February 19 (1988, 1999, 2006)
Adulation. Of Planets. Of a Forceful Man

2/19/88   Morning; today, as yesterday, strong northeast winds carouse through the groves, laurels and live oaks and pines and douglas firs shimmer and bow over in adulation; of what? What to adore in the west? Perhaps the wonderful array of planets which nowadays flash forth from the sunset skies: Venus? Mars? Tonight should be especially nice, since the moon is on the increase, and it shall have lagged into conjunction with the two brightest wanderers... I just returned from a ramble through the woods west of here, mostly below the cliffs...”

[Russell Towle's journal]

February 19, 1999

Frank Olrich kayaking on the American River.
Photo by Eric Peach.
Yesterday I went to Frank Olrich’s funeral. Many people were there. The skies were cloudy and dark and threatening and as the services ended it began to rain. Frank was a real force for protecting the environment and especially the American River and he will be missed on that count as well as many others. Kelley was there but I didn’t get a chance to talk with her. Stood with Neil Gerjuoy. Some people there I knew, lots of people I didn’t know.

Later, I went to meeting with a Nevada County supervisor, and Dave Lawler, and various people from the You Bet/Chalk Bluff area, re Dave’s idea for a Preserve encompassing the main You Bet diggings. Tremendous rain storm as I left from here, cleared up as I arrived in Nevada City, got home about 6:30 P.M.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Related Links 

This from Jordan Fisher Smith's excellent book about the Auburn State Recreation Area, Nature Noir, [http://www.naturenoir.com/ ]:
“A couple of months before his death, Frank Olrich had come to the ranger station with an idea about forming a group of volunteer docents he called the Canyon Keepers, who would offer the sort of nature walks that the beleaguered rangers didn't have time to do. Today, Canyon Keepers is an official state park volunteer association, and as many as sixty people have been showing up for some of its guided hikes.”
Website for Auburn State Recreation Area Canyon Keepers (ASRACK):
[http://www.canyonkeepers.org ]
“The Auburn State Recreation Area Canyon Keepers (ASRACK) is a volunteer group that promotes healthy recreation by providing assistance and information for visitors to the state park. They organize hikes, conduct trail maintenance, provide guided history walks, and assist the professional ranger staff through volunteer work.
The Sierra Nevada Alliance, dedicated its first major publication to Frank's memory:
“This book is dedicated to the memory of Auburn-area environmental activist, Frank Olrich, who used his incredible gifts of positive thinking and “optimism beyond belief” to bring members of his community together to protect the watersheds they love.”
Frank Olrich at Tamaroo Bar on the American River, west of Auburn
(Photo by Mark Leder-Adams)
More about Tamaroo ~

[From the PARC newsletter, Winter 2000,

1850's Auburn to Coloma Gold Rush Trail Resurrected
By Eric Peach

With John Krogsrud as our guide, Paula and myself walked the trail in late afternoon watching the sunset from the trail. It was like being in a fairytale. Lush ferns and mosses evoked J.R.R. Tolkein's mythical forests where "shadows lay by night and day, and dark things crept beneath." We did see evidence of bear all along the trail! Former Auburn State Recreation Area Trails Advisory Group member John Krogsrud rediscovered the remnant of a Gold Rush era trail that runs through the heart of the proposed American River Confluence Parkway (ARC Park). Using an older version of the USGS Auburn quadrangle map John spotted the trail as a single dashed black line crossing the river on the map. Using the map and a lot of intuition, honed by years of searching for obscure American River trails, John was able to piece the trail together. Historic research in the Placer Herald links the trail to Tamaroo Bar, named for the "Ship Tahamaroo" which brought the first miners around Cape Horn to San Francisco in 1849. Some of the men on the ship began their mining endeavors at this location on the American River. A ferry crossing was established at Tamaroo Bar in 1852 by Thomas Williams linking the Auburn to Coloma trails during the Gold Rush years.

Tamaroo Bar was one of the favorite haunts of the late Frank Olrich. He was able to identify "Tamaroo" as an Australian word meaning rowdy. What an appropriate name for one of the first named mining bars on the American near Auburn!

The Placer County remnant of the trail now begins at the Mountain Quarry Railroad grade near Robie Point - switching along a good well built path to the river above Tamaroo Bar. Swimming or wading is the only river crossing option now. The trail then meanders rather steeply through canyon ravines and live oak forest. Occasionally rock has been stacked to make the footing better, but often the path is just a deep impression in the forest floor. Eventually the trail emerges into a rolling blue oak woodland between pointed rocks and Knickerbocker. At this point the trail connecta with the Olmstead Loop Trail about a mile from Cool. Every paradise has its price and Tamaroo Trail's is poison oak. While John and friends have been clearing the path on and off for several years potent poison oak extracts a scratchy tribute.
An aerial view may be seen here:

The Pinnacle Ridge, south arm of Giant Gap with a dusting of snow, February 19, 2006

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