Cutting Firewood Safely
By Melissa Wynn
One of the best parts of living in the woods is a crackling fire in the fireplace, reminding us all that it’s that time of year to fill the wood shed once again. Gathering firewood can be a great way to spend a family weekend as long as everyone is aware of the dangers.
Running a chainsaw is serious business and safety precautions like heavy eye protection, sturdy gloves, ear plugs and a durable hard hat are a must. Accidents happen, so it is always a good idea to have at least one buddy along when felling trees and bucking up logs in the woods. A helping hand is also a plus when it is time to load the heavier rounds into the truck.
Tree felling requires skill, technique and practice. Always consult an experienced faller and go along for the ride a few times to watch and learn before ever trying to fall a tree. Please consider these common dangers of tree felling listed by OSHA:
Throwback. As a tree falls through other trees and lands, branches and other objects may get thrown back toward the logger. To prevent this, avoid felling trees onto other trees or objects. Do not turn your back on the tree as it falls, look up as you escape along the retreat path.
Terrain. Hazardous conditions can be created when a tree is felled onto stumps, rocks or uneven ground. If possible, move obstacles in the way of the falling tree or change the felling direction.
Lodged Tree. Trees do not always fall all the way to the ground, and instead must be pushed or pulled down by a machine.
Widow Maker. This refers to broken limbs hanging freely in the tree to be felled or in other trees nearby. Knock down all of these branches or pull them down before beginning work. Never work underneath them.
Snag. This term refers to a standing dead, rotting or broken tree positioned near the tree to be felled. Use a machine to bring these trees down before beginning work. It must be felled or avoided by at least two tree lengths.
Spring Pole. This is a tree, limb or sapling that is under tension due to the weight of another tree or object. Use a machine or chain saw to release the tension before beginning work in the area.
Know the dangers and cut safely! Wood cutting permits are required and available at your local forestry office.
OSHA tips courtesy of www.nsc.org
Enjoy the Seasons of Mt. Lassen
By Jaime Vega
On top of the enormous Lassen Volcanic National Park sits perfectly the radiant, most dazzling lake I’ve ever seen in my life. Emerald Lake is very well known for its breathtaking color and clarity, in the summer, that is. Don’t let its beauty fool you into jumping in for a swim, because the lake consists of fresh water runoff from the melted snow in the mountains, meaning it is very cold. The lake is a sight to behold during any season of the year. There is always something beautiful and worth seeing during each visit.
November through April the mountain and the surroundings are covered in the most massive white blanket of snow, which reaches as high as 700 inches! You cannot see the lake at this point of time, but seeing that much snow is one of the shocking experiences ever. Driving around Mountain Lassen Park during the colder months is like a winter wonderland; as you get closer to the peak the road stops. From here you can get out of your vehicle and enjoy the magnificent views. Be sure to wear sun block and protective eye wear as well. The snow brightens the scene.
May through July is when the snow begins to melt and recede, revealing an immaculate palate of colorful plant life. The lake has started to thaw and show its true colors just as the landscape has. One of the exciting features this lake provides is an opportunity to sit along the shore and witness eagles hunting for fish. Since the snow is at its melting point, as you’re exploring around you can hear the ground splashing and grunting from the soft watery mud and rocks grinding against each other with each step you take.
August through October I would have to say is my favorite time to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. By this time most of the snow is gone and the lake is looking its best. The weather at the park is usually nice in the fall. For this reason my family and I always take along a picnic so we can hike around, and then eat lunch after. I have been going there since I was a little kid, My dad showed me a special spot. Ever since then we have been returning every year. It reminds my family and I of all the great times we’ve had with my father.
One of my favorite things to do when I’m there is skip rocks and just clear my mind and forget about everything that has been going on while I breathe in that fresh pine scent, enjoying the peace and quiet. All I hear is a stream of water, the eagles calling up above, frogs splashing on the shore line and a cricket or two a couple feet away. After you’ve spent a day out there and you’re relaxed, it’s back to reality and hoping you get the time to come back soon.
Exercise In The Peace Of Nature
Lake Almanor Recreation Trail
By Melissa Wynn
We all know that simply walking is one of the best things we can do for our own good health. Treadmills are boring, so why not do your walking on the banks of Lake Almanor in the shadow of majestic Mount Lassen? The Lake Almanor Recreation Trail is just the place to breath fresh mountain air while wandering among the pines. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, mountain meandering is healthy for the body and the soul.
Lake Almanor Recreation Trail is an easy to moderate hike that winds along 9.5 miles of the sparkling West Shore of Lake Almanor parallel to Hwy 89. Whether you are walking, running, jogging or bicycling you are sure to catch a glimpse of the local bald eagles, osprey, deer and other friends of the forest. Relaxing vistas and subtle elevation changes make for a great, low impact, calorie burning afternoon.
Popular access points along Hwy 89 include…
- Canyon Dam Boat Launch
- Rocky Point Campground
- Almanor West Campground
- Cedar Chalet Bakery (intersection of HWY 36 and HWY 89)
Join us for some exercise in the peace of nature. It’s an outing, not a workout!
By Melissa Wynn
On Sunday July 1st, just before 2:00 a.m., the forest fire named “Chips” started burning 20 miles north west of Quincy in the heart of our own beloved Plumas County. To read about it on the web, or see the few minutes of footage on the news, it would seem that utter devastation now covers over 75,000 acres of our mountain home. However, if there was one thing I learned through that frightening experience it was that forest fire behavior is not at all what I thought it was. When you view the Chips Fire Map on the internet, the red shaded areas would lead you to believe that there is nothing but charred remains from Hwy 70 near Belden, through the valleys to Butt Lake and on up to Lake Almanor’s North Shore. Nothing could be further from truth. Make no mistake, as I drove through the burn, shortly after 100% containment was achieved, I did see areas like we all imagined. Large patches in the forest of eerie looking blackened tree trunks atop a forest floor of ash where beautiful towering pines once stood broke my heart. However, those areas are sporadic throughout the burn area and vary greatly in size. The drive down the Seneca Road, just off Hwy 89 at Canyon Dam, afforded me a birds eye view of several of the canyons effected by the burn. I celebrated when I saw how much of the forest had remained just as it was before the fire. The area marked on the map simply encloses the area of Chips ultimate containment. It by no means encloses a purely burned up area. Some areas are merely scorched and will recover. Some trees stand dead with withered pine needles, but not blackened. One corner in the road would look as if nothing ever happened and the next looked like I had always pictured a forest fire to leave the woods. As I stood on the bluffs at the top of Seneca Road, I could easily spot areas of each of these levels of intensity that the Chips Fire threw our way. It almost looks like several little fires happened, versus one big one named Chips. This is a drive worth taking for anyone that would like to see the aftermath of a forest fire with their own eyes. Butt Lake Road off of Hwy 89 on Lake Almanor’s East Shore is another convenient route to take into the burn. There are also several back roads off of Hwy 70 near Belden that meander back into the Chips burn area as well. As you drive the 52 miles of shore line around our crystalline Lake Almanor, you would never know that just months ago we were on the news and facing evacuation from forest fire threat. Our shores are still skirted by pristine views of Plumas National Forest. When you drive to the bottom of the Seneca Road, the famous and historic Gin Mill in the ghost town community of Seneca still stands. For decades, folks from around the globe have pinned business cards on the walls, ceiling and exterior of this building nearly a century old. Although many of the cards on the outside were ruined by fire retardant, sprayed by the brave men and women that fought this awful fire to save the site for posterity, the ancient tavern itself still remains. Those of us that have wandered this natural playground throughout our lives will be forever grateful to those that risk their lives to save our homes and forests from wild land fire. Don’t be afraid to come visit us up here in the hills because we had a fire. Come see for yourself the mysterious aftermath of a forest fire.
By Melissa Wynn
We never hope to get lost as we wander our wonderful woods but it does happen. During colder weather, having a shelter could make a huge difference in how warm and dry you will be. Everything you need to build a debris shelter can be found right there in the woods. A long dead branch, about half as tall as yourself is the first thing you need to find. Next find a high ground, dry, secure place to prop it. A low fork under a tree or wedged between two large rocks are both good sites. This will be the “spine” of your shelter and the propped end should be around hip height. Next gather smaller, shorter branches and prop them along the spine on both sides to give the spine “ribs”. Leave an open space at the high end for a door. The next layer of your shelter is important to keep out the wind. Top your “ribs” with brush or needled pine branches to create a lattice type surface, overlapping the spaces between. Large pieces of thick bark also work well for this layer. At this stage, crawl inside to make sure you have a little wiggle room but not too much. The smaller the shelter, the warmer you’ll be, think of it as a sleeping capsule. Adjust your lattice as needed and start gathering insulation,pine needles, leaves and other forest floor debris. Pile the debris over the entire structure in a thick layer, up to two feet in wet weather is best. For added comfort, line the inside with soft leaves or grass to give a bit of soft padding. Stuff the low end to keep your feet warmer and make a large pile of the soft materials near the door to close yourself in most of the way before you go to sleep. Be adventurous,but be prepared. Always carry matches, a compass or GPS, a flashlight, a pocket knife and let someone know where you plan to go when wandering the woods alone.
Looking for a unique camping adventure? Call 2 Feathers Tipi and rent a tipi. Each tipi was hand crafted to provide superior wind and water resistance and provide far more shelter than any tent. 2 Feathers will deliver the tipi to your camp site, set it up and take the time to show you the ropes. This is rustic camping at it’s best. If you would like to own your custom tipi Randy would be happy to make that happen too. Rent a teeepee for a few days just for the experience or for your business as a real eye catcher. Tepees are great fun for photo ops, parties, weddings and all sorts of events. Whether you spell it tipi, tepee, or teepee, 2 Feathers has one for you. Call 530-816-0635 for reservations and custom orders.
Click The Pic To Visit Their Website
The cooler weather has set in; snow is coming and riders are looking for dirt. California welcomes dirt bikers, snowmobilers, dune buggies, ATVs and 4 wheel drives in selected areas across the state. (Look for our special feature on snowmobiling in our next edition.) Meanwhile, gather your gear! You’ll find 130+ terrain parks in California at OHV.parks.ca.gov. A printed map is available at the offices listed below.
• Redding Field Office – 530-224-2100:
CHAPPIE-SHASTA OHV AREA –dirt bikes, 4WDs, ATVs and dune buggies. 10 miles northwest of Redding, 200 miles of roads and trails span approximately 52,000 acres. Elevation ranges from 600 to 5,000 feet with a wide variety of terrain. The southeast portions offer rocky and challenging terrains. The northwest portions offer views of Mt. Shasta, Lake Shasta and the Trinity Alps.
• Eagle Lake Field Office – 530-257-0456:
FORT SAGE OHV AREA – Managed by the US Bureau of Land Management – ATVs, dirt bikes, 4WDs, ATVs and dune buggies. About 45 miles north of Reno you will find approximately 22,000 acres in this high desert region. Terrain includes flat, sandy, high desert sagebrush country and rocky, steep canyons and gulches.
MORE LOCAL RIDING SPOTS
• Mt. Hough Ranger District: – 530-283-5555:
DEADMAN SPRINS / SNAKE LAKE – Dirt Bikes, 4 WDs, ATVs and snowmobiles Located near Quincy and Greenville
BIG CREEK / FOUR TREES / FRENCH CREEK – dirt bikes, ATVs, 4WDs and snowmobiles
• Feather River Ranger District – 530-534-6500:
CLEGHORN BAR / POKER FLAT -
• Downieville Ranger District – 530-288-3231
Downieville Area welcomes dirt bikes, 4WDs, ATVs, and snowmobiles
• Feather River Ranger District:
Cleghorn Bar / Poker Flat – Dirt bikes, 4WDs, ATVs and snowmobiles
• Beckworth Ranger District – 530-836-2575:
Gold Lake – dirt bikes 4WDs, ATVs and snowmobiles
Dixie Mountain – dirt bikes 4WDs, ATVs and snowmobiles
• Sierraville Ranger District – 4WDs, dune buggies, snowmobiles
Sierraville area – 4WDs, sand dune buggies and Snowmobiles
• Army Corp of Engineers – 530-865-4781:
Black Butte Lake – Orland Area – dirt bikes and ATVs
Source: OHV.parks.ca.gov, Blue Ribbon Coalition Inc.: all-offroad.com/dirtBikes/Where2Go/
By Eileen Majors
Mountain people seem to know all about how to dress warm in cold weather, especially those hunters and fishers. We went to Susanville retailer Blake Huhtala find out what is keeping these adventurers warm up in this cold climate. Blake and her husband Dave own the Elegant Iris & The Men’s Den which caters to local outdoor enthusiasts with quality outdoor gear and apparel for hunters, fishers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Blake says the key to staying warm is layering. She recommends starting with a good quality under layer. Long Johns come in a variety of new fabrics from silks and cottons to state-of-the-art blends, designed to keep you warm and dry. There are many choices she explains while pointing out that effective layering means having things loose enough to allow for a layer of insulating air between the layers.
When it comes to keeping feet warm and Huhtala says, “Make sure your boots aren’t too tight. Tight boots can bind circulation resulting in cold feet.” A boot dryer can be a good investment. Laying boots by he wood stove can cause leather to crack. One cool way to keep feet warm is with Mylar sock liners (for under $10). Placed on warm feet, they retain heat through a network of aluminized thread. They can be washed in warm water. Another compliment to those winter boots are gaiters. They wrap around the boot and pant leg to keep snow out of the top of your boots and keep pant legs dry in deep snow. The gaiters she showed us are waterproof and come with a lifetime warranty.
Finding the right gloves for adults and kids is vital to staying warm, dry and happy. Waterproof gloves come in a variety of textures these days. She said customers really like the comfort and warmth of fleece gloves, which if you look carefully, you will find are available in waterproof varieties. She carries only the waterproof varieties, which consist of two layers of fleece with a thin, waterproof membrane between them. They carry sizes for the whole family.
“Fishermen really go for the rag wool, fingerless gloves with mitten caps”, she told us. These are great for the guy who needs grips on his palms and easy access to his fingertips for tasks such as baiting a hook.
For a sleeker business look, she recommends leather gloves with Thinsulate® insulation.
She pointed out the difference between water-resistant and waterproof. Water-resistant merchandise will resist moisture, causing it to pill up, but with too much exposure to moisture, it will eventually soak through. Waterproof means water cannot get through, making the product completely waterproof.
She suggests not putting your good outdoor gear in the dryer. “If you must, tumble on super low heat.”, she said. “The dryer’s heat can warp zipper teeth and wear out your outerwear quicker than is necessary.”
For the outdoor worker, we continue to hear rave reviews on the Carhartt® brand of work wear so we went to take a look. We found a fully-stocked selection of Carhartt® clothing at Billington Ace Hardware, also in Susanville. The line includes, bib overalls, coveralls, pants, and a variety of jackets available in heavy insulated fabric. There are work shirts, socks and many more warm and comfy work wear selections to choose from. Carhartt® insulated options make for a much warmer workday according to the local outdoor workers we asked.
By Melissa Wynn
Cutting the family Christmas tree is a mountain valley tradition that has stood the test of time for generations. Here is our family recipe for making a smooth and festive adventure of this age old holiday task.
You will need
1 Christmas Tree cutting permit from your local Forest Service office for each tree you plan to cut.
1 map of your cutting area to ensure a safe return home.
1 hand or chain saw for cutting.
1 sled, cart or large tarp for dragging the tree back to the truck without damaging the branches.
1 thermos of homemade hot cocoa for each adventure member. (recipe included in this issue)
1 picnic lunch and several hearty snacks in case the day gets away from you while searching for the perfect pine.
1 first aid kit in case of emergency.
1 complete warm outfit including waterproof gloves (in case of snow), warm hat, heavy coat and snow boots for each tree seeker.
As many friends and family members as you can gather to help build this years priceless memory.
1 4 wheel drive truck to battle any snowy road between you and the perfect Christmas conifer.
1 CD of Christmas music by your favorite artist.
Once you have decided which neck of the woods to explore, take the first nine ingredients and load them with care into the 4 wheel drive. Turn the CD up to encourage the traditional sing along that will last until you reach your destination, ( louder if those in the vehicle lack skills in harmony.)
Now its time to find the tree that best fits you and your home. Be careful not to cut a tree that is to tall for your ceiling. Carefully cut your tree down, load it on your sled or tarp and drag it back to the truck. Take your time, enjoy your lunch and cocoa and soak in the wonders of wandering the forest.
Take tree home and decorate to taste.
By Charles Watson
It is Autumn and the leaves are turning that golden color again. The mountain valleys are coming alive with golds, yellows and oranges – enough to cause pause and remember back to the old days, when along with the turning of the leaves, there were sounds of pick axes and shovels and they were looking for that other golden color, the precious metal kind.
But wait! Those times are not from yesteryear – they are from just yesterday. People are once again flocking to the mountains in search of that elusive golden metal. This summer saw one of the largest prospecting seasons in nearly thirty years. With the price of gold hovering just below $1800 per ounce, it makes perfect sense for just regular ol’ folk to spend a few weekends a year trying their luck in prospecting for gold. The more robust individuals will find a gold mining claim and go at it more seriously. Others with more serious intentions, a little business experience, and honed mining skills will indeed find their fortune.
Clearly mining is not what it once was. The historic rape and pillage of the ground has been replaced by a checks and balances approach whereby both the mining of the natural resources and the preservation of environmental conditions are honored. Miners and environmentalists take vastly different views on this balance, however, if each acknowledges the others views, a balance can be attained with a win-win outcome.
Indeed, there have been some new mining regulations and rule changes. Many have been for good reasons while others were purely political grandstanding with ulterior motives. But like prohibition was for alcohol in the 1920s, a common sense balance will prevail such that abuse is no longer tolerated and honest citizens can pursue a responsible and accountable course when choosing to mine.
Today, mining permits are required for nearly all levels above recreational panning and sluice boxes. Permits require the prospectors think about what they are doing, how they will go about it, and how they will restore the site when they are finished. Regulations require the miners to look around their claim, not only for what contains minerals and what they want to mine , but what has other important values such as biology, archaeology and aesthetics.
Mining permits come in all shapes and sizes, which largely depends on the miner and the area they want to mine. The larger the mining project, the larger the permit. Permits are like guide books for all those concerned including miners, regulators and environmentalists. Once crafted, it is a well planned and organized “bible” for how mining and prospecting activities are to unfold.
Costs for mining permits vary as well. Consult an experienced geologist or engineer when considering a mining permit. Their knowledge can save you time and money, as well as help you find the gold!
Autumn is the end of the mining season in the mountains. The rains will be here soon and the snow will fly shortly after that, burying everything in a deep white blanket until Spring. It is time that responsible miners pack up their equipment, reclaim their digs and prepare for the next season. They take one last look around and try to imagine where that big pocket of gold could be, then mosey down the trail and back to their other lives.
It is a thrill to find your first gold speck, flake or nugget. Once you do, you will be hooked forever. It is fun for the whole family, and who knows, maybe just maybe, if you are a wee bit lucky…you too will jump for joy, click your heels and yell “Eureka! I found it!”
Charles P. Watson is the Chief Geologist at Advanced Geologic Exploration located in Chester, Ca. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at advancedgeologic.com.
by Chris Frederking
Well, it’s that time of year again; time to get up and head out to Cycleland racetracks in Oroville. The Cycleland organization has been around since 1981 and continues to bring good old-fashioned racing and entertainment to motor enthusiasts in the greater Chico area. With two separate tracks, a dirt flat track and a dirt motocross track, there’s a race here for everybody. Located about 14 miles south of Chico on the corner of Nelson Road off Hwy. 99, it is a short jaunt down for an evening of racing and a good time. If you have never been to any racing events this is a great place to start, with friendly fans and plenty of excitement for the whole crew, you will not go home disappointed. They hold their races on Saturday nights on the flat track, and on Sunday for the motocross fans. Adult tickets to the motocross/outlaw races are $10 dollars, and Children under 12 are $5. If you want to become a member the dues are $25 for the season. If you want to race, it’s $25 to enter the motocross event as an adult, and $20 for a pewee entry and practice days. The parking is free and more information about either the track or the races is available by calling (530) 342-0063 or visiting their web site at www.cyclelandspeedway.com. Come on down and bring a friend, we can’t wait to see you at the races!
By Rick Barlupi
Lake Almanor is beautiful during the winter, especially on the west side of the lake. The Forest Service campground is closed, the summer cabins boarded up for the winter, and Plumas Pines Resort & Restaurant closed for the season resulting in the west shore being very tranquil with a ton of snowfall which is slow to melt since it’s in the shade most of the day. During this peaceful weekend, my daughter and I spent time sitting on the jetties and taking a snowshoe trek along the shoreline toward Almanor West Subdivision, throwing snow balls, making a snowman and snow angels.
As you can see, we brought our chairs, hot coffee mixed with chocolate and enjoyed our mochas, the view of Mt. Lassen, great conversation, and we stayed late until the stars and moon came out but we kept warm with a fire. Lake Almanor in the winter, what a jewel.
By Melissa Wynn
Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you went to a new area for a grand adventure there was a local with the inside scoop to show you around? Allen and Susan Shephard, owners of Quail Lodge Lake Almanor, thought so too and would love to point out points of interest, rivers and streams and the many adventures at glistening Lake Almanor. Allen offers a guide service for fishing and hunting, and they work with other guides to ensure all their guests have the adventure they desire.
Tucked in the trees at 29615 Hwy 89 you will find the Shephards’ own little piece of heaven. With only five brand new and beautifully decorated rooms, Quail Lodge Lake Almanor is one place that never comes with worries of a crowd. Your vacation is all about you so Susan is always on hand offering old fashioned hospitality to ensure you have an amazing and memorable vacation.
Log beds draped in cozy quilts are the perfect place to snuggle in after a good visit in the gorgeous lodge complete with crackling fireplace and deep leather furniture. Fishing and hunting adventures are the specialty here and Allen is the man to guide you to where the trophy trout feed.
HUNT, FISH & STAY PACKAGES
Three night package deals are available and include expert guide service, plush lodging and delicious catered meals. Call for seasonal pricing for guided fishing and hunting packages. Just coming for the day but want a guide? No problem; give Allen a call to reserve your time slot. October 1st brings The Cast and Blast to Quail Lodge. Cast for big trout, bass, salmon and mackinaw and then blast for pheasants in this big adventure for lovers of the outdoors. Held in conjunction with “Hunting Buddies”, who host the pheasant hunt, this is sure to be a trip filled with trophies. Reservations are highly recommended, as space is limited. Applications are available by calling Quail Lodge at 530-284-0861.
This time of year also brings deer season. Why sleep in a tent and spend half the season scouting when you can call the Shephards? Allen will guide you to the big bucks and Susan will have dinner ready and your bed made when you get home. You can even catch the game on the big flat screen T.V. in the lodge or just hang around the fireplace telling stories of the one that got away. It is all the deer camp, with none of the chores.
If you don’t want to fish or hunt, simple lodging is always welcome. Come play at Quail Lodge Lake Almanor, and choose one of many area adventures. A two-room suite and an ADA compliant room are both in the works and will be available soon.
29615 Hwy 89 Canyon Dam, Ca
By Charles Watson
GOLD! The elusive yellow metal has been sought after for thousands of years, been the cause of wars and pillaging, and is a symbol of affection when given to a love one. It is precious, it is valuable and it is very, very pretty. The history of gold is riddled with tall tales, folk lore, and exaggerations that would make the less inclined scoff and say “bah humbug! There’s no more gold out there!” But knowledgeable miners and prospectors of today are still finding gold in them thar hills, and many are becoming pretty darn rich – and having fun doing it!
Between 1833 and 1918 the price of gold was fixed at around $18.93 per ounce. Economic winds changed and the price slowly began to rise. In 1934, the U.S. Congress passed the Gold Reserve Act, which among other things, fixed the price of gold at $35 per ounce.
In 1971, President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off the gold standard and the price steadily rose for the next ten years, peaking on January 21, 1981 at $850 per ounce! The run-up did not last, however, and after a few surges and declines, the price cratered and fell below $250 and ounce in June 1999. Now and after a 13 year-long run, the price of gold is now over $1,600 per ounce. It peaked on August 24, 2011 at $1,910 and despite all the economic pressures, has remained above the $1,500 and ounce for nearly a year.
Many economists forecast the price of gold to double or triple, or even rise much more, in the next few years, which is why people are trading in their briefcases, suits and ties for picks and shovels and pans. A record number of mining claims were filed in the last few years, recreational mining supply dealers can’t keep equipment on the shelves, and people are re-learning the historic art of making a living off the land by mining gold!
The Gold Rush is on!! Don’t get left behind!
So where do you go look? Where do you find it? Can you find it too? Oh sure! Some will do better, some not so good, but if you try and look in the right spot, get help from experts, and rub your good-luck charm just a tad, you will find gold too!
Remember your California history? One of the larges gold areas in the Golden State is called the Mother Lode Belt – a 400 mile-long, 75 mile wide swath of gold-bearing rocks and gravels in the foothills of the Sierra. Numerous old mining towns dot the trends with names like Seneca, Quincy, Downieville, Nevada City, Placerville, Angles Camp, and Sonora. Each have their own history, how the gold was discovered, where were the richer mines, who were the people that found their fortunes. For some, it is the history of those times that provides them with their wealth, while for others, it is and will always be the yellow metal. Both are compelling and each will change how you live your life.
Plumas County is the northern-most county in the Mother Lode Belt, and was one of the richest gold-bearing counties in California. The Plumas County Museum is a huge source of information of what happened in the county during the earlier gold rushes. Be sure to check out their exhibits too! The Plumas-Eureka State Park has wonderful displays as well. Find an expert, a geologist or miner, and learn from them. Research the internet for information, tips and techniques. You’ll find gold – there’s no doubt! There is still plenty of it out there.
Once you find your first speck, flake or nugget of gold, you will be hooked. It is fun for the whole family and who knows, maybe just maybe, if you are a bit lucky… you too will jump for joy, click your heels and shout “Eureka! I found it!”
Charles P. Watson is the chief geologist at Advanced Geologic Exploration located in Chester, California. He can be reached at email@example.com
By Jo Geissner
The beautiful Indian Valley was just a passing glance for settlers heading west in 1849. They were seeking gold, not land.
The impression held, however, in the minds of a few, and in 1851-52, one well-known historical figure, Peter Lassen (1800-1859), set up a trading post and vegetable garden just north of today’s Greenville to garner the miner and emigrant trade.
After his 1850 visit to the valley, Lassen bestowed the name of “Cache Valley” on the area. Lassen also used the mountain pass that assumed another name.
In April 1851, W. H. Noble and party came through the valley and crossed the mountains to Honey Lake Valley. Noble is linked to “Noble Pass,” “Noble Emigrant Trail” and bestowing the name of “Indian Valley.” These names became common and are the ones that history recorded.
Across the valley in February 1852, Jobe T. Taylor (1811-1878), Warren Meeker and others posted notice to claim land which became Taylor’s Ranch and later the community of Taylorsville. They had tired of mining, this last attempt being Nelson Creek, and decided to settle the land.
Up until this time, the native inhabitants had been the Northern Maidu. With only a few exceptions, the Euro-American settlers and the Maidu had realized the importance of cultivating the goodwill of neighborly existence. Jobe T. Taylor hosted a meeting in November 1853 to gain an understanding. There were a few bad incidents afterwards, but overall an element of mutual respect and cooperation endured.
With this understanding in place, Taylor and others commenced erecting buildings, cultivating the land, growing grain crops and raising livestock.
Jobe T. Taylor erected a saw mill in 1855 and a grist mill soon after. A remnant of the flour mill displayed by the Native Daughters of the Golden West can still be seen as you drive into Taylorsville.
In 1861, the Post Office was established and named Taylor’s Ranch. Jobe T. Taylor was the first postmaster. In January 1864, ‘Ranch’ was dropped and ‘ville’ was added, thus the small town of Taylorsville was named. Taylor was the postmaster at this time also.
Jobe Tyrrill Taylor was born in Pennsylvania 21 March 1811. He relocated to Illinois and for a time held the position of surveyor of U.S. public lands.
In 1849 he crossed the plains in the fever of the gold rush, coming into Big Meadows (now under Lake Almanor) via the Lassen Route. He first mined at Long’s Bar in Butte County, then tried near Bidwell’s Bar, on up the middle fork to Crooked Bar and finally to Nelson Creek.
Mr. Taylor was a well-known participant in the development of Indian Valley and of Plumas County. He died 5 March 1878.
The large funeral procession of family, friends and his brothers in the Masonic Lodge, Grange and Good Templars escorted his body to the gravesite in his beloved Taylor’s Ranch – Taylorsville.
Today, Taylorsville, receives a large number of tourists, especially in the summer season, and draws large crowds to the Silver Buckle Rodeo July 4th and the Blackhawk Solar Cook-Off, the 2nd weekend in July.
~ Jo L. Giessner, local history and genealogy author, is a descendant of northern California pioneers. A graduate of CSU-Chico and retired from a career with the State of California, she enjoys researching, writing, road trips and memberships in several historical societies.
Jobe T. Taylor (1811-1878)
Jo L. Giessner is the author and owner of Family History & Genealogy – Red Bluff, CA 96080 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Advanced Geologic Exploration, Scientists of the Earth, is based in Chester, CA. This full service geological consulting firm uses its broad experience rocks, minerals, soils, and water to give our clients superior representation. Buy a gold claim, learn about the lay of the land, or join the club and just explore.
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By Melissa Wynn
What could be more relaxing on a hot day in Chico than a leisurely float on an inner tube. Rafting and “tubing” along the Sacramento River is a favorite pastime for the locals. Inner-tube rentals are available at a variety of locations in town, especially along Nord Ave, or you can purchase your own at Walgreens at 1042 Nord Ave or Star Liquors at 959 Nord Ave. Star Liquors boasts the best price in town. Tubers can park and launch at the Irvine Finch Access Site on Highway 32, just East of Hamilton City,and enjoy a leisurely float. Many floaters like to rest at Beer Can Beach and then get out at Scotty’s Boat Landing. This float averages two hours.
Tubing and kayaking along Butte Creek is also a popular area pastime. Public access to the creek is available at the Steel Bridge, and most paddle or bob along down to the historic Honey Run Covered Bridge and get out there. The scenery is breathtaking in this area and plenty of wide open spaces for picnicking can be found along the way. Get an extra tube and float your supplies with you. The day is sure to be blast. To get to Steel Bridge, take the Skyway exit off of Hwy 99 in Chico. Travel up the Skyway, making a left onto Honey Run Road. Follow Honey Run approximately five miles to the Covered Bridge, and make a left on Centerville Road. Go approximately four miles up to the Steel Bridge. This float can take anywhere from three to five hours, depending on river currents.
Beat the heat this summer summer tubin’ the waterways of Chico.
As with any water sport, tubers, rafters and kayakers should use extreme caution when floating. Be aware of hidden “snags” or tree branches, as well as strong undercurrents.
By Lorraine Shoemaker
There are few things better than fresh vegetables straight from the garden. Those
of us fortunate enough to grow our own veggies can attest that there is little comparison between home grown, home canned green beans and those in an aluminium can from the local grocery store. They hardly taste like the same vegetable!
It’s just as easy to grow pole beans in pots on your deck as in a formal garden. Just make sure that there is sufficient support for the vine. This can be in the form of a lattice or maybe a tipi shaped support made of three 5-6 foot sticks or poles tied together at the top. Tipi style supports make for easier bean picking later on. For complete instruction of planting vegetables and general gardening visit, www.usda.gov .
Once your bean plants start bearing fruit, check the vines thoroughly and often for mature beans. The optimal size is about 4 inches long. Left too long on the plant, the bean pod grows pithy and fibrous, and will slow or prevent the growth of new fruit. So you may need to pick every day as these pods are adept at hiding. Getting low to the ground and looking up under the leaves will expose many pods previously undetected.
Once you have harvested your plants, can or freeze as soon as possible for optimal freshness and nutrition. Five pole bean plants yield about 40 quarts of prepared beans. Safe and complete canning instruction is also available at www.usda.gov .
There is an abundance of fruits and vegetables that can be container grown in a limited space, so almost anyone can enjoy garden fresh produce – even without a green thumb.
By Melissa Wynn
So, you’ve decided to raise chickens. What comes next? First you need to choose a breed that meets the criteria of your needs. Some are good egg layers but not best for the stew pot. Others are better for meat but not so much for eggs and many breeds are just fine for both. (See Critters page this issue)
Will you start with adult birds or downy baby chicks? Like all babies new chicks need special attentive care. The first week chicks need to kept very warm, 90-100 degrees. Each week that follows the temperature is lowered by five degrees. This means the chicks will need an enclosed well ventilated space called a brooder. Several commercial models are available but a brooder can be as simple as a sturdy cardboard box. Small brooders are easily heated with a 100 watt light bulb pointing into one corner. Your brooder should allow for each chick to have at least one square foot of space as they grow quickly. A floor covering for the brooder , such as pine shavings, is also needed. Like their adult chicken parents chicks love to scratch and peck at the ground. On nice days start introducing your chicks to the great outdoors. Section off a small area so that they are easy to catch when it is time to come back inside. Handling your chicks when they are little helps them get used to being caught and moved around. Always wash your hands after handling your chicks and after cleaning their areas. Of course all living things need food and water. Locals in our area can pick up chick crumbles and starter feed blends as well as water dispensers and even the chicks themselves from the Pardner at 702-100 Johnstonville Rd in Susanville.
After the first two months the chicks are ready to move outside to a chicken coop. Chickens are very vulnerable to predators so your chicken coop and hen house need to be sturdy. Skunks, fox and coyotes are all good at digging and love to eat chickens so be sure that the floor and perimeter of your chicken coop has a liner such as chicken wire to prevent entry from tunneling. A wire covering over the coop is a good idea as many predators are also good fence climbers. There are endless options for designing your hen house but each should have plenty of nesting boxes for egg laying. Pine shavings or straw make excellent bedding for the boxes. Many designs have “back doors” allowing you to reach into each nesting box from the outside when gathering eggs.
Adult chickens will require a food change as well. Many varieties are available to help enhance egg laying or quicker growth for meat production. Ask our friends at the Pardner or your own local feed store which feed is right for your birds. Chickens also enjoy a treat of veggie scraps or bread crumbs now and then. Happy chickens are healthy chickens.
Chickens can fill your fridge with fresh, organic eggs and poultry, entertain you as a pet or take you to exotic breed competitions. They can be a load of fun but are also a big responsibility. They are messy, noisy and require regular maintenance and care. Before you decide that back yard chickens are for you do your home work and check your local codes to be sure it is allowed in your town or city.
Facts Courtesy of The Pardner and backyardchickens.com