November 30 (1977, 1979, 1980, 1986, 1999, 2001)
Ascent of Spooky Tooth
or, “I grip the rocks tightly when on thousand-foot cliffs.”

11/30/77   sunrise, moody ridge. [...] we went out to moody ridge to see the Big Oak grove near lovers leap. i took my tape measure and we measured some of the huge oaks and pines. the oaks were black oaks. the largest measured thirty feet in circumference and was a double tree, with two main trunks fused together for about six feet above the ground. the tree trunk measured twelve feet in one direction and five in the other. we also measured a 20' circumference and several fifteen footers. also several 15' circ. ponderosa pines.”

11/30/79   [...] jon came and picked me up and we went over to put the finishing touches on my new truck—all that was left was to final-adjust the clutch and final-adjust the hood. soon jon noticed that the clutch was... ”
[The entry continues in the scanned page below, in which  Russell goes on to describe his climb of ‘Spooky Tooth’—which he'd previously dubbed ‘absolute ultimate spire’ in his labeled drawing of the Pinnacles Ridge on 11/18/79. This is the furthest north spire of the ridge, which forms the southern rib of Giant Gap. See it also in the photograph on that page; it is the furthest pinnacle from the camera.]
Click to enlarge.
Water flow calculations, considering hydroelectric power potential of his spring flow.
November 30, 1979. Click to enlarge.
 [Russell Towle's journal]

11/30/80   Morning. Fog and rain. And the end of an epoch. Finally, after years of living without, I have a shower. And I took my first one yesterday afternoon ~ washed my hair and shaved and soaked up and scrubbed down. So good! So good!

However, every silver lining… It still won't thermosiphon, and my primitive ram pump—a manually operated ram-pump (cold faucet at sink)—is not satisfactory. Although it did lead to whimsical speculation that if I ever did want to pump the water through the Holly instead of relying on thermosiphon, I could install a double-acting ram pump driven by either overflow water from my present tank or, for continuous operation, by water from the other big spring. Only drawback would be the clanking sound of a ram in operation. And the discharge water—where to dump it?


Just tried to bleed possible air in the system by opening the union slightly at the check valve. Warm water came through, no bubbles. But still, no circulation unless I do the faucet trick.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/30/86 Sunday morning at sunrise; skies have cleared and today promises to be heavenly.


Ah, well, it is going to be a great day. Last night I actually slept. Today I may go out to Lovers Leap with Bill and friends [...]

Had to park the Toyota out by the tracks last night. Too slippery, I have absolutely zero tread on my back wheels. Hope good ol' [name] hasn't thrashed it or something.

I'm somehow not prepared to endure another winter here under the same old conditions, but there is no alternative in sight.“

[Russell Towle's journal]



The Desert Star timber harvest has been stopped for now. Mercury contamination.


Today is stormy. A lot of son this November tho.”

[Russell Towle's journal]


A stormy period, with some snow on the ground and more on its way a few days ago Ed Stadum and I hiked the Canyon Creek Trail down to the North Fork, Ed's first time. He is over from Austria, returning soon.

Night-before-last, one of my weird nightmares about roads and houses in Green Valley, such as I have had for over twenty years. This one was worse than most for it included the death of my son Greg, with one of my “can't turn the light on”-type scenes, in which I was paralyzed, unable to help Greg, and could only manage a kind of hoarse moan or croak of agony. Also in the dream, the road into Green Valley had marvelous blocks of gleaming serpentine, like polished jade with little veins and seams of a white mineral, all as glossy and rich as could be; and the roadcut had penetrated the veins of “sparkly rock” or drusy quartz which seem somewhat common.

Recently there have been rumors of someone buying a parcel or parcels in Green Valley and asking about building a road down there.

A wonderful day at home with Janet and Greg yesterday. Janet is 12 now. So tall.

I am transcribing articles from the 1862-63 DF Enquirer. Another book of excerpts in mind, but this one, with more of my own comments and explanations.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

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