January 21 (1976, 1978, 1980)
Mid-Winter Rambles

1/21/76   sunny, with patchy alto cumulus. yesterday jim and i climbed castle peak, 9103' elev., just north of donner pass. my third ascent. tho hazy, we could see mt. diablo and the coast ranges to the north well; the marysville buttes; mt. lassen, and amidst a jumbled maze of snow peaks to the south, pyramid peak.

[...]

~ evening. further conversation this morning with my father about my land exposed me for the first time to the possibility that the overgrown, unused logging road that ascends moody ridge upslope from my property may become the main road into moody ridge. this is discouraging news. there is no way acquiring more land would protect me from the sound of traffic. at times it seems that i have been given this land just at the point where it finally will be developed; have grown attached to its beauty just in time to see it marred, by logging, road-building, subdivision ~ greg troll said half-jokingly that this land might cause me to indulge in “indolent hermithood’ instead of “crusading for conservation in california’ [...]

[Russell Towle's journal]


1/21/78   yesterday ron, gary, neil, teo and i departed from dutch flat about 10:00 A.M. we drove to the Pit of the Old Junk Cars near bogus point [on Moody Ridge] and parked. i cast about for indian artifacts—dave nelson found a beautiful 2-3 inch spearpoint of green chert out there back in 8/76—and found not a one. soon we were all ready and immediately crashed into the manzanita, sliding down the canyon walls and rambling our various routes down to the Dead-Top Digger Pine on a ridge still high above the waterfalls, then scrambling down even steeper slopes to the Falls Trail to the River. we caught the high fall just right, with a nice rainbow. a lunch while sitting on the lawn-like Terrace of Mining Artifacts, our shirts stripped off before the sun. a few flowers in bloom on the south-west exposure wall of canyon creek's canyon.

on to the river and the billowing mist of Lowest Fall. golden eagle circling high. a scrambling ramble upriver and fine traverses of untouched canyon wall, incredible views of the pinnacles. the long 1800' climb up crystal ridge while the sun set. a nice day.”

[Russell Towle's journal]


1/21/80   steve and i went skiing day before [yesterday], back in the upper north fork canyon, brisk winds out of the northeast, snow flurries along the sierra crest but clear elsewhere. we explored a portion of the onion creek drainage, skied down through meadows to a giant cedar; then up to the road, and back into the heavy timber above the road. we didn't get back to the truck until the stars were out in force. a delicate crescendo moon framed blazing venus over snow mountain.

[...]

i'm at a standstill on my geological history of dutch flat. the choice is between a work with a degree of scholastic integrity and attention to detail, or a work focused on merely outlining the situation. a vast difference. but of course, flexibility in my visualization is important. there are shades, and even as the distribution of hydrogen in our galaxy is somewhat uneven and lumpy, in the same way i can dwell on whatever aspect of local geology i would like ~ no one has to buy my book.”

[Russell Towle's journal]



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