November 8 (1975, 1984, 1985, 1986, 2002)

11/8/75 a fine sunny day. stayed up 'til two-thirty in the morning last night reading ken kern's book ‘the owner-built home’—quite good, lots of ideas, but sometimes frustrating because it does not enter into as much detail describing methods as i would like. he had some interesting things to say about the site of a home and the use of windows: 1) he questioned placing a structure on the only level ground available, making the point that it is just such a spot which is better left for an outdoor patio space, while the house could be easily built on a slope; and 2) he questioned, in a location (such as cabañita's) where there is an impressive view in one or two directions, in particular south and east, the tendency to use as much glass as is structurally feasible on these walls, saying “a house so constructed speaks to me of arrogance and greedy self-importance."

as far as the actual location of cabañita site my primary consideration was view. the canyon of the north fork of the american river. if i had my way i would cantilever part of the cabin out over the cliff in order to make the view even wider and more extensive. another consideration was my doubt of the stability of adjacent slopes; i am not sure but that soil creep and outright landslide may be the status of these slopes, whereas at the edge of the cliff there is serpentine bedrock to found the cabin upon. however, the slopes between the cliff band and the mule trail are underlain by volcanic ash, which may be a fairly stable clay. andesite boulders are continually rolling downslope, and cabañita is situated in such a way as to be protected from these… on the other hand, a site set a little ways back from the cliff band would be much better screened from view ~ though that works both ways.

as far as windows, i must confess i was planning to do just what kern disparages, and have as much glass as possible on the south, east, and south-west sides. well, not as much ~ only above the four-foot level. but i think i should take another look at the site before i start setting piers. another feeling i have is that it might be better to wait until spring to build, and not rush it, take some care and do it right. might be better.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/8/84 Stormy morning… snow lies sodden on the ground, rain showers down, fog muffles and obliterates. Storm after storm after storm, with hardly a break.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

November 8, 1985

[…]   It is cold outside; our blissful fall weather has left, and a storm advances.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Excerpts from a letter to Pete McCloskey, November 8, 1986
Dear Pete,

Long time no see; a friend sent me a newspaper article about you from the L. A. Daily Journal.


Actually, several things caught my eye. That you simultaneously supported [illegible]; that you represent black panthers and women in tree houses; and something about a landmark case which halted plans to string a massive power line.

Such plans are afoot locally; SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District of Rancho Seco ill-fame) and Sierra Pacific Power (Reno) plan to make a 400,000-volt connection across the Sierra Nevada, upon towers 120 feet high, allowing the two utilities to sell power back and forth at rates belw those offered by P.G.&E.

Several routes have been studied along and between highways 50 and 80. The “preferred” route parallels Highway 80 about one mile north of Dutch Flat, and another route would actually cross Moody Ridge (where I live).

Public hearings will commence in 1987, with construction scheduled immediately thereafter. There is talk of fait accompli.

I would imagine that the Sierra Club is exploring legal options already. Perhaps they've been in touch with you; it seems to me that your background would uniquely qualify you to at least point the way. The sentiment around these parts is to Stop the Intertie. The question is, how? Anyway, I thought I'd apprise you of the situation. I've included a little material about it.

As far as I'm concerned, we should run all those ugly power lines underground. And get better at conserving energy.

We've had a spectacular indian summer here in Dutch Flat. I've been getting out and hiking the high country a lot, visiting petroglyphs and climbing mountains. Heard you were in Whitney area this summer. I spent the night up there once, an October full moon, after hiking the High Sierra Trail from Giant Forest. The upper-Kern/Whitney area is fantastic cross-country ski terrain, was in there a couple of years ago.

Incidentally, we now have a nascent museum in Dutch Flat. I was wondering if you would permit a little digging in Chinatown to accumulate artifacts for the museum display. In Dutch Flat's glory days its Chinese population was the largest (or second largest) ousted China itself. The museum currently has one opium bottle on display. Speaking of which: I was driving past Chinatown, saw what appeared to be a huge hole but was only a hollow in some brambles, and while waling over to check it out, found this enclosed opium bottle sparkling on the ground. It had been fused to a glass rod along with other bottles before being snapped off for use.

Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 11:25:47 -0800
To: North_Fork_Trails
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Canyon Creek, Indiana Hill

Hi all,

Today I rec'd this message from Tim Carroll, of Folsom BLM. He informs me that someone is camping by the big tunnel on the Canyon Creek Trail. I haven't been in there for about two months. Also, that an exploratory trench near a historic reservoir has been filled, at least partially.
Hi Russell,

We have met before.  I am the geologist on staff at the BLM Folsom Field Office.  This past Wednesday (11/06/02), I accompanied USGS personnel Charlie Alpers and Trish Von Phul on a visit to the Gold Run drain tunnel outlet at Canyon Creek.  We took sediment and soil samples and collected data related to the Hg contamination problem there.  At the outlet, a camp site has been developed that has been under use for some time.  The occupant was not present, but his personal property was there.  If possible, could you ask around to determine who has been camping there?  If you could encourage him to pack up his stuff and leave, that would be most appreciated.  Our camping limit is 14 days.  (I have cc'd this email to our Ranger, Drew Abrams.)

That same day I took Dan Lusby, our heavy equipment operator, to the exploratory trench left open by Gold Run Properties.  As you recall, this trench was dug with a backhoe in the floor of a reservoir (site) north of Indiana Ravine and near an historic stacked rock retaining wall.  We have attached the reclamation bond and had planned to backfill the trench using a backhoe, but determined that we could just as easily fill it in by hand using a shovel resulting in a lot less impact to the area. Dan spent several hours doing just that. BLM considers the reclamation of this site to be adequate and will be closing the case involving Gold Run Properties' plan of operations.  All but about a cubic yard of material was shovelled back into the trench.  You and/or your volunteers are more than welcome to shovel this last yard back into the trench just as long as you do not disturb the rock wall nearby.  I'll leave that up to you.


Russell Towle

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