December 1 (1978, 1987, 2000, 2005)
Moran's “Giant's Gap” Etching ~ Equinoctial Storm

12/1/78 [...]

~ later in the morning, the storm is breaking up, and the central doug fir is gleaming sunshine from a thousand needles and droplets, a swarm of stars, very pointillistic [...] steam rises off my cabin.”

12/1/87 Rain. A warm cabin, a gentle rain, a foggy canyon.

So: no hike to the North Fork, but a successful search for sugar pine cones did ensue... ”

Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2000 10:54:10 -0800
To: Terry Davis
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Re: NF Meeting
X-Attachments: :Macintosh HD:18:Moran Giant Gap.jpg:

Terry, attached is a poor digital image of most of an engraving by Thomas Moran of Giant Gap, as published in the 1878 Pacific Guidebook. Note the train rounding the curve at Casa Loma and the eagle.

The paintings of Lorenzo Latimer of the Royal Gorge as seen from Latimer Point (about a mile east of Wabena Point) I have never been able to find. One or more may be in museum collections. Snow Mountain was sometimes called Bald Mountain, also Eagle Cliff, in the olden days.

Equinoctial Storm Hits Gold Run!
[North Fork Trails blogpost, December 1, 2005: ]
Hi all,

I have some diverse material.

Re the "Equinoctial Storms" of diarists I.T. Coffin and Josephine Freeman—rain storms marking the end of the summer dry season, and the beginning of the winter wet season, around the autumnal equinox. OK. I am reminded that Julius Caesar noticed such storms, in Book Five of his De Bello Gallico (Rome, 50 B.C.).

Caesar and his legions had crossed to Britain and subdued the warlike natives, wild Celts, fighting from taloned chariots in blue war paint; the Romans prevailed, hostages were taken, the summer waned, and it was time to return to Gaul. Confronting the passage across the Channel with so many troops, he worried "... , ne anni tempore a navigatione excluderetur, quod aequinoctium suberat, ... ," which I freely translate as "that the time of the year might exclude navigation, because the Equinox was near."

So this business of the Equinoctial Storm has an ancient heritage.

Recently I rec'd a message from friend Tim Lasko that, in attempting to visit Canyon Creek, using the Paleobotanist Trail (PBT) to cross the Gold Run Diggings, he and his friends had found the road into the marvelous pine grove off Garrett Road, where one always parked to use the PBT, blocked by a large log, with a "no trespassing" sign nearby. Tim wrote, "It was my understanding that this was BLM land. Were you aware of this and is this BLM land? I will probably try to locate a BLM office on Monday and give them a call. Any idea who a contact would be?"

To which I replied, more or less, "Hey, don't you ever read my many lengthy emails, I wrote all about the log and the sign and the property line, last winter." And I directed him to Deane Swickard at the Folsom office of the BLM.

Tim called Deane and Deane said he would look into it and get back to Tim.

Apparently, though, in making a number of inquiries about the situation at Gold Run, from many sources, Tim found that the American River Conservancy (ARC) is making an effort to find funding to purchase at least some of the "800 acres now for sale," in the Gold Run Diggings.

I knew of this, and enjoyed a conversation with Alan Ehrgott, who heads up ARC, a few weeks ago. I guess the upshot of all this is that there is hope for Gold Run.

Yes, the aggregate mining interests are trying to buy the 800 acres. Yes, the issue of mercury contamination in the old mines clouds everything.

But don't count the ARC out. So, I say, many thanks to Alan Ehrgott and the ARC, and to Deane Swickard and the BLM, for moving forward. I only wish the BLM would set its sights upon the entire 800 acres, not just the southerly portion within the "Gold Run Addition" of the "North Fork American Wild & Scenic River [corridor]."

It could be that the one thing really needed, to go after the more northern part of the 800 acres, is a non-profit environmental organization of some kind, willing to accept title to these particular lands. (For the BLM, currently, does not wish to take title to these more-northern lands.)

To accept title is to accept, possibly, some measure of liability for existing mercury contamination on the property. The remediation of such contamination might be very expensive. Hence there is risk.

I guess that's all I have for now.


Russell Towle

Date: Thu Dec 01 15:41:53 2005
To: Andrew Bridges
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Re: Equinoctial Storm Hits Gold Run!
>Many thanks for all your emails.  The New York Times and other newspapers have recently raised the alarm on a little-noticed provision in pending federal legislation that would allow holders of mining claims on federal land to purchase the land associated with the mining claims for something like $1000/acre.  Are you on top of this issue, and do you know how it might affect the North Fork?  Here's an article from Reuters.  It's scary to me.
Hey Andrew,

Just the kind of legislation on expects from this Congress. Especially from a laissez-faire Nevada guy.

It's become steadily harder to patent mining claims over the years. People like me want the 1872 law rescinded, not strengthened; we want to stop land patents, not encourage them.

Heck, many of the worst problems right here in Placer County have to do with lands patented way back when under the 1872 law. Gold Run, for instance. How do you think that 800 acres became private land? It was patented.

I don't know what to say about the House bill, except of course I oppose it.


Russell Towle

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