August 31 (1986, 1987, 2003)
A Cadillac Adventure with Bill and Ed

8/31/86   Night; home after a day with Ed and Bill, walking up Tinker's Knob. It was a very nice day. Bill got a little burned out; his feet have still not recovered from the serum reaction to the rabies shot from when he was lightly gored by a wild pig in Italy a year ago. We drove up in Bill's Caddy, over Donner summit and down Highway 89 to a certain road our map told us would lead towards the Knob. It became too rough for the Caddy, and we parked it to walk, unaware that six miles or so lay between us and our goal. Ed forged ahead as is his wont, Bill and I bringing up the rear. It was pleasant walking through the woods of lodgepole pine, red fir, western white pine, and finally mountain hemlock and whitebark pine as we neared the Knob. The woods were second or third growth for most of the way, with timber harvests slated for the last virgin timber at the highest elevations, over 8000'. Bill's back, legs, and feet gave him increasing trouble during the hike, and he was washed out by the time he reached the Sierra crest. Ed and I made it to the summit and signed in, finding a razor blade and straw for sniffing cocaine in the little tin can within the summit cairn. The view was tremendous of course, embracing Lake Tahoe, etc. etc. and I was intrigued to see a very promising petroglyph site at (would I have ever guessed) Painted Rock. I should check it out soon.

Falcons were flying near the Knob, which Ed and Bill found very exciting. We watched them for a while before starting back… Ed went ahead so as to bring the Caddy closer to Bill and me, and succeeded admirably. We were way up some obscure logging road when we saw the Caddy barreling toward us in a cloud of dust; it pulled up, the door flew open, and the dulcet strains of Luciano Pavarotti blasted out at us: singing some Neapolitan song about the sun over the Ganges. We descended the dusty miles in comfort, accompanied by Pavarotti and the sound of the Caddy bottoming out ever and again. Upon reaching Highway 89, we headed for the River Ranch, where everyone seemed to know Bill, and the waitresses were young and shapely, and we downed a few beers, ate some nachos, and then drove down to the Monte Vista to meet Tina for dinner. Everyone (but me) was too pooped out to keep the party going, so here I am, alone, at 11:08 P.M., sketching out the day's adventures. It was really very nice.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

8/31/87   Monday morning. The weather has been extremely hot; every day thunderstorms develop over the high country, the cloud cover extends westward, and breezes arise which take the edge off the sweltering heat. I spent most of Saturday with Alex & Teri & Russell, going to Canyon Creek for a swim and a building up of dams [...]

Bill is up this weekend; haven't seen him yet, but will stop by this morning. [...] Maybe we'll go out and about, to Crystal Lake, or?”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Sunrise over the North Fork American River canyon, the morning after a summer storm.
August 31, 2003.

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