October 27 (1975, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1987, 1988)
Trust me, it's all TRUE!

10/27/75    [...] i doubt that i shall go out to canyonland today. […] the difficulty of getting materials into cabañita, some two hundred yards from the end of the road, has got me considering the merits of plywood and a design which would use it efficiently. cabañita will probably be an irregular polygon, in order to make best use of the site, and will be situated directly beneath a leaning digger pine. a large, leaning, digger pine. Though it is their habit to lean, and this one is in vigorous maturity, still i kind of shudder at the thought that one day the beautiful cabañita i will build may be crushed. i could cut the tree down, but that goes against the grain with me.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/27/76   early morning, canyonland. winds were strong all night but have abated now. yesterday was sparkling clear… i have about 2/3 of one side of the roof covered the t & g is going on easier than i had hoped […] ~ what slows me down the most is going back and forth from the roof to the ground. so it looks like a couple of days more before i'll have the wood nailed on, and then a couple more days beyond that before i'll have the 90 lb. felt on and it will shed the rain. […]

i quit work about an hour before sunset and took a walk over to the large bald spot near the green valley trail, on the ridge dividing ‘my’ ravine from the next large one to the east. an interesting spot, in which the volcanic ash layer forms a cliff band, a line of white bluffs, resting directly on the old serpentine bedrock, which in that area is laced through and through with veins of quartz, much of it with a kind of sugary texture. the vegetation changes abruptly from the volcanic ash/mudflow on the up side to the serpentine beneath. upon reaching the serpentine the black oaks are left behind, as are the ponderosa and sugar pines, and also the deerbrush. instead one finds the digger pine, the buckbrush, toyon, laurel, coffeeberry-of-the-grey-leaves, and other serpentine-adapted plants. canyon live oak does ok in serpentine.

the ridge top is bald there from a fire that looks to have come through within the last 10 years. it commands a wide view that ranges from my building site, across the rest of moody ridge to lovers leap, the giant gap spur, the whole other side of the canyon and upcanyon to the crest, as well as much of sawtooth and casa loma ridges. a nice spot. there is a grove of large digger pines a short ways down from the ash-bluffs at one point, where a couple of months ago while dave and tim and i were gathering and eating the pine nuts, i found a small mano-stone & grinding platform used by the indians in the same task. yesterday on the bluffs above the pines i found many small flakes, evidencing that the men had reclined there and fashioned arrowheads etc. long ago.

late afternoon. god i'm tired: climbing up and down off the roof all day, carrying 2 x 6, sawing—i should be a strong-man and work until the light is gone, but i start making mistakes and hurting myself, so i call a halt. it is fine, also, to sit and watch the low-angle light on the south wall of the giant gap. a train intones its train mantrum up the canyon. grey squirrel scolds. [...]

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/27/77   morning. the sun is just breaking through the clouds. when i awoke the clouds filled the canyon, and i couldn't see past the doug fir below the cabin. fog. rained a little during the night ~ in fact, i was awoken as it began by a loud clap of thunder, which seemed to go on forever in the canyon ~ i should listen closely and see if i can identify how the sound behaves in the canyon when such a clap happens ~ i wonder if sound waves ‘refract’ around obstructions as ocean waves do around points of land, such as año nuevo. scattering of sound may be so predominant that i'll never be able to identify individual reflector units—such as the lovers leap bulge, or the opposite wall of the canyon ~ but with a watch, and attentive listening, it may be possible.

i saw several flashes of light through the clouds after the thunderbolt woke me up, but the sounds were distant and weak. the clouds lifted slowly this morning, i suppose as gradual solar warming raised the dew point ~ and have decked out near the canyon rim now, except on shady slopes. in fact, it seems to be clearing up, and a walk would be nice.

~ late in the day. the clouds seem to have thickened again now that the sun is low in the sky. it is cool outside, i'd guess in the high thirties. i just threw another log on the fire [...]

~ flights of a dozen or so band-tailed pigeons criss-cross the slopes from time to time in their classical autumnal manner. i hope it rains. that last night hardly laid the dust.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/27/81   Morning. A storm comes apart at the seams and patches of blue are revealed. Fog scampers about the canyon, then stops for a while.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/27/87   morning; classical music, coffee, clouds streak the sky, and another day of brush-clearing beckons. [...] Later. Afternoon. A moody sky hangs over Moody Ridge. I am tired after a few hours of wielding a chainsaw, muscle-tired. [...]

I've not a penny, and no gas in my tank, so the week looks bleak. A little spaghetti, bread, cheese, a few apples; not enough; oh well…”

[Russell Towle's journal]

10/27/88   morning, with high and filmy clouds filtering the sunshine. [...]

Gay and I drove upcountry yesterday, and saw a bizarre and horrible site, a dead bear being jumped on and bit by the dogs which had treed it, their masters, grinning, bearded, slouch hats, pickups.

We went to Crystal Lake and enjoyed the afternoon along the granite shores, sunny, warm.

Tried to get Eric to go to Shangri-La, the hidden valley which hangs on the canyon wall near sugar pine point in the North Fork canyon. ..”

[Russell Towle's journal]

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