February 11 (1987, 2003)
Peaches and Pigeons of the Canyon

2/11/87  Morning, cloudy, cool, damp. Another storm has largely missed Central California.

... I dropped by the Peachs' place, and found them on the point of driving up here to leave their Volkswagen bus with Mike Smith, so I returned as well, and we threw frisbee and boomerang around the meadow. The day had been cloudy and grey, but for us the sun shined down, and the meadow seemed an island of gold within a sea of grey upon darker grey. We went out to the cliffs and were rewarded by glimpses far upcanyon into grey upon stormy grey punctuated by other distant islands of sunshine, very beautiful.

Eric and Paula are such a loving and lovely couple, blessed with two fine young sons; nearly the perfect family, near as I can tell. Eric is tall, with curly black hair laced with silver, Paula, blonde, beautiful; Eric has an upholstery business which he pursues at home, form a workshop in the back yard, while Paula makes dolls, specifically little "trolls" with beards and caps -- actually I believe they're called "gnomes." Eric has long been active in the effort to stop the construction of the Auburn Dam. He and Paula have a deep appreciation for nature, for wild untrammeled river canyons, Eric is an avid photographer. They are both Jaime de Angulo fans. There has never been any question but that Eric and Paula and I are from the same tribe.

Eric and I planned a couple of excursions for later this winter and in the spring, one on March 7th, the other on April 12th. These would be formal "PARC" (Protect American River Canyons) field trips... The March trip would be to Lovers Leap; the April trip would be to Point 6868, a ski trip. Snow conditions permitting.

Made a copy of the Duncan Canyon Appeal (Eric had a copy), very interesting. I am now in process of writing a letter to Deane Swickard (BLM), and should dash off a not to the Beckwitts, that remarkable family of environmentalists who have worked so hard on the Tahoe Forest Plan, or rather, on the so-called "Citizens Alternative" to that plan.

Today, after finishing my letters, I will go to Colfax for more mortar and cement, and proceed on the Newsom Step Project.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

February 11, 2011:

Today I want to echo Russell's admiration and respect for both Eric and Paula Peach, for their long advocacy of committed community involvement in the American River watershed; for seeking and finding innovative ways to share their love and respect for this river system ~ and the very life of our planet which its flow represents ~ with our entire community; for so filling their own lives with nature, music, art and love, that it spills over, blessing us all. THANK YOU, Paula and Eric.

Artistry by Eric Peach and Rich Ferreira enlivens the
information panel at the American River Confluence Parking Area.
Photo by Gary Hughes

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003
To: NorthForkTrails
From: Russell Towle
Subject: More History

Hi all,

With respect to Euchre Bar and Humbug Canyon, a few days ago Evan Jones wrote:
>On Thurs, Tom Petersen and I hiked the Euchre Bar Tr,
>from the Alta side, down to the NFkAmR, and upstream
>to Humbug Canyon.  We then back-tracked, found a trail
>near the foot bridge to the NFkNFkAmR, and followed the
>serene canyon upstream for a mile or so.  It is
>sullied by a squatter's site which is a complete
>We visited Southern Cross Mine on the NFkAmR, and
>looked across the river to what appears to be an old
>turbine/generator set. Perhaps near the site of the
>Blackhawk Mine.
And Chris Schiller wrote:
>I was down the Euchre Bar Trial yesterday, and I saw some pigeons there.  They flew off into the sun and then behind some trees, so I couldn't tell if they were white or not.  But I'm pretty sure they were pigeons.
>I stopped for a long lunch near the bridge while the dog swam and shivered in the water.
>After numerous hikes to the river at Euchre bar, I finally went up the trail on the Main Fork of the North Fork.  I'd always taken the dead-end spur up to the pool and cliffs.  What a wonderful trail!  It's mostly flat, and with the low winter light, very lovely.  I got lured around one bend after another, because such trails always reveal secrets.  Eventually, the trail dipped to the river and the upstream view was one as good as anywhere in the American River Canyons.  After a mile or two I turned around and burned my way up the Euchre Bar slopes.
>I was suprised at the number of people out on that trail on a winter day.  The parking lot was full, and I passed 4 groups, none of which looked like foothill dwellers to me.  The lot had several very polished and very expensive SUV's.  Not the kind of rigs that usually stray very far from pavement.  The hike must figure prominently in more than one guidebook, is my guess.  Of course, the guidebooks rate the hike as "moderate" or "moderately easy" because of the short distance, but as the unprepared discover, elevation, unlike fat, is easy to lose and much harder to regain!
Of the pigeons Chris mentioned, of course we have many native Band-Tailed Pigeons around the North Fork, notable for their ability to swallow an acorn whole. However, they are not white, like the vagrant racing pigeons seen in Canyon Creek this winter.

The "dead-end spur" Chris mentioned is the upper end of the Green Valley Blue Gravel Mine ditch, which took from the North Fork a ways above the confluence with the North Fork of the North Fork, well above Euchre Bar, and ended up in the west end of Green Valley, crossing the river on a high wooden flume in the gorge between Green Valley and Euchre Bar. The trail up to Humbug Canyon follows a higher line than this ditch.

Euchre Bar and Humbug Canyon alike are notable for their large masses of Pleistocene glacial outwash deposits; not as extensive as in Green Valley, but with relict channels, etc., just as in Green Valley.

More about Band-Tailed Pigeons: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/band-tailed_pigeon/id

No comments:

Post a Comment