November 10 (1975, 1977, 1985, 1986, 1862)
Dread Winter Steps Nearer

11/10/75 rain, rain, rain. and much wind. […] i have just about given up completely on constructing cabañita this fall. a smaller structure, situated in another spot, is still feasible. i've been turning over semi-cave sod roof ideas in my mind again, along the lines of what lora and i were discussing last summer. there is a wash-out between boulderfield and cabañita that i've been wondering how to stabilize, as some fine firs and pines are poised on its very edge, and if headward erosion continues, as it must, they are doomed. a plan of the washout as seen from above would resemble a U, with the open end facing into the canyon. if i could build up some kind of walls within and backfill against them, and roof it over just below grade, then bring in sod to cover… problems would be: an effective moisture barrier for walls, and a heavy-duty roof to handle 8 inches of sod and 3 feet of snow. also light. the ‘U’ is open to the south-by-southeast. hmmm. i would like to go out there today, but it is too wet, i think, i would never make it in on the dirt roads ~ or would i? the sun is coming out.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/10/77   before dawn at moody ridge. The high cirro-cumulus that have laced the sky since monday persist, and show beautiful colors as the dawn approaches.

yesterday i began to stain my cabin gray. this morning i suppose i'll continue for a while and then go over to neil's and check if he is still into a giant gap pinnacles expedition. it's around new moon these days.

on my walk yesterday i saw abundant signs of fire on the green valley trail ridge ~ it looks as though within the past twenty years a rather intense fire swept up the slope. i should try to find out from lora's mother when it happened. her family owned this land from 1938 to 1975, so she may remember.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Saturday, the 10th  [November 1985]

snowing heavily and steadily. began just after sunset yesterday. i'll have to chain up to go anywhere. maybe just hang out here in the cabin. [...]

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/10/86   morning. monday morning. sun, coolness, clarity, sparkling live oak leaves to the east. And everyday dread winter steps nearer.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

An excerpt from Russell's book, “The Dutch Flat Chronicles", concerning Lost Camp ~

Dutch Flat Enquirer
[from our own correspondent]
Dutch Flat, Nov. 10, 1862.

Mr. Editor:—After an absence of three weeks from your columns, which period I was traveling through the mineral and agricultural districts on both divides, I again claim the attention of your readers. Though my abilities and compilations may not equal, in flow of language, some of the more celebrated historians, it will nevertheless be as reliable. I have visited Lost Camp, Blue Bluff, Green Valley, Euchre Bar, Humbug Cañon, Damascus, Forks House, Michigan Bluff, Bath, Forest Hill, Todd’s Valley, Yankee Jim’s, Wisconsin Hill and Iowa Hill, and will speak of them in their order as arranged. It will be necessary for the reader to understand that this series will give the main features of the several localities as they were in the latter part of October combining, of course, all further matters of interest that it is possible to obtain from reliable sources.

Lost Camp. This Camp was established in the early days of California and derived its name, as I am told, from an emigrant train having encamped at this place during a severe snow storm, and being scarce of provisions, a party started out in search of “grub” and were unable, for some days, to find the spot where their unfortunate comrades were actually starving to death—hence the name—Lost Camp. This Camp lies about ten miles in a northerly direction from Dutch Flat. The road, most of the distance, is good, and can be rode over by wagon from six to seven months in the year. There are some four or five small valleys of fine agricultural land, better soil I have not seen in the State, through and along-side of which this road passes; one farm or ranch of which contains 160 acres, and is owned by Mr. J.L. Herbert. There has been a considerable quantity of fruit raised in this section this year, but the main product has been potatoes, of which product, I am told, three ranches will furnish in the neighborhood of 150 tons.

There has been considerable mining done at Lost Camp, but from some cause, yet unknown, no great amounts have been realized. This Camp is pretty well deserted at present. The cabins (about twenty), of the first quality, and presenting quite a new appearance, are nearly all tenantless. There are but two families residing here, Mr. Gillson and Mr. Coyn, who appear to enjoy the life in a “Woodland Cot” very contentedly. There is but one of the many hydraulic claims (Mr. Harkness’) to be worked this winter, and it promises a large return for money and labor expended upon the works, as he owns his own ditch which furnishes an overabundance of water. The single feature of water alone, when we calculate 400 inches a day at 15 cents per inch making $60 per day, $350 per week for water savings, we have quite a dividend on this commodity alone. This claim, so I am informed by Mr. Gillson, is now about ready for water, the “telegraph” up, flumes and sluices arranged, etc. Mr. Pause and partner are working in one of the small runs,  about five hundred yards from town, and are taking out from $8 to $18 per day to the man. The gold is coarse and of fine quality.

There is one other important fact connected with this locality. The residents hereabouts have arranged to have a trail cut so as to shorten the distance from that place to Onion Valley, besides making it easier for man and beast to make the trip. It is also quite certain that a trading post will be established at this point next spring, which will materially add to the importance of this place.

I had a hearty shake of the hand and “powerful” chat with your old friend Fred. King, the presiding genius of the “Washington” Market. He fills the bill exactly—furnishing everything from a cut behind the ears to “Ox tail.” In connection with this I am happy to learn that “Old Fred” owns an interest in the celebrated Louisiana Quartz Lode, lying on the south-west branch of the North Fork of the American river. It has been reported rich.
Mr. Gillson and lady, and the residents generally of this locality, will accept thanks for the courtesy and attention extended to the subscriber while there.


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