July 31 (1980, 1981, 1987, 2003, 2007)
A Slight Sway in the Nature of Things

7/31/80 A joyful day ~ clouds in the sky, clouds that look wet!”

[Russell Towle's journal]

7/31/81 The pinnacles of Giant Gap are an island of light in the early morning shade. I sip coffee and await my brother, Richard. We are going to hike down to Euchre Bar today.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

7/31/87 Night; following a day spent polyhedra-ing with notes and calculator in hand [...]

While gazing at angles this afternoon, I felt a slight sway in the nature of things, and thought, “earthquake.” It was slight: I amended, “distant earthquake,” and then dismissed it as an imaginative fragment, perhaps ascribable to some progressive brain disorder or another, returning to my tangents and inscrutable powers thereof, and their differences. Turns out there was a fairly strong earthquake on the northern California coast today.

I am now down to 1 teaspoon of instant coffee as my entire inventory of foodstuffs; not a penny in my pockets; and out of gas.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 10:56:00 -0800
To: "Bill Slater"
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Re: Public Access: Lost?
Cc: North Fork Trails

Hi Bill, you wrote,

>The historic trails can and should be protected from project effects under
>NHPA. Do you have any particlar concerns within the Blue Canyon Project

Yes, as mentioned in my recent letter, to District Ranger Vivian Kee, of about May 15. I mentioned the China Trail, the Bradley & Gardner Ditch, etc.

>As to historic trails not in project areas, but that are being impacted by
>various agents, we do have a responsiblity to address those situations. I
>would like to get map locations of the trails you are concerned with and
>work w/David Michaels to try and address the problems you are bringing to
>our attention. From a heritage resources persprective it would be
>important for me to get the historic trails on our hertitage resources
>atlas as a first step in trying to protect them. David might be able to
>get out in the field with you.

Most of these trails are depicted on your own TNF maps! This partly why my friends and I are so amazed and horrified by the complete obliteration of one trail after another! And, so far as timber harvests on private lands, you guys at TNF review and sign off on every such harvest plan within the broader outlines of TNF, right?

I would be more than happy, I would be ecstatic, to help identify these absolutely precious, historic trails. My friends and I sometimes GPS these trails. I can draw many of them in on maps. Heck, many are already on the TNF special 7.5 minute topographic maps. These once formed a large interconnected network of trails. Don't forget, among all these many historic trails is the one which goes through the Rawhide Mine up to Sawtooth Ridge. Suppose this one trail was still open to the public, as it should be. One could walk from Iron Point to Big Valley Bluff, Loch Leven Lakes, Devils Peak, and on to Cascade Lake and Soda Springs—that is, if the intervening trails had not been obliterated.

>Currently we are working on trail development in Burlington Ridge area. We
>are developing RR grades and ditches as trails. What has happened is that
>members of the public have pioneered bike and motorbike trails, some of
>which have impacted the grades and ditches, or are poorly engineered, and
>we are trying to get the situation under control. Also we are planning
>alterations to Loch Leven Trail. If you have concerns in these areas let
>me know. I realize this is a different issue than the one you raise about
>historic trails.

I absolutely hate the new Loch Leven Trail! What was wrong with the old one? The new one is in extremely bad repair, and is even dangerous to walk on in places; I was on it Monday, to my regret. I refer to the section between old Hwy. 40 and the railroad.

Thanks so much for taking the time to consider these issues, Bill, I greatly appreciate it.


Russell Towle

Rattlesnake Encounter 
July 30, 2007
A rattlesnake discovered taking advantage of warm ashes while digesting a meal of ground squirrel.
The very full, very slow-moving rattlesnake, trying to escape after discovery.

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