver; I didn’t know who the other man was. They even re-lit the pilot light on the refrigerator.

When they were about to leave we heard a heavy plane and decided there must be a fire someplace to the northwest. Later in the afternoon many planes were going over. Some we could see and some not. I called the USFS in Big Bar and they said the fire was near Denny. We were getting some wisps of smoke in the sky by then. Bob called to ask whether planes were going over because he could see them in town. A large helicopter went over several times too. He was staying in town that night because he was leaving for Bakersfield early Wednesday morning.

Jeffrey slept out in the VW by himself a couple of nights. Even Rebecca was impressed with his bravery.

We went to Big Bar Wednesday morning singing “Country Roads” all the way at full volume. I took the garbage to the dump where we nearly collided with a woman driving a dump truck load of rocks. We stopped at the Forest Service office to see where the fire was on a map. Rebecca stepped on a bee on the lawn and had a swollen foot. I was reading Gunther’s Big Sky and getting emotionally involved in it.

I found myself thinking about my mother’s life as a mother and wife and wishing I could talk to her about it. But the stroke made it so difficult for her to talk and to put her feelings into words. She also must have had resentments, anger, sadness and so forth and certainly had more cause I thought. I got so upset over petty things and yet that was understandable I supposed because I had to deal with so many petty things on a day-to-day basis. “I’d like to be one of those calm, capable people who serenely takes care of others’ problems and isn’t disturbed by much of anything.”

On August 5th I noted that we were finally having some cooler weather. That Saturday Bob had spent most of the day in town getting parts for the gate, etc. Rebecca and Jeffrey went with him. They brought the stake-side truck out and Rebecca and Jeffrey rode “magnificently” in the back of it, having ridden home from the gate. When they got home Clarke, who stayed with me, was asleep on a quilt on the floor.

I’d pulled all the weeds out of the cement sand pile and given Clarke a hose to play with. He’d had a good time making rivers and plowing with the bulldozer. Most of the time he had it getting stuck. We’d taken our lunch down to the creek and spent about an hour and a half there.

Oliver Burglund and a friend of his came out to look at the gate site. He was going to put in the gate in return for Bob’s working on his water system. Frank Walden said he’d help too. I’d called Bob in town to bring some beer out and after he’d given them the grand tour it was quickly consumed. This would be a second gate, down by Walden’s.

On another day I got up early and went to prune brush along the road, starting at the creek and working my way up to where the horse gate used to be, just past the little spring that runs across the road. I was home by noon. “Pruning is hard work but I enjoy it—especially the quiet.” Then I fixed lunch and we took it down to the creek where Bob was stripping off the forms.

August 6th—“It rained all day yesterday. Beautiful! I could feel my whole body plumping up with moisture—the grass turned darker green, the air was soft, almost coastal, and everything smelled so good. Pieces of mist broke off larger pieces or materialized out of nowhere and came drifting up out of the trees.” I made a blackberry pie, baked cookies, cleaned the pool, read. The children too seemed to enjoy the rain. We all slept late except for Bob.

“Had a big argument with Rebecca about going to a friend’s slumber party, birthday party. Another girl whose older sister has slumber parties started this last spring. I don’t like the idea at all. I think it’s fine to have a friend stay overnight but these group things get out of hand—giggles until dawn and exhaustion all the next day. It’s Friday night and Sunday we’re leaving on a camping trip with the children. She’d be exhausted. I don’t know the parents, there are four younger sisters, etc. Good old peer pressure!”

Friday night, another big scene. I did call up Alice Jones to see when Nick, Jessica and Cedric would be up. They were arriving in two weeks and I made arrangements for them to stay overnight at the ranch during that time.

Somewhere in the midst of these happenings, Clarke had his fourth birthday.

“I’m getting mixed feelings about this business of the children and I being at the ranch all summer without other kids.”

Time for Butterflies 1974

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When I reached the parking lot and started down the road, a man flagged me down and asked for a ride back to near Lake Eleanor road where he’d left his wife in their car after running two tires into the ditch. He was worried that she might panic with him gone so long but it seemed to me that he was the one in a panic. He was sort of an older gentleman (whatever that meant at my age) and I nicknamed him “Joe L.A.” Dark glasses, slacks, sports shirt, nervous cigarette, big car. “I thought I’d be more tolerant after my trip but found myself less so—it was a strain to be polite.” After I dropped him off I met a jeep coming up whose driver was going to try to pull him out.

When I got to town I called Bob, cleaned up, put away things and headed for the ranch. When I got there it was back to reality. Of course I was really tired so things seemed magnified. Bob had spent the previous two hours looking for car keys so dinner had yet to be fixed and it was around 7:00. The children were dirty and hungry but eager to show me the dollhouse their father had built for them. He fixed a salad and we had canned spaghetti for dinner. After we’d eaten I took Clarke’s shirt off to swish him through a bath and saw that he had a rash—a bad case of poison oak. The caterpillars were out of food and the garden hadn’t been watered. Rebecca and Jeff got leaves for the caterpillars.

If I’d been a bit more mature I would have been grateful that they were all still alive, seemed to have had a good time, and their father had also survived. But that came a little later.

I was really sore and stiff and blisters were painful. That plus Clarke fussing from the poison oak itching meant not much sleep that night. Monday Bob brought medicine from in town that we’d used the previous summer to help with the itching. They had drained the pool while I was gone but hadn’t cleaned it so the bottom of the pool was littered with dead bumblebees and the walls coated with a film. By Monday evening after I’d done three batches of laundry, cleaned and filled the pool, “I was more optimistic”.

My eldest brother Ben, called from Corning that evening. He and his wife were arriving around 11:30 that night. We talked for an hour after they arrived and then went to bed, with them sleeping in sleeping bags out on the front porch. After breakfast on Tuesday we walked the loop. I hadn’t seen him since Clarke was about 16 months old. This was the first time we’d met Pat, his second wife. The children spent their time going from lap to lap. Ben was entranced by all our water. He ran sprinklers, mowed more of the grass around the barn, unplugged the drain, which had been full of grass roots, so that water from the lower spring would run under the apple trees. They left around noon on Wednesday. They’d moved from the Seattle area to Pennsylvania where he was teaching.

Thursday we went into town for dental appointments for the boys and to run some errands. On the way out of town we stopped to see Florence and she gave us chard, lettuce, squash and raspberries. We made one quick stop at the Woods for a quick dip in their pool and then dry off in their sauna. On the way out to the ranch we ran into heavy rain and hail along the river- “came down in great silver splotches that shown in the sun and splattered against the windshield”. Lots of thunderheads around during afternoon.

One of the caterpillars hung upside-down the night before and by this evening was a lovely green chrysalis and a second one was upside down.

I was concerned because Bob wasn’t home yet at 10:00. He was down at the creek putting plastic pipe upstream so he could keep the cement wet. Jack Simmons had brought out a ready-mix truck the week before and Bob, Ben Parks and Kevin Lewis had poured cement, settling it with a vibrator, powered by a portable generator from the hardware store. The abutments were further along as a result.

On Friday I got up early and fixed breakfast for Bob. After the children and I made a raspberry pie, from Florence’s raspberries, I’d changed beds and tried to start the generator to do laundry. It wouldn’t start so I tried the lawn mower to mow and it wouldn’t start. Called Bob and he gave me some suggestions. Got the generator started and laundry going. Cleared the air filter on the lawnmower and it started right up. The children spent most of the day playing with the little pottery animals that came with boxes of Red Rose Tea. They used a small plastic doll for Mowgli (I’d been reading the Jungle Books to Jeffrey.) After lunch I hung up the three batches of laundry; cleaned the bugs out of the pool and kicked for five minutes. Got the lawn mower going again by adjusting the fuel mixtures screen. Mowed the orchard with one stop for a swim and one to refill with gas. The children spent a lot of time in the pool.

Big buildup of thunderheads in the afternoon but no storm—quite warm.

That morning, when I was talking to Clarke about how he must take a nap he said, “I won’t have a steric, Mommy, I promise.” I’d told him he had hysterics when he didn’t take a nap. He didn’t get the nap but did pretty well. Talked to Candie for a while. It was Carin’s birthday.

Saturday we went into town to go to Vernon and Ruth’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration), having a good visit with Candie, Jim and Carin before we left the Weaverville house. The reception was really very nice—punchbowls and cake and lots of people—apparently about 60 of Vernon’s clan showed up. Big picture of them on their wedding day—Ruth calm, steady-eyed, capable; Vernon romantic and dreamy. We got there around 4:00 and were there till nearly 5:30. Bob was having a very good time seeing lots of people he hadn’t seen in a number of years and introducing me to many of them. Rebecca got to meet his former piano teacher.

The Asplins were there—Horgans, and others we hadn’t seen in a while. I met Ed Ryan, Vernon’s son, and his wife Ruthie. “I left thinking that I hadn’t been thinking about marriage as a 50-year investment of time and effort; more like ten- year increments. I suppose if one thought at the beginning in terms of 50 years it would mean working a lot harder at it—especially in terms of seeing that each partner was allowed and encouraged to develop to his and her fullest capabilities. We talked a lot afterwards about the various people there, about Bob, about marriage. I am so fond of Vernon and Ruth.”

We stayed in town Saturday and Sunday night. I caught up on chores there, even washing woolen things that should have been done last spring. Children played with friends. We ate dinner at the Brewery—fried chicken and salad. It was under new management and they didn’t have pizza anymore. Two walls of the upper room were covered with a mural of Weaverville. It was quite attractive but not very accurate.

Monday on our way to the ranch we stopped in Big Bar to get ice for homemade raspberry icecream. What wouldn’t fit into the freezer we used to make popcycles.

The children liked to play outside after dinner and that night they had the overhead sprinklers on and got marvelously cool before bedtime. “I was thinking of the childhood memories they will have and wondering if, when they’re all in their twenties, whether they’ll say, ‘and remember those sprinklers up on the roof’?’ I hope they store up lots of good memories because I’m afraid they’ll need them during the difficult times ahead for the world. They’ve certainly had a much more varied childhood than I did already. I think it’s interesting that out of the four of us the three boys and families are the ones that ended up in an urban environment, while I’m in a more park like atmosphere, at least in the summer. (Of course the last 15-20 years it’s been my brother Peter who has been living the rural lifestyle.)

July 29th, Friday—It has been unbearably hot the last two days. The upstairs doesn’t really cool off much during the night. The last three nights I’d been up a lot with Clarke. Sometimes I’d take him downstairs for a cool bath to relieve the itching. It was so warm in the house and for several days much of my time was spent trying to help the children stay cool night and day. Rebecca and Jeffrey slept in the VW bus two nights in a row and Rebecca looked much less tired the next day. When Clarke was in the pool I had to be there too. He went under once when I was there and once when both Bob and I were there. It’s only 2 ½ feet deep but we noticed that when he went under was while holding on to a floatation item. So we took those away. We were going into town for Aunt Nell’s 90th birthday party that weekend.

First Solo Backpack Trip 1974

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My proposed backpack trip had to be postponed several times and Bob suggested I take an extra day to make up for it, a Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

We were out at the ranch that Tuesday. I mowed the lawn while Clarke napped. Bob went into town late afternoon but got back around 7:30. The children and I had taken a walk around the loop after putting a roast in the oven, and then had warm roast-beef sandwiches for dinner. I watched the children out the window and enjoyed them. They were really silly that afternoon—lots of bathroom talk, plays on words, hysterical giggles. After dinner Bob told them that a jay in the barn had pooped on his shoulder and this set them off again.

“Jeffrey, this morning, very casually, very manfully, offered to go on my trip with me—“if you want me to”. I wept tonight telling Bob about it.”

Rebecca was re-reading The Yearling to herself, now that I finished reading it to her. “She is such a complicated child—so grown up in some ways, yet very vulnerable in others. She looked willow-the-wispy tonight—shiny, soft hair, dreamy-eyed, holding her blanket and her frog. And yet there is a great inner strength there too I think.”

Clarke had been cheerful and silly, alternating with wanting to be cuddled. He had a nap which helped a lot with overcoming his crossness of the last few days. The inconsistencies of naps made life difficult for him sometimes.

“I wish I could let the children know how pleased I am to know them so well—their marvelous uniqueness as well as their faults—without getting them all self-conscious about it. I think they know I love them well, even when I nag. I dread their being hurt by the cruelties life offers—I just hope there are enough good things to make it worthwhile for them.”

I was reading another of Ann Lindbergh’s books-Locked Rooms, Open Doors.

“July 12th–I am writing this at the head of Deer Creek Meadows, sitting beside a waterfall in the sun, just below the Luella Lake Trail junction. Kinnik-Kinnick and I got here about 3:30. I drove into Weaverville from the ranch yesterday afternoon—got there about 4:30 and really had to hurry to buy groceries for the ranch plus what I needed for this trip. After dinner I packed (called the ranch once and talked to each child and asked Bob a couple of things). Got packed round 9:00 and then vacuumed the house for some weird reason. Played our John Denver record a lot.

Got up at 5:15 and was at the trail around 8:00. Met lots of people going in. Kinnik-Kinnick got confused at Granite Creek Bridge and started following two teenage girls. I didn’t catch up with her again till we reached Granite Lake.

It is a beautiful trip in here—lots of water, azaleas still blooming (on the Granite Lake side)-pitcher plants at the beginning of the trail. Granite Lake lies at the end of a long meadow and over some rocks—big snow slide still at the end. I arrived there at the same time as the two girls, who had managed to pick up about six fellows. I ran right into the camp of a family who told me I’d missed the Deer Creek Meadows turnoff so I went back a couple of hundred feet and found it. Had been worried about snow but ran into a couple of patrolmen (one was Rod Duncan whom I’d taught in 5th grade at Big Bar) who said it was mostly melted off. Ate lunch by a little trickle of a stream looking out over Granite Lake.

That’s a very steep climb up out of there. I’d never have made it if it were a hot August day with no water. It’s 1.5 miles to the pass. Came down the switchbacks from the pass in about an hour, going slowly because my legs, feet and shoulders are very sore. My pack is much too heavy. Coming down there were some long green meadows—at the top of these tiger lilies were all in tight green buds—at the bottom some were in bloom. The 4-Lakes area has a lot of snow in it still. Passable probably but I don’t think I’ll go there. Peter built those switchbacks down from the pass about eight years ago. I was going to stop at their old camp but this looks pretty good and I’m tired.

Kinnik-Kinnick just came and curled up with me. I think she’s tired too! My shoulders are so sore. I hope I can make it to Long’s Cabin tomorrow. Am supposed to stay there tomorrow night and come out Bear Basin Sunday. I think I’ll try to eat around 5:00. (I was trying to stay at the places I’d talked about with Bob so if I needed to be found someone would know where to look.)


Alice Jones’ painting of Deer Creek area.

I’ve decided that solitude is all very well and good but I think if Bob were along I’d enjoy it more—or even one of the kids if they could walk this far. Sharing an experience enriches it. I thought it probably would be this way. I’m enjoying not having to respond to anyone but I miss the response to me! This is really kind of a pretty spot—foamy waterfall about eight feet high, hellebore and tiger lilies—but not in bloom. A kind of yellow lupine is just beginning to bloom and there are columbines blooming along the creek and on the rock by the waterfall. A few yellow violets in bloom next to the rocks. We may have picked a spot under a Stellar’s Jay nest for our campsite—at least they’ve really been squawking at the dog and one pooped on the air mattress. The trees look like white fir and white pine.

It’s 7:30 now. I’m in my sleeping bag—face washed, teeth brushed, hair brushed and small drink of peach brandy consumed. After dinner (primus stove worked beautifully) I read down by the creek for about an hour—a book that Jeannie Meyer loaned me. The sound of the creek is not consistent—sometimes the falls seem to slap the rocks—not unlike the sound of movement through underbrush.

I think I’m going to be consumed by carpenter ants tonight. Many big ones crawling around. I’ve blisters on the balls of both feet. Will try putting gauze pads on them tomorrow. Sun is off the meadow now but still on the cliffs at the head and on the mountains across from me—cliffs are a silver grey but the opposite mountain is quite red. Saw a couple of Steer’s Head Bleeding Hearts in bloom—many, many plants–just a few blossoms. Also saw a couple of leftover shooting stars.

Saturday—6:00 p.m.—Am later tonight making camp. Slept off and on last night waking frequently to hear the roar of the creek and once when a deer bounded off. Woke around 7:00. After breakfast I packed everything so it was all ready to go. Had a brief encounter with the stove. Wanted to fill it so all would be ready for tonight but took about 20 minutes to get the lid unscrewed. Was afraid for a while I’d have to have sandwiches for dinner and no lunch tomorrow—or breakfast!

Anyhow, around 10:00 the dog and I started up the trail with the idea of hiking to Diamond Lake since Bob had recommended it so highly—left the pack at camp. Really hard on my muscles at first. It is a lovely hike all the way—having to be conservative with pictures was agony. The trail climbs up almost as high as I was yesterday coming into Deer Creek only on the opposite side—very alpine, very spectacular–jagged peaks, fields of snow on them, bright green meadow with little ponds. One incident occurred which really made things grey for a while. Kinnik-Kinnick stirred up a fawn. It was bleating and she was yelping and I’m afraid she probably killed it. I whipped her with the leash when she got back and put her on the leash for most of the rest of the trip.

Luella Lake nests up in red rock above the Deer Creek Canyon—there was snow covering about 1/5 of it, and lots of snow around it. We zig-zagged on up the trail and had no problem till we got to the top of the ridge. Just below the top was a small cornice of snow–too steep in most places for me to climb over. Found a good spot to kick holes and then, right where the snow meets the rock, one foot went in. Fortunately the other foot was firm and I grabbed rock–could have been nasty as obviously no one had been over the trail recently and several days at that altitude with a broken leg would be yucky. From there to Diamond Lake took about 15 minutes.

Diamond Lake lies at the foot of steep talus slopes up which a trail winds but there was lots of snow on the trail. No wonder Bob wanted me to see this lake. Along the upper side is sloping green meadow with daisies and shooting stars, and hellebore is just beginning to poke up spikes along the melting snow, and has tightly bundled leaves, up about two feet elsewhere. A reddish rim rock sticks out on one side of the opposite shore. The rest of that shore is a look straight out at jagged, snow-covered peaks. I ate lunch there and was more full from the scenery I think than from the food.

Took 15 minutes to get back to the top of the hill, no trouble getting off the snow and was back in camp at 1:30. Left camp about 2:00 and, after traveling down Deer Creek about 15-20 minutes, had to take my boots off to get across. Think I saw where Deer Creek Camp is but am not sure about Peter’s old camp, which is supposed to be in that area. Started up the hill where the sign said Black Basin-3 Miles. It has many more switchbacks than are shown on the contour map. Quite a steep climb up and no water. We finally hit water in Black Basin and stopped for a drink and snack. There’s a beautiful little green meadow and a little pond, which looks out at the Sawtooth Range. Thought about staying there but decided to go further. A few hundred yards on there’s a kind of barren willowy camp with cut logs for stools and the trail to Mumford Basin takes off there as does the one to Bear Basin. I took the Bear Basin one and am camped, I guess, at Long’s Cabin. I told Bob I’d camp there but just happened upon it as it looked like a good spot. I guess there are two trails up to Bear Basin and I took the one that Long’s Cabin isn’t on—didn’t see a forks or anything, and looking over from the together trail saw this spot. So far today I’ve seen no one. Saw some fairly fresh tracks on the Deer Creek Trail and this one to Bear Basin looks like someone came out on a horse and maybe went to Mumford Basin. (After I got home I learned that yes, this was the remains of Long’s Cabin.)

The sun is still shining into here. Am wondering if it will shine in here early in the morning. I kind of doubt it. This camp is about 20 feet from a small stream. The area is used for snow surveys and there is an orange sign on one of the trees and one up about 20 feet in a tree across the meadow. The trees here look like mountain hemlock, red fir and white pine. It’s a pretty spot, patches of snow still around, lichens on fallen trees are a bright chartreuse. The peaks I’ll be going toward in the morning look like those at the head of Deer Creek—grey with reddish tinges-snow, a few patches of chartreuse lichens-not the furry kind as on the trees.

The breeze is cool in the shade I keep moving with the sun. Lots of old garbage here rusty cans, broken bottles, etc., pieces of what look like an old cabin—logs and boards with nails in them. Many carpenter ants here. One was into the stroganoff spoon as soon as I put it down.

Taking this trip has been a good thing for me—I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, have enjoyed my own company (it’s not much different from the long day hikes I’ve taken)—the dog has been kind of a nuisance—trying to keep her with me. I really must admit though that I can’t keep from thinking about the children and Bob. Like when I saw a parent Clark’s Nutcracker feeding a young one today I thought, “I must tell Clarke about that.”

I guess it means that once one has a family these individuals become a part of oneself. And one of the things, I enjoy about hiking—although I never realized it till this trip—is sharing the experience by talking about it…and sharing it with someone who cares about you.

I am really looking forward to our taking the children into Hall’s Gulch. I do hope they will enjoy camping as much as I do as time goes on. It will be fun having someone to go with when they’re older during the times that Bob can’t—or maybe we can all go a lot or Bob and I can take just one at different times as Foreros have done.

I thought I’d be poetic, bringing this paper but I’m so tired by evening it’s all I can do to write down the facts! I see now another sign in my cluster of trees—up about 20 feet.

Creeks are funny. It’s no wonder poets have talked about babbling brooks. I often think I hear children’s voices and my mother used to say she would hear our voices in creeks. Rebecca thought I was calling her the other day when we were down at Little French Creek but I wasn’t. I think Jeffrey would like this spot with the big green meadow across the creek and all the rounded rocky outcroppings to climb on. The sun must be going down but it doesn’t seem to have lowered at all since we got here—it’s just moved around a bit.

Morning of July 14th–Am nearly packed. I notice that my writing in the evening is very home oriented—mornings I feel so free! I think this kind of existence could really grow on one. By the third night one should sleep soundly—from the exhaustion of not sleeping the other two nights if nothing else. Probably one stops listening to the creeks talk by then. I have all the routines down now and everything goes smoothly—meal preparation, packing up, etc. and I’m sure my muscles are stronger—as well as the pack being a little lighter.

I wonder if that “evening family” thing is a primitive instinct of mankind. To draw together at night for protection. I think I’d like to do something like this for a couple of days every summer. Almost packed now and it’s 8:45. The sun came up in a totally different place than I expected this morning. Have had full sunlight since about 7:30. Robins were singing until after 9:00 last night and started at 5:00 this morning.

I ran out of film in the upper part of Bear Basin. Large patches of snow on the cliffs, but the trail was clear. Wound down into Bear Basin, crossed the creek on some short logs. I’d forgotten how beautiful the lower meadow is. Of course I’d seen it only in the fall before. A full quarter of a mile of pitcher plants, rein orchis, etc. Looking back up the canyon toward the snow– splotched peaks it was really spectacular. I lost the dog’s leash somewhere here. Ate lunch by a little spring along the stretch where azaleas grow in such abundance—air filled with their fragrance—maidenhair ferns, spairea, tiger lilies, deep moss, tiny pools, bright yellow monkey flowers. We didn’t meet any people until we were beyond Parker Creek where we met a teenage boy with a pack. Over 48 hours without another human. “

Late June-Early July 1974

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Bob and I spent Saturday night and Sunday at the ranch. The boys stayed with Linda Lindsey, and Rebecca at the Myers’. “We got a lot of communication accomplished.” He had been in New York the last week but was home by the time we got back from Nehalem on a Tuesday. After the time at the ranch he left for Bakersfield. I came down with a bad cold but the two older children were now being paid for extra jobs besides their usual chores so were a big help with dishes, etc. We were out at the ranch again. I did get two batches of laundry done.

The plums that formed on the wild plum tree were wrinkled and elongated and had turned brown. Mock orange, which had been in full bloom on the weekend, was fading.

“The children follow me like little shadows in and out and around the house. There have been some bare toes stepped on because I didn’t realize they were there. We’ve had some good times too though. This morning they were all pretending to be large mice, creeping down the stairs. I chased them with various things including once with a broom and once a brick of cheese.”

On Wednesday Betty Rourke came to visit, arriving about noon. We’d gone over and unlocked the gate for her earlier. She ate lunch with us and we walked up to the woods and back. She brought some books out for Rebecca and a balance number game. She left around 3:00 p.m. We packed quickly and left shortly thereafter. Got to town and bought gifts at Greenwood’s for Ann Marie—and also paid for frames for my pictures and took the framed pictures home—a sketch of Clarke I’d made in Marne Wilkins class when he was a baby and three pictures of plants. Dropped Rebecca and Jeff off at Myers’ where they spent the night, sleeping outside.

Thursday morning I took the VW bus down to Callahan’s and left it. Jeannie gave us a ride home. After lunch we walked down to get it. They said three valves were tight and it was a good thing we’d gotten the work done. We went to Brown’s for a snack, then to the store for groceries. By the time we got home it was five. I decided to go out to the ranch after dinner. Bob arrived though so I decided to wait to go out until the next day. Friday morning the children and I went to the ranch, stopping by to see Florence on the way. She gave us about half a gallon of raspberries. Bob didn’t get out there until nearly 10:00 that night.

Saturday morning Bob went up on the hill with the children to fly airplanes. Jeffrey seemed to be in one of his streaks of really needing fathering (all of them were, due to his absences but he seemed to need it the most right then). So Bob did a lot of holding. Candie, Jim and Carin arrived around 12:30. Bob and Jim put the pool up and the children played in it as it was filling. I fixed pizza for dinner and it was polished off. After dinner we sat around talking for quite a while and Jim told the children stories. It was very hot upstairs that night and children were restless.

We had pancakes for breakfast and a mixture of canned peaches and raspberries for fruit. Bob and Jim went down to the creek to work. We took lunch down later and did some playing with the children around the creek. They left around 4:30 and Bob about 6:00. He was going to Phoenix, Arizona to conduct a seminar. I was really missing him. He looked so tired the day before.

On Wednesday, July 3rd, Rebecca washed the dishes while I fixed a lunch. Then we drove down to White’s Bar Picnic Area and walked upstream a few hundred feet so we could have space to ourselves. Kinnik-Kinnick was with us and she had a marvelous time swimming and chasing grasshoppers in the sand. There were a lot of dead eels in the shallows so I maneuvered the children to where there weren’t any. The water was very deep and swift with very little shallow along the edges. It was a hot day but kind of fun. We had to move the lunch from the shade of a big boulder when we discovered a nest of black hornets on the boulder. After lunch we went to Big Bar where I bought $22 worth of groceries at the River Store, including four large boxes of matches. We were down to three matches. “Frank Walden told us that a man, who said he was a junk dealer, got quite belligerent with renters saying he could go anywhere he wanted, including on private land, because he was a junk collector. Apparently he came up our road yesterday. He hadn’t tampered with the gate but of course he could have had a USFS key. Frank had reported him to the sheriff’s office. “

Back at the ranch I drained and cleaned the pool. It was filling but I’d have to finish that in the morning. Bob called. He was back in town. He said his trip was really successful. I’d made fudge a couple of days before and the children and I finished that off– “perfect gluttons!”

“I’m a little calmer the last two evenings about “things that go bump in the night”. I don’t know why I get so nervous at night when Bob’s gone. Probably would be ok if I never read the newspapers! “

July 4th was a big rush. We got to town around 11:30 and picked up Rebecca’s dress and bonnet from Florence. Finally got up to the house. Oregon Street was blocked off because of the Joss House celebration. Rebecca fixed sandwiches while I hurriedly made big stitches in her dress, which was about two feet too long. Got her over to the CD Hall at about 12:45 where Anne Marie and Heidi were waiting. Then we went downtown to wait for the parade. I talked to Bev Forero for quite a while. Rebecca had been nervous before the parade but I think she was sort of being responsible for the other two girls during the parade. Later we found out they had won an award. Bob joined us just before the parade started.

After the parade I took the children to the carnival while he put the boom on the boom truck and began unloading pipe. We spent a couple of hours at the carnival. Blew $13. Had two rides on the Ferris wheel, the children a couple of small children rides, and Jeffrey rode on a kind of scary big yellow disk. He looked so little and was the only passenger but he seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. Rebecca won a couple of dogs with a basketball toss. We got to the library at about 10 to 5 so only got a few books. Went home to check on Bob and then dropped Rebecca and Jeffrey off at Meyer’s. Clarke and I took gas cans to the service station and we went to the grocery store. Took the dress and bonnet back to Florence. Brought children home, including Ann Marie, fixed dinner. Clarke was so tired he was having hysterics so I put him in the tub to play while I washed dishes. Got him to bed and walked Ann Marie and Rebecca down to the road. They walked up to Moon Lee’s because Ann Marie’s parents were up there. Bob went out to the ranch at 9:30 to stay overnight.

Sunday morning I ironed a bunch of Bob’s shirts, bought groceries, washed all four of our heads. Fixed a lunch and we went over to Ohde’s to eat it since I had to stop there to pick up a present Van Duyns had left for Rebecca—a big stuffed frog. We got to the ranch about 3:00 and Bob was just coming out. We talked for a while and then he left. Kevin Lewis, who is helping with the bridge, came out then so we waited until he passed to close the gate.

This blog is seldom philosophical but I hope reflects the pace, the richness as well as the chaos, of this period of time in our lives as captured in my journal. It’s not meant to be publishable, just a record.

June 1974 Travel by Rail

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This year I was making the trip to Nehalem with the children on my own. Bob decided, understandably, that he didn’t want to spend half of his two weeks of vacation every year going to see my parents. So this time I was going to take them on the train. I was nervous about the whole process. I’d never ridden a train before so was looking forward to that part, unless one counted the time, when I was about six years old, when my mother and two of my brothers and I rode “The Skunk” train from Willits, California to my oldest brother’s scout camp to visit him. I do remember riding on “The Skunk” and that we ate lunch at the camp. We were served Cool Aid with lunch, my first exposure to that, and the scouts told us it was bug juice. I sort of believed them.

We were going on the train to Salem and then getting a rental car to drive the rest of the way to Nehalem. Bob had reserved the car for me and I had purchased the train tickets in Redding. I noted that I had taken paper for my journal with me for the visit but not once wrote on it while I was there.

The train left Redding in the middle of the night, and I suppose still does. It was 20 minutes late so was about 1 a.m. when we left, all of us quite excited. I’d driven to the station and left the car for our return since Bob had already left to go to Bakersfield and would be leaving for New York not long after we got back.

We weren’t able to sit together but were all in the same car. Clarke and Rebecca sat together as did Jeffrey and I. “The stars went rushing by and we whirred through a number of tunnels near Shasta Lake. It was light enough to see quite a bit just by starlight. Slowed way down going up the canyon. Seems to me I read that along this stretch there was heavy damage due to flooding this last year and that, although repairs had been made, the train must go only about 25 miles per hour. I could see the river and looking backward could often see cars curved out behind us and the engine ahead—like a big silver snake with a lighted head. Two boys in their early teens were in front of Jeffrey and me and one was especially restless, kept waking his companion and also running to the restroom all night. Rebecca and Jeff finally fell asleep around 2:30 or 3:00, Clarke earlier. It was daylight when we arrived in Klamath Falls about 5 a.m. and Rebecca awoke there, Jeffrey a little later, and we had to wake Clarke when it was time to get breakfast.

Sunrise was beautiful—pink and salmon clouds, mist rising on the swamps and on Klamath Lake, duck, pelicans and seagulls flying. Ours was a fairly quiet car, only a few children and some interesting characters among the adults. One couple, from New Jersey, sat one behind the other and, probably on purpose, conversed a great deal, read travelogues, etc. We had to wait a long time for breakfast and, at that, were served sooner than many having been given the #9. By the time I’d walked back five cars to the dining car and waited with all the cigarette smoke I wasn’t very hungry! The ride was quite bouncy.< When we finally got a table the waiter stood there drying wet silverware with a napkin, the silverware having apparently been dipped in dishwater recently but still containing food between the prongs of the forks. My enchantment with train travel started nose-diving. I sent back a couple of forks and would have sent the orange juice glasses but trusted in our health. We wound up over the mountains for a long time, past rhododendrons in bloom, patches of snow near Crescent Lake and down into Scotch Broom—very pretty. Arrived in Salem around noon. All of the railroad depots are so old: long high-backed benches and the one in Salem even had marble walls in the bathrooms, like some of the old buildings on the Berkeley campus. An employee called a cab for us and we soon arrived at the car rental place, just three blocks off Highway 22. We walked a block to a drive-in, after depositing our stuff at the car rental place -my suitcase, Rebecca’s suitcase and basket, Clarke’s little suitcase. Jeffrey had carried Rebecca’s duffel bag with lightweight sleeping bag and jackets. We ate lunch, walked back and had a hassle with the car rental agent who said he was sorry, but even though we’d reserved a compact car well in advance, he had none and we’d have to take a larger, more expensive car. (Bob later called their main office and we got it for compact rates) Remember there were no cell phones yet and I was a neophyte traveler functioning on basically no sleep!

Just outside of Salem everyone was falling apart. Rebecca was in tears because she wanted the front seat and Jeffrey was there (and she was exhausted); Clarke said his seatbelt was too tight and was sobbing, etc. I stopped, fixed Clarke’s belt; Jeff voluntarily traded places; got going with the air conditioner cooling the car and everyone promptly fell asleep! No one woke until we got to Tillamook. We got to Nehalem about 4 p.m. Stayed there Friday, Saturday and Sunday and left Monday. ‘We all slept well that first night!”

I was worried about both of my parents, my mother struggling with being in a wheelchair and paralyzed on one side, my dad with having to take care of her. He didn’t look well to me. He was still smoking and drinking too much wine but I’m sure it eased his stress. He wouldn’t leave her for a minute and she really wanted some time to herself I thought. And he needed some time to himself. We took a short walk up the road Friday, with my dad pushing the wheelchair and then I took the kids to the beach for a few hours. The children had a lot of fun. Being who I am I worried some about sneaker waves but they loved it and this year Clarke was much braver about incoming waves.

On Saturday we drove up the coast to another beach where my dad could get my mother down a paved path to where she could see and smell the ocean. He told me she later said, “I never thought I would see it again.” We’d gone there with them a long time before. There were caves worn in the bluffs and a stream made a smooth waterfall down to the sand.

The children and I went a little way into one of the caves and climbed around outside a bit to look at a tide pool. “Suddenly Rebecca said, “Look at the water.” Where there had been sand below us there were now several inches of water. We scrambled down and got back to where there was dry sand. We were perfectly ok but easily might not have been with my having totally ignored the fact that the sand was wet there. “

At this beach, as at the previous one, there were thousands of little transparent fish in the water, borne in on each wave. They tickled our feet, tiny, soft things, scarcely an inch long. We scooped some up in an old milk carton to show my mother. That night I showed my parents a few slides.

Sunday morning the children and I walked up to an old lookout place—very pretty and kind of a brush-lined, secret road going up. Coming back we went off the road into some brush, like a green-roofed world, little white flowers dancing around our feet. We tried to go to the beach again that afternoon but the wind was blowing the sand too hard and it stung. That evening we were expecting my brother Richard and his wife to join us for dinner and fed the children early. But they were late so my parents and I ate. I’d made a huckleberry pie from berries in their freezer. My brother didn’t arrive until 11 p.m. It was after midnight before we got to bed and then I couldn’t sleep because of an argument my brother and I had. He called it a discussion. I hadn’t seen them for three years.

Monday we left at 1:00 and got to Salem at 4:00 where we learned that the train, due at 4:45, wouldn’t be in until 5:45. We walked downtown a little way and ate a lunch/dinner, sandwiches, at a restaurant called the Rooster Tail. No one else was eating then so the children could be undignified. The waitress had just finished teaching her first year of 2nd grade, and was very nice to them. We got back to the depot and had to wait until after 6:00. When we got on the train it turned out they’d had to disconnect a couple of cars so seats were at a minimum. They had only singles for us, which I didn’t like and Clarke liked even less. Then the porter took us to another car where Clarke and I could sit together, Jeffrey in front of me with a 14-year old boy, and Rebecca across from him with a very tolerant and mentally alert woman. Half an hour or less out of Salem the train hit a car. No injuries apparently but that took another half hour. North of Klamath Falls we went through a brilliant lightning storm—also saw along the way, where a freight train had derailed the week before. Finally got to Redding at 6 a.m. Three hours late. We ate breakfast in Redding and then drove home with me trying to keep my eyes open. Went to bed and slept for a couple of hours.

May-June, 1974

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I returned from a Community Concert Board meeting in Redding that had been at the Neville’s. It was 11 pm when I was writing and I’d just made sure the children were tucked in, as it was cold that night. Patty had been their sitter. Bob had gone to San Francisco that afternoon. He had called and left his number for me with Patty. This was on a Tuesday.

Saturday we had gone out to the ranch. Bob and Clarke had gone in the big truck while Rebecca, Jeffrey and I, plus the dog, had gone out in the VW bus. Before we left we’d stopped to see the Woods for a few minutes. Eric, Marilee and little Sam were there too. Once at the ranch I fixed dinner. We didn’t turn on the refrigerator. It was a beautiful, warm weekend. We got there before Bob and Clarke did and when we got to Prairie Creek Road, Chuck Johnson was there, fixing the phone line. Someone had cut it the night before. Since the gate hadn’t been tampered with I went on in but was a little nervous.

Sunday Bob got up at 6:00 and went down to the creek to work. He dug by the boulder on the east side, making the area ready to build forms for the abutment. We went down around 8:30 and went on to Big Bar to buy a chunk of ice and a sack of ice cubes. Came back and planted the garden. Bob said that the water ouzel parents were feeding one young one in the nest but another further up the creek.

After lunch I mowed the lawn, then joined the children in running through the sprinkler. Around 3:00 Eric and Marilee Woods arrived for a short visit but they had left Sam home with Helen and Herb, much to Jeffrey’s disappointment. He’d gotten quite attached to him the day before when we’d visited.

Monday was a holiday in place of the traditional Memorial Day. I got up at 6:00 and walked down to the creek. I had a feeling the water ouzel nest was empty. Took off my shoes and waded over to put my hand in and felt its softness, no birds. I found one young one near the old bridge site and one up further, just below the logjam but didn’t find the third one. When an adult gave a warning cry the first young one stopped dipping up and down. It looked just like the rocks. Then, after a minute, it started bobbing again–slowly, but getting faster. It fluttered from one rock to another, acting as if it were tempted to go into the water, pecking at the rock for food.

I went home and fixed breakfast for everyone, washed the dishes and went for a walk with the children, up into the meadow, through the woods, down the old road, coming out where the jeep trail takes off. Back at the house I mowed the orchard, which took a couple of hours. The grass was deep in some places. Fixed a lunch and took it down to the creek where we ate and the children played for a while. Bob built a gently sloping path down by the bank, which was a help. Clarke was delighted because he not only found a “baby” banana slug but also two larger ones that started chomping on his leftover peanut butter sandwich.

That Tuesday was the last day of nursery school, except for the picnic. Becky Kaneen brought two snakes in terrariums, a coral king snake (she called it a mountain king snake) and a gopher snake. She stayed for quite a while and the children really enjoyed holding them and talking to her. Paul Clowdus even kissed the coral king.

Jeffrey brought Alex Belden home with him. Rebecca left her music books at school so I hauled her and all the boys over there and then up to music lessons. Came home and Bob had me do quite a bit of the job of changing the fan belt on the VW bus. Then I went back to get Rebecca. Jane Belden came for Alex around 4:00.

On Thursday we had the nursery school picnic at the Douglas City Campground. We had 26 children there and about 15 adults. The night before I stayed up until 1 a.m. working on certificates for the kids and finished them that morning. The parents gave me a $10 gift certificate to Greenwoods, which I was delighted to have.

Clarke got sick again that evening. Bob came home for dinner and then worked on some bridge stuff before driving out to the ranch to stay overnight and come back in the morning.

I wrote, “I hate projects—everything and everyone is placed beneath the importance of whatever the project is.” But I had married into a family that had a lot of projects going on. I must admit I became more competent and independent as a result of these projects.

Jeffrey’s class took a field trip to Redding to visit a new supermarket.

May 31st I wrote that I had been up and down a lot the night before because of Clarke’s illness. But I managed to get a short nap. When I was writing it was 11 pm and Bob still wasn’t back from the ranch.

“Really feeling fond of the children tonight. I wish I could make them realize how much I love them. Seems as if I spend so much of my time being witchy.”

“Rebecca wept at part of “The Yearling” tonight. I don’t know what I’ll do when we get to the end—I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish because I get so emotionally involved myself. The thing that really got to me tonight was that I felt a part of me in her—we were there together going through that only I wasn’t weeping as my adult self—but I know I won’t be able to keep from it later.”

Florence took Clarke for a couple of hours that day so I could haul kids to the newspaper office. Marcia Crouse helped me. Clarke took a long nap that afternoon and when awake kept telling me about every half hour, “I like you Mommy”. Dr. Breeden made an appointment for him to have an upper GI in Redding the next week. (Dr. Stanford, pediatrician, said he couldn’t find anything wrong.)


This was a little dam in Garden Gulch, left over from mining days.

The first week in June Eric Ohde helped Bob all day Saturday. On Sunday David Winegardner went out with Eric. Right after lunch, just after we’d eaten, I looked up and saw Eric holding his hand up like a torch, blood running down his fingers. I thought, “My God he’s cut his finger off” and went running up. He’d mashed his finger in the gears of the cement mixer, cutting through the nail about three ways. (I can’t imagine how painful that must have been.) I loaded up the kids and took him to Big Bar Ranger Station where one of the men wrapped gauze lightly around it. Drove in to the emergency room at the hospital in Weaverville. Doris and Dave came in and Dr. Nielson patched him up–no broken bones. Then I took the children up to Ohde’s. Linda took care of them while Doris and I drove back out to the ranch. She brought their car and David Winegardner back.

Somewhere during all these chaotic days Rebecca had her 9th birthday party. I’d gotten her a Japanese made canvas suitcase, a wastebasket for her room, a pair of pants,etc. She had a squirrel cake.

And on another day I left Clarke with Linda Lindsey while Rebecca was visiting Ann Marie and Jeffrey was visiting Josh up on Timber Ridge and took a hike up Garden Gulch. I knew it would be several weeks before I would have a chance to be by myself as we were soon going to go to Nehalem, Oregon to visit my parents.

I hiked up Garden Gulch to what earlier that spring had been a rushing, mossy rocked creek. It was dried up except for a few tiny pools here and there, packed with water striders. I found an old jar right at the beginning of the creek. Where I finally turned around I found an old gold pan, which had once hung by a square nail. I took both home with me. Found a place that would be nice to revisit the next spring, a lovely piney flat with a little green meadow. I also found a rattlesnake on a dry hillside. It didn’t rattle or even move until I stomped my feet a lot.

Clarke went to Stephanie’s (Crouse?) birthday party. He was really excited about it. Usually it was his siblings who went to parties.

May 1974

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“Michael Barnes fell off the bars last Thursday and broke both bones in his left arm. I really felt badly about it. Am getting super cautious with the kids now.” Nursery school.

On the 15th I left Clarke with Linda and drove out to the ranch with Doris Ohde. We followed a phone company truck in. He was on his way out when we reached the washout turn. We ate lunch on the lawn and then I drove down to the creek. Doris wanted to walk so she did. I went under the bridge with the camera and took a number of flash pictures of the water ouzels. The parents fed them a number of times. Just the female was feeding them while I was there but when Doris came down we saw the male feeding them as well. The parents seldom flew directly to the nest, almost always lighting on a rock beneath or several rocks away and then working their way up to it. They fed the young by hovering in front of the nest. I didn’t know whether this would be the case if the nest were in a different location. “What amazed me was how the adults could get yet another grub in their beaks without dropping what was already there.” They seemed to need to dip their beaks, with load, into the water fairly frequently.

We’d been having cold, blustery days and frost several times. One day it actually snowed for a few minutes.

One Saturday “we left the boys home with Linda Ohde as a sitter and drove downriver to see Oliver Berglund, who lives across the river and up the hill. He was waiting on this side of the river for us. We crossed on a cable car, sliding across above the jade-green water. There’s a little motor on the car plus a crank so it can be turned by hand also. Rebecca was pretty nervous about going across but handled it quite well. Oliver has a big, beautiful German Shepherd named Storm- not at all the usual nervous variety of shepherd. He has a compact little cabin right on the river by the far end of the cable car and this year has planted a garden there in the river silt. He told us that this last January the water was just inches below the cable car and a hundred foot long log coming down, with a huge root system, just missed him when he was crossing.

We rode in his jeep up to his house. The road is narrow, no wider than he needs for his jeep. It goes up through the trees, winds around the hill for a way, then dips down to what he called his primitive house. The house is an A-frame with extra cupolas frames here and there for extra windows so that every room has a window. He split his own shakes for the roof. Window boxes, painted bright orange, are in front of the lower windows and filled with bright flowers. Rock walls meld the building into the ground.

Inside, it’s quite compact and comfortable, many books, TV, phonograph and electric organ. He has a gas refrigerator, uses a gas generator. This is why he wanted Bob up there—to see if he could feasibly use a pelton wheel. Outside there are bird houses all over—on the house, on trees, etc., many made out of short pieces of tree trunks. The place is swarming with birds–Steller’s jays, hummingbirds, juncos, robins, swallows. He has two hummingbird feeders and a bird feeder for winter use that revolves with the direction of the wind. I also saw quail and chipmunks.

He has bears, deer and raccoons around. He built a pool in the rocks where he keeps trout from the river and can eat some once in a while. The house sits on a cliff top overlooking the highway and river and his property includes a lot of old mine works.

We walked up to his water source on Panther Creek, following ditch grade a good part of the way, a couple of miles, a beautiful walk. Everything mossy. Found lots of Bochniakia growing, I guess on madrone roots. This plant looks like a pinecone. It has no green leaves but does have flowers that bloom in the spring in the bracts, which are reddish brown to dark purplish. The moss near the creek was so thick, like a sponge.

When we got back to the house, Oliver cooked a lunch for us, even though we’d brought a lunch. We sat at his table outside as the wind blew and clouds scudded by. Rebecca and I did some more exploring during the afternoon while he and Bob did their calculations. We left around 5 o’clock. It was a very interesting day and I feel as if I’ve found a kindred spirit in Oliver Berglund up there with his books, and birds and solitude.“ No photos of his place—would have seemed rude.

The next day I went over to Florence and Leonard’s and filled up a garbage can full of horse manure. Bob left around nine with Eric to go to the ranch. We didn’t get away until 11:30. We ate lunch at the creek. Bob and Eric worked down there all day. I raked the garden and spread the fertilizer, which took a couple of hours. Used up the last bit of gas in the mower by mowing. Saved enough branches off the big apple tree from the ground so that I could drag the rest to the brush pile. We left around 5. I showed Rebecca the water ouzel’s nest. Both parents fed the young in the few minutes that we were there.

On May 24th I took Jeffrey and Clarke to Shasta College to see Robin Hood, leaving town around 9:30. Rebecca’s class had gone Monday. It was outside in the amphitheater and was very hot. Fortunately Lee Hanlon had told me it would be and I took an ice chest with packages of ice. The boys ate the ice and drank the water. The program was active and colorful, which helped. Jeffrey took a picture of Robin Hood afterwards. We ate lunch on the campus lawn in front of the Little Theater and got home round 2:30. Rebecca had gone to Florence’s after school so we went to pick her up and then to get groceries.

Clarke had suddenly gotten sick Tuesday and I was really lucky that Doreen McClurg was able to substitute for me at nursery school at the last minuite. Bob left for Bakersfield that day and got back on the 24th, a Friday.

Wednesday morning Linda Lindsey had called to say she was going to take some posters for the Barn out to Trinity Center and would Clarke like to go. They left at 9:30 and rather than wash windows I packed a lunch, finished the dishes and drove over to the trail to take a hike. I found a spot near the creek. I had a hummingbird hover right in front of me and saw a chipping sparrow preening in the top of an oak;and a dark gray lizard, the color of the pile of old mine tailings which were apparently its territory. It was really restful. Then went home and went over to help out with Rebecca’s class.

Thursday we took the nursery school children to the B-Bar-K Ranch. They had a good time. Clarke seemed to enjoy everything—swinging on the rope in the barn, trying to milk a pregnant cow (which shocked some of the children by having normal body functions!). They ate lunch out in the field and played in the sand afterwards.

April and May 1974

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On Sunday, the 21st I noted that a few days earlier I had walked up past Bagley’s and taken the left turn over to Garden Gulch where I crossed and went about ½ mile down an old road. I’d left the children at Linda’s. It was a beautiful day although clouding over on the way home. Indian warriors, shooting stars, fawn lilies and houndstongue were in bloom. I found one oak leaf- covered slope along a little creek covered with a mixture of fawn lilies and shooting stars. Saw quail, deer, a jackrabbit and a bird, which I thought was a black-throated gray warbler. Picked up the children from Linda’s and they immediately began fighting. Rebecca stormed off to her room as soon as we got home. “Thank goodness for her room—a refuge!”

April was a difficult month. Clarke was sick with stomach problems a lot and Brigitte Bayless substituted for me at nursery school a few times. Aunt Nell broke her hip and had to have surgery.

Rebecca spent most of one day at the Myers’. She swung on the rope through the sprinkler, slid in the mud, etc. Clarke and I walked down to meet her and walk home with her. Jeffrey had spent the day with Bob at Big Bar. Originally they were going to be gone just a few hours but Bob called to say that Scoot Miller was working on the road down there so they stayed and got home a little after seven. We had pizza for dinner.

I began painting the old desk that had been sitting on the back porch for two years. Planned to paint it green and then antique it. Kathy Barnes, Don, Chris and Tisa came by to drop off the Ohde’s porta- crib that I’d loaned them the previous year. Bob went to the ranch again and when he got back told Jeff all about what he and Scoot had done. The time spent with his dad the day before was really good for Jeffrey. Bob left the next day for San Francisco and then going on to Bakersfield. He was taking a computer training class. He’d get back Tuesday.

On the evening of the 23rd I wrote that I’d just finished two posters to use for the elementary school open house the next night. They were to help recruit people to assist with a volunteer enrichment program. If parents didn’t volunteer then the school wouldn’t get the $30,000 it wanted. “I’m not sure which is more important to the school, the status of the money or doing something for the kids.” Such cynicism.Jeannie Meyer was in charge of this project, for which I was grateful.

I arranged for two different fieldtrips for the nursery school that week, one to the shoe repair shop and one to the cheese shop.

Rebecca and Jeffrey helped me move the completed desk into the house and it looked “surprisingly well”.

Monday night, instead of getting a last-minute sitter, I took the children to my singing class. “They behaved so well—I was very proud of them. We have a lot of fun in that class and I think that all the laughter, along with the music, helped keep them from getting too bored.”

Bob got home Tuesday night, and Wednesday night he went downriver because Scoot had called to say he’d finished our road, much sooner than expected. It was going to cost $900 instead of $1,225 so now Bob would have more for the culverts, “thank goodness”.

I went to the Behavior Modification class but decided to quit because it was too boring. Bob had to go to San Francisco again for the computer training class but got home the 2nd night.


Elementary school from near Lowden Park

The elementary school open house was on a Friday night. The children were quite excited about it and Jeffrey was disappointed that Bob would have to miss it because of getting back later. We were just about to leave, after attending, when Rebecca came up to tell me that Mrs. Rourke said Bob was there. He’d gotten home earlier than expected. We finally tracked him down and Jeffrey was delighted. Rebecca gave him a quick tour of her room and then he went with Jeffrey. Rebecca, Clarke and I went with Doris—Rebecca and Clarke did. I followed them over to the high school where Doris left her car for Dave and Eric who were at a track meet. We gave her a ride home. I had a cup of coffee and we left for home. Bob brought Jeff home and then went over to see his parents.

I was wanting a hiking day but noted that there was correspondence to catch up on, bills to pay, windows to wash and I wanted to get out to the ranch before summer and paint the floors.

“Peter’s name was in the S.F. Chronicle today in connection with some logging that is being done on both sides of a narrow strip of redwoods in the Redwood National Park.”

“Wednesday, May 1st, Bob left for San Francisco again. He left later than he meant to and was driving the stake-sided truck to Redding. He was due to get back Friday afternoon. I took Clarke to Linda’s, ran some errands and then went home to write a Forest Forum letter. I was still trying to run a mile in the backyard now and then, numerous trips back and forth. From there I went over to the elementary school to get Jeff and take him to lunch. Driving down Oregon Street I could see two circles of children over at the school. It was the first grades, including Jeff, holding crepe paper for May Poles (Jeannie Meyer’s idea). I got there in time to watch them going around and to reset the phonograph a couple of times. So the two rooms had a delayed lunch hour. I took Jeffrey down to the Cheese Shop. Bob joined us in a few minutes. “It’s really kind of a nice place. The lunchroom has several tables with matching padded benches and covers, hanging plants and a Winnie the Pooh mural on one wall. Bob and I had avocado, bean sprout and cream cheese sandwiches; Jeffrey cheese and pastrami. Bob dropped Jeffrey off at school. I went home and then went back to the school and worked in the library with some of the children from Rebecca’s class.”

After school Rebecca left a May basket for Florence and Leonard and gave Linda a walnut shell stuffed with cotton with a flower lying across it. Jeff, when he got home from school, wanted to leave a May basket at Kelly’s, which he did, knocking on the door and then running as Mr. Kelly came to the door.

After we picked up Clarke from Linda’s, Rebecca and I scrubbed on the old desk that Florence had given her. Florence and I got it out of their barn and cleaned it up some and I brought it home Monday. A Mr. Drinkwater had made it for a Van Matre who would have been 90 in 1974. It had a hinged top and a hole for an inkwell. But it needed sanding and painting very badly. Florence had a 100-year-old chair she was going to get fixed to go with it. The desk was even made with square nails!

Bob called and said his hurried departure had not been necessary. What he thought was his airplane departure time was actually the time he had needed to leave Weaverville.

May 14th was the next time I’d written. The previous Friday I’d gone out to the ranch with our dog and painted the upstairs floor, the stairs, and the kitchen and dining areas. It was very pretty out there.

The following Monday I was able to take a walk. Clarke had been sick again and Brigitte had worked for me. But Monday I walked. The oak trees were leafed out, carpets of green grass beneath them with pussy ears seeming to float on the grass. Brushed two ticks off after sitting down for a while.

On Saturday Rebecca went to Pearl Gott’s for a piano practice session and then over to Florence and Leonard’s. Robin Meyer went also as I had promised Jeannie I’d take care of her while they took Ann Marie to Redding for surgery. Then the girls went to the convalescent hospital so Rebecca and others of Pearl Gott’s students could play music for them. They went to a Historical Society meeting with Florence and Leonard that night and to Kathleen’s recital.

Eric Ohde drove out to the beginning of our road Saturday and rode up to the ranch with Bob and Jeffrey. Clarke, the dog and I arrived about an hour later. We ate lunch about 2:30. Eric worked on the garden all afternoon, wiring the fence together, taking it down and rototillering the garden. I finished painting the downstairs floor. Bob did some measuring for culverts. We fed Eric and Bob took him back to his car while I got the boys to bed and washed the dishes by candlelight as we were trying to conserve gas. Sunday was chilly and windy. I mowed the lawn and part of the orchard while Bob worked down at the bridge site. After lunch we packed and drove down to the creek where I helped Bob for about an hour surveying. I kept hearing what sounded like young water ouzels and I discovered a nest under the bridge. It was made of moss and sat on a loose piece of bark hanging from a log. There appeared to be three young ones. I tried to get some pictures by standing in the stream but it was pretty dark. The parent birds were quite busy hauling food but wouldn’t feed them with anyone down there. I took the boys closer to see the nest too.

We got to town about 5:30. Unloaded, changed clothes (mine and the boys) and then went to Florence and Leonard’s. From there, in two cars, we all drove out to Cedar Stock for dinner. The dogwood on the way out was spectacular. Mother’s Day I guess?