December 9 (1983, 1985, 1986, 1987)
“A platinum-blonde and colorfully clothed engine of destruction”

12/9/83   now the rain lashes at the cabin [...]

I did finally get through to Fred Yeager about Lovers Leap and my fears concerning nearby development. He suggested I write a letter to the Board of Supervisors, with an appended petition. I have composed a draft but wish to discuss it and edit it with others before I fly it. This project may end up requiring a lot of time ~ already I've spent hours on the petition. My vision is that the private lands adjacent to Lovers Leap be acquired by Placer County in association with BLM, the Forest and the state, to create a park or primitive area. Along with the park I see the need for zoning to restrict development on the rim of the canyon. Buried within this project is the potential that directing County attention towards Moody Ridge might result in problems for the owners of illegal cabins (such as, me) ( and Jon) (and Dave, Jimmy, Kramer's, Red, etc. etc.)”

[Russell Towle's journal]

December 9, 1985


Cold! It snowed yesterday at sunset, about two inches, then cleared; my waterline is frozen, can't make any more coffee. Oh well, I guess I could go outside and get water from the garden hose. It rarely freezes. I'll try. Then I want to write about Julius Caesar, Haley's Comet, long-haired Gaul (Gallia Comatus), the moon's effect on human philosophical perspective, crystal tresses and raining blood and graves yielding up their dead and ghosts squeaking and gibbering in the streets.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

12/9/86   Morning, sun, a warm day ahead…

So: met Eric and his sons Zane (almost seven) and Jasper (almost two) at the Gold Run Café, Sunday morning, as planned. The strong winds persisted, but the Pickering Bar trail faces south, and we tramped merrily down, Eric pausing from time to time to take photographs of Giant Gap. The trail is steep, and follows the crest of a ridge laced with massive quartz veins. At the head of the trail is a messy gold miner's camp, with several broken-down vehicles, trash, etc. etc. Two messy miners were there, perched like vultures on their little lawn chairs, when we returned.

But Pickering Bar: large Pleistocene terrace(s), the river having entered a portion of the canyon which widens slightly, with probably a lesser gradient (than Giant Gap) as well, so that here at last some fragment of the river's bed load could find a place to rest… the terraces could probably be roughly dated. I suspect they represent different episodes of glaciation, the older, stronger.

Water-polished bedrock is a conspicuous feature at Pickering Bar. We found a bend in the river with large expanses of polished rock and a tiny circle of sand, Jasper's playpen. Zane and I had a wonderful time hopping and running from rock to rock; he's a very bright boy, and very coordinated, potentially my equal in rock hopping, when he matures (and that's saying a lot); I also introduced him to the subject of vampire farts, right circular cones, Archimedes, quartz crystals, and so on.…

We made sand sculptures in our hollow-of-the-sand-druids, and Eric photographed Jasper in the act(s) of destroying them. Jasper wreaked havoc upon right circular cones, right regular pyramids, drawings of polar zonohedra, magical mountains crowned with jewels of dried papaya: Jasper, unflinching, cheerfully destroyed them all. Finally we filled the tiny stage with sand sculptures, turned Jasper loose, and stood back to record precious moments in the History of Man: the ghost of Plato himself hovered nervously in the background while a platinum-blonde and colorfully clothed engine of destruction, far from imbibing deep draughts at this fountain of geometrical wisdom, relentlessly returned each of our creations into undifferentiated, soggy, silicate sand…

We took our sweet time on the trail out, stopping for long and playful rests, even building a fire along the trail at one point. Eric suffered under the burden of Jasper, who rode high, serene and dreamy in a special pack. The trail is very steep.

Zane implored me to come home with them, and Eric offered to have me stay the night; so I did. I woke early yesterday morning and walked into downtown Auburn for some coffee. When I got back it transpired that Zane was to miss school and we were all to come up here to my place. However, we didn't get here until about 2:30 PM.; Eric had some work to do in his shop. Zane and I amused ourselves by developing the theory of farts, vampires, etc. we, that is, I, was using a plastic bat in the yard to peg little fruits out of the yard into a vacant lot next door. Zane brought me a pine cone, and I undertook to hit it over the roof of Eric's shop; but plans go oft a-gley, or some such thing, and the pine cone, bless its massive little heart, went directly, and without pausing, through one of Eric's windows—so I spent a couple of hours on the roof replacing a pane, with Zane “helping”.

Now, eventually we arrived here, and visited the sparkly rocks, the cliffs, the old tunnel, the meadow, threw Frisbee, and had a bonfire: Zane was learning about lighting matches, and fire, this weekend.


[Russell Towle's journal]

12/9/87   Morning. Rain, thankfully, patters on the roof, and most of the snow has melted away. My car has a dead battery, and, trying to coast-start it, it is now at the bottom of the driveway, and will require a jump. A walk into Alta is on tap, as soon as the rain lets up, which should be soon.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

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