April–June, 2012 Yosemite, California Complimentary Carrying Ansel’s cameras Ansel Adams’s son Michael talks about riding burros in Yosemite and taking pictures with his dad by Marv Dealy I first became aware of Ansel Adams’s photography when I began collecting calendars that featured his work—much of it in Yosemite and the Sierra. I couldn’t bear to throw the calendars away and discovered that if you wait ten or twelve years, the dates match up and you can enjoy the beautiful photographs again and still have an up-to-date calendar. I met Ansel’s son, Michael, after he mailed a subscription to the Yosemite Gazette in an envelope with a return address of the Mono Lake Ansel Adams Gallery. I’d emailed him, asking if he was any relation, as he and Ansel shared a last name. He emailed back saying Ansel was his dad. After more correspondence, I asked if he would be willing to talk to me for a story for the Yosemite Gazette, and we met recently in Mariposa. Michael was born in Yosemite Park on August 1, 1933 in the park hospital and lived there through the first year of high school. After attending Stanford for “a couple of years,” he said, “I went in the Air Force and flew airplanes. When I got out I came back to Yosemite and taught skiing for Nick Fiore, whom I’d met in 1948 when he arrived. I became the manager of Tuolumne Lodge for four summers. I finished college and decided I needed to do something legitimate so I went back for premed. Ansel’s cameras, cont. on page 8 photo courtesy the Ansel Adams family Apple blossom time by Tom Gardner Last summer I wrote a story for the Yosemite Gazette about the historic apple orchards in Yosemite Valley. Before I was finished I decided a follow-up article about Mother Lode apple growers in the twenty-first century would be in order. It was easy to find a good orchard—Cover’s Apple Ranch. On thirty-five acres some thirty-five miles west of Yosemite Park between East Sonora and Tuolumne City at 3000 feet above sea level, the Cover operation fits the definitions of family farm and home-grown. In addition to 3,500 apple and pear trees, Cover’s Apple Ranch features a restaurant, bake shop, and retail outlet. Behind the main building is a packing shed with cold storage, cider machinery, and a kitchen where applesauce and other products are prepared. Well known to locals, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch six days a week, but never on Sundays. The Cover (rhymes with “over”) families are members of the Old Brethern Church, a religious denomination which traces its origins to Central Europe in the sixteenth century. Their culture today consists of a simple lifestyle and plain clothing; the women wear long, caped dresses with white mesh bonnets, while the men wear full beards without Cover’s, continued on page 13 Ansel Adams standing on a platform he built atop his 1938 Cadillac limousine, about to take a picture from near the edge of Glacier Point. Lynn Hill: “Climbing Wisdom” by Matt Johanson A classic by any standard, Astroman (5.11c) exemplifies climbing’s evolution in Yosemite and elsewhere. Warren Harding and Chuck Pratt used more than 200 pieces of direct aid on its 1,100 overhanging feet during their 1959 first ascent, an impressive and hard-fought achievement. But when John Bachar, Ron Kauk and John Long climbed the intensely demanding 12-pitch route on Washington Column entirely without aid in 1975, they shattered perceptions of what was possible in the vertical world. Astroman still ranks among Yosemite’s most challenging free climbs due to its great sustained difficulty and unnerving exposure. Attesting to that is Lynn Hill, no stranger to redefining the possible. The perennial competition champion became the first woman to climb Midnight Lightning and to free climb the West Face of Leaning Tower. Above all, her free ascent of The Nose— unprecedented for both women and men—made her name widely known even outside climbing circles. For a step in her evolution, Hill credits a daunting effort on Astroman in September Lynn Hill, cont. page 12
April   June, 2012  Yosemite, California  Complimentary  Carrying Ansel   s cameras Ansel Adams   s son Michael talks abou...
Page Two Yosemite Gazette The best way to see Yosemite is … from the Queen’s suite at the Ahwahnee Staying in the Tressider Room, where Queen Elizabeth slept, is a thirty-year dream fulfilled by Colleen Castro I was accepted to an internship program in the spring of 1983 with the Yosemite Natural History Association (now the Yosemite Association). I was nineteen years old and in the park management program at West Valley Jr. College. There were about eighteen of us interns, all currently attending or fresh out of college. We had two weeks of orientation and training in Yosemite Valley and then we were assigned throughout the park where we performed as interpretive rangers giving presentations, leading guided walks and campfire programs, working in visitor centers, and more. One memorable part of the orientation was the tour of the Ahwahnee Hotel. Here are some of my memories of that magnificent hotel. The magnificence of the architecture and how the hotel was built to fit in to the incredible surrounding of the sheer cliffs of Yosemite Valley stuck in my mind. I learned that Ahwahnee, which means “deep grassy valley,” is the name the Native Indians gave to their valley home The local natives were called the Ahwahneechee, or “people of the deep grassy valley.” The interior design of the Ahwahnee follows the native theme. Even the Ahwahnee logo is from a local native symbol, the “running man.” We learned that the Ahwahnee was first built to bring affluent visitors to the park simply because of their influence and money which would back the idea of national parks. The Ahwahnee was completed in 1927, a time when the idea of putting aside land as public domain for the enjoyment of future generations was not popular. The National Park Service itself had been created only a few years before in 1915 under the National Park Service Organic Act. I remember the elegance of the Ahwahnee, which to me at the age of nineteen seemed to be overdone in such a naturally beautiful park, and yet it had a very warm and comfortable atmosphere. As part of our tour we were led to the sixth—and top—floor into the Queen’s Suite. Only two months before, Queen Elizabeth II had stayed there while visiting California. At one time the sixth floor had been a roof garden and dance hall, but only for about one year. In 1928 the floor was turned into an apartment for Donald Tressider’s family when he was president of Yosemite Park and Curry Company. Many years later the apartment was turned into a private guest suite and sunroom. The Tressider Room, where Queen Elizabeth slept, was not very large and yet had a beautiful fireplace, a four poster bed, a large bathroom and incredible views from all windows. The Tressider Room had been remodeled just before the queen’s visit to include a large bathroom with a bidet installed for the queen. We were photo by Colleen Castro The Queen’s Suite, so called because Queen Elizabeth stayed there during her 1983 visit, is on the top floor, far left in this photo of the Ahwahnee Hotel. also shown the queen’s table in the Great Dining Hall. That summer I spent a few cold days sitting in front of the enormous fireplaces, drying my clothes in the Ahwahnee Great Room while sipping tea or hot chocolate and listening to the pianist. Today, there are signs in front of all the fireplaces in the public areas that state you cannot dry clothing there. I was a student intern making six dollars a day, and I lived in a tent cabin. Being able to hang out in the Ahwahnee was very special and something I took advantage of whenever I could. I remember thinking how special it would be to be able to afford the luxury of staying at the Ahwahnee and eating at the Queen’s table. That summer I met a wonderful man whom I married; I have been in the area ever since. Over the years I have had occasion to visit the Ahwahnee many times. I clearly remember my first dinner in the Grand Dining Room with the thirty-four-foot ceilings, sugar pine timbers, white table cloths, linen napkins, candlelight and someone playing the piano in the background—the same piano that Ansel Adams used to play— enjoying a wonderfully elegant dinner with my husband. That’s the first time I had escargot. For a few years I was a private tour guide and would take the guests to the Ahwahnee for lunch. Sometimes while they ate I would meander around the hotel enjoying the peace, quiet and incredible magnificence of the surroundings. Last fall I took my mother to the Ahwahnee for her birthday and we ate at the Queen’s table in the Grand Dining Room. The view from that table is spectacular, floor to ceiling windows looking out to the Upper Yosemite Falls. My dream of staying in the Queen’s Suite were fulfilled recently. Thirty years after my tour of the Ahwahnee, a dear friend, Cindy Collum, called to ask if I would like to stay with her for one night in the Queen’s Suite at the Best way, continued on page 14
Page Two  Yosemite Gazette  The best way to see Yosemite is     from the Queen   s suite at the Ahwahnee Staying in the Tr...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Three Luxury lodges in national parks Bridge the awesomeness of nature with human comfort By Joyce Griffith The surges of people curious to see the wonders of our magnificent national parks raised an opportunity to build rustic, magnificent lodges to accommodate them. Not all of them. Many visitors continued to search out tent camping spots, a vacant hotel room down the road, or a place to park an RV or a motorhome. But for those who could afford them, the splendid lodges and inns offered a setting in keeping with the luxury of their surroundings. The first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872 after being authorized by U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. When the railroad arrived in 1883 thousands of tourists plunged into the park to see the sights. Low-cost hotels and accommodations sprang up, but tourists complained about bad management. Thirty years later Robert Chambers Reamer, a self-taught architect, began designing the lodge. His goals were to maintain simplicity of design, using natural materials and handwork. That he did. Decorative lodgepole pieces were hand-picked by the architect to use as decorative pieces. Stone was quarried locally, and much of the ironwork was forged on location. In the winter it was so cold that nails would break when pounded. The workers set up big stoves to heat the nails before using them. The Old Faithful Inn was a monument to luxury during the 1920s with indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, and steam heat. Within fifty years the vagaries of time had clawed away at the building until joints were coming apart, the roof was falling, and logs were rolling off the building. Rather than let the magnificent lodge crumble and decay, private and public funds were raised, and a ten-year $7,350,000 project to restore the Old Faithful Inn began in 1979. Eleven years later a raging forest fire threatened the structure, but the “Old Faithful Inn” was untouched and remains the first, photo by Colleen Castro The view from the dining room at the Ahwahnee Hotel is oriented to showcase Yosemite Falls. and some say, the finest, lodge of the national parks. Several hundred air miles west of Old Faithful, the Ahwahnee opened in Yosemite National Park in 1927, eleven years after the National Park Service was formed. The architect, Stephen T. Mather, who was also the first director of the National Park Service, believed that the only way to bring wealthy and influential leaders to Yosemite who would provide support for years to come, was to offer them accommodations they would appreciate and enjoy. Rough-cut granite, concrete, steel, and glass are chief design elements of the Ahwahnee. The inn consists of blocks with two three-story wings. The display of glass in new structures was just coming into play, and one of the architects, Gilbert Stanley Underwood, designed magnificent glass windows and a solarium to add brightness indoors, and help bring Groveland Appraisal Services Rick Fox , SRA P.O. Box 495 Groveland, CA 95321 209-962-7067 grovelandapp@mlode.com 209-878-0117 the outdoors inside. The positioning of the Ahwahnee with the wing used for dining showcasing Yosemite Falls plus the opposite wing toward Half Dome, and the south wing towards Glacier point, welds the lodge to the surrounding mountains and rock formations. You can see walls featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and stained glass panels. Past the Great Lounge are four more rooms, and the half-circle Solarium with two-story windows extending from the edge of the building. The 6,620 square foot Dining Room at the Ahwahnee features sugar-pine roof trusses, pine logs with a steel core to help support the building, and pine columns alternating with floor-to-ceiling windows that open to the meadow. Another large window shares a view of the Yosemite Falls. Besides Ansel Adams’ photographic work, he is remembered in Yosemite for his piano concerts at the Ahwahnee and for starting the tradition of an afternoon tea in the Great Lounge. His participation led to the growth of one of the most popular yearly events at Ahwahnee, the annual Bracebridge Dinner, which has grown to a five-day annual event with 1,675 tickets available only by lottery. As a youngster Ansel Adams played the court jester and soon after that took over the management of the whole event. The lodges at Old Faithful and Yosemite are probably the most famous of the lodges in the National Park Services, but lodges in other national parks are also fascinating—and luxurious. Luxury lodges, continued on page 14
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Three  Luxury lodges in national parks Bridge the awesomeness of nature wit...
Page Four Yosemite Gazette Letters to the Editor Editor, I ride Old Priest Grade once a week. I have never had cars backed up behind me for more than 60 seconds. I even go as far as letting go of the bars to wave a reluctant motorist around me. Sometimes, it takes several waves for the driver to get a clue. Perhaps the bicyclist you followed were taking the entire lane? If they were, they were being inconsiderate as there is plenty of places to allow cars to pass. Now that the road has been repaved, it’s better than ever! I am 54 years old so I qualify as an “old guy”. I use the grade to train for a 129 mile and 15,500’ of elevation gain ride known as the Death Ride. Old Priest isn’t on the radar as far as “machismo” goes. If you don’t mind, I would like to share what I have learned over the years. If you ride to the right of the white line, some motorists will come very close as they pass. If I ride just a tad to the left of the white line, they will go clear into the other lane to go around Yosemite Gazette is published quarterly by Throckmorten Enterprises 17433 Highway 120 P.O. Box 353 Big Oak Flat, California 95305 209 962-7308 209 962-5286 (fax) Editor and Publisher Marv Dealy Assistant to the Editor Joyce Griffith Area Editors, Marc Fossum (Groveland), D. Cangiamilla, (Big Oak Flat) Correspondents Tom Gardner (recreation), D. Cangiamilla, (murder and mayhem) Advertising, Michael Gahagan Art, Chris Emmanuel Printing, Foothill Printing & Graphics me. There is some kind of rule at work where these drivers pay no attention to clearance, (3’ please as is the law in many States), if I ride to the right of the magical line. Ride on it or just to the left, things change! Then there are the good old boys in their modified diesels. They are very proud of all that black smoke and they time it just right to cover me in their stink just to make a point. I get it, the amount of smoke is inversely proportional to the size of your... oh, never mind. This is a family paper. Mostly I have noticed, climbing the old or new grade, that I get allot of smiles and thumbs up. Most folks think it’s pretty cool to be able to get up either grade and they encourage me, thanks! So, to wrap up, I am predictable. I don’t weave and I am aware of cars coming up behind me, (I have a mirror). I am visible with a BRIGHT, red flashing light and high visibility clothing, and I use hand signals. You know what I am going to do. What are you motorists going to do? Oh, one more thing, I hate waiting behind slow cars on the way down. I have things to do, you know! It’s a pretty scary hill, what are motorists thinking when they could be driving in the safe, flat, roads of Yosemite Gazette the leading quarterly for the Yosemite Region 10,000 copies each issue and online at YosemiteGazette.com Direct letters to the editor to our post box or to editor@YosemiteGazette.com Ad and subscription information 209 962-7308 Subscriptions $30 per year, delivered via first class mail © 2012 All rights reserved 100% published in the U.S.A. on paper the Valley? There isn’t any room to pass them! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate motorists! Eric Bettencourt Don Pedro P.S. Great paper. Editor, I did not have a chance to read the Oct.-Dec. 2011 issue of your enjoyable periodical until this week, while visiting The Redwoods in Yosemite, Wawona, so my comments are not fresh. Having traveled Priest Grade often since the early 1940’s, I was eager to read your article on it. The chronology errors surprised me. Until sometime in the 1960’s, Hiway 120 was a slow, primitive road, including Priest Grade and a one lane dirt stretch traversing the Tuolumne Grove of Big Trees to Crain Flat. I was reminded of this frequently in the 1950’s when I worked summers at the Camp Curry Dining Room in Yosemite Valley. Guests from San Francisco would, routinely, arrive more than one hour late for their dinner reservations. They would look on a map at the “straight shot” of 120 from the East Bay to the Valley and badly underestimate the travel time. The “New” Priest Grade was constructed in the 1960’s and after that, over many years, Hiway 120 was re-routed, straightened and widened.  What did happen around 1912 (when you say the New Priest was built) was the construction of a railroad to supply the building of the dam that created Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. A well-preserved section persists in the form of a free-stone masonry retaining wall, visible on the left as one starts up Old Priest Grade. Another subject: I was surprised to see the name Cangiamilla in your Masthead (or whatever that’s called). I hadn’t seen that name since 1946 when I graduated from Los Gatos Elementary School. Yolanda Cangiamilla, from San Jose, was our 7th Grade homeroom teacher and the school’s music teacher. Ralph Harder Sutter Creek, CA We talked to Ralph when he stopped by our office one afternoon, and after comparing notes, considering that public records such as contemporary newspaper articles and Caltrans records are readily available, Ralph allowed as to how we might have gotten our dates right, and his memory might not be correct.–Ed. Editor, Can you help me to look for a rock climbing guide, please. I am a rock climber and alpine climber. Letters, continued next page Editorial  This issue marks the end of our fifth year of publishing the Yosemite Gazette. In that time we’ve brought you stories that ranged from the Tong Wars in Chinese to the first car over Tioga Pass. We’ve taken you along on our visits to musuems, Bodie, and bodacious vacation cabins. We’ve explored the formation of the Sierra, and pondered Joe Mora’s beautiful cartes (maps). We’ve ridden along in World War II vintage Cadillac convertibles, 1960s Cobras and T-Birds, and a Model T on jaunts into Yoseite Park, all in the name of bringing you our reports on the “best way to see Yosemite.” We’ve followed the adventures of a Belgian argonaut as well as the McCready boys. We’ve been fortunate enough to sit with renowned big rock climbers such as Tom Frost and Royal Robbins and share some of their stories. Together, we’ve learned about the Erickson family cattle drive and the Gaiser’s branding, belling and Rocky Mountain oyster production. We’ve visited Tehipite, the Golden Rock Ditch, the El Capitan Moraine and the Mariposa wagon train. We’re delighted you’re along with us for this journey and can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring.
Page Four  Yosemite Gazette  Letters to the Editor Editor, I ride Old Priest Grade once a week. I have never had cars back...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Yosemite weather Letters, continued from preceding page I shall visit Los Angeles for my helicopter pilot license between January 3rd and October 4th then I shall have ten days in Yosemite for climbing El Captain or Half Dome. My climbing standard is only up to 5.9 mulit-pitches. I want a guide to lead me up El Captain-East Buttress. Can you advise me how much you charge and what gears need, as soon as possible since I shall leave Hong Kong to LA on February 29th. Best Regards, Conway Leung Nim Ho We wrote back to Conway, telling that he would need to contact the Yosemite Mountaineering School to obtain a guide and gave him further information about climbing in Yosemite. We included the website addresses for the school, as well. We wrote that we trust this information will help in planning his climb. We’ve interviewed many a climber, going back to Royal Robbins and Tom Frost, and understand the view from part way up El Cap is unbeatable.–Ed. Editor, Your Yosemite Gazette is a splendid publication for our community and region. Please keep up your good work—everything is first-rate! I’m wondering if you have ever considered doing a story on the Cliff House Lodge fire, ca 1957. The fire is a mystery to many an old-timer I have spoken to through the 24 years I’ve lived in the Sonora, California area. My interest is kind of personal: my grandfather was beaten and killed at that lodge in June 1955, by its proprietor, while Grandpa was an employee for the City and County of San Francisco (Hetch Hetchy). This event occurring six years before my birth. Back in 1993 I did some research at the Union Democrat building. I was able to find articles about my grandfather’s incident at the lodge and the subsequent trial. I photocopied everything I found but unfortunately misplaced half or more of my research (I blame this to making two house moves since that time). Archives at the Democrat, to the best of my knowledge, are now Page Five photo courtesy Elaine M. Anderson Minerva Bradley Mitchell (center), William Mitchell (left) and John Mitchell (right). Photo taken after Civil War, possibly in the1870s. microfiche at the Tuolumne County Library. I’ll make another trip to the Democrat to see what I can find out. This, for all I know, is the best resource for information. Wondering if there may be resources available in Groveland since the Cliff House Lodge was in the area? Perhaps an item in the Gazette asking readers their memories, recollections, and stories about the Cliff House—and its demise? We can find out what they know—that may get some wheels turning and facts brought to the surface. I will stay in touch with you and do more research. Hopefully I can find missing old information and new info that can be made into a good story. I do like my suggestion about asking readers for their memories and recollectons. If any of this has no interest or story in the end, I sincerely appreciate your response. Keep up the good work! Sincerely, Frank Andrews Gold Springs (Columbia) Editor, How do I get in contact with D. Adams, the author of the story on William Mitchell? I am William Mithchell’s great, great niece; his sister Mary is my great, great grandmother. I loved the story, I was astounded when I read it. As a child my mom use to tell me family stories as she went on her geneology treks in the family car. I remember her mentioning a family member going to jail for killing his wife’s lover. I wanted to tell Adams I loved the story and if I can have permission to post it on Ancestry.com? On my geneology site? In the photo (above) mother Minerva Bradley Mitchell, Boy standing is William Mitchell. Boy leaning is John Mitchell. Photo taken after Civil War, possibly in the 1870s. William passed away in 1910. His wife re-married a man named John R. Adams. I’m still trying to locate William Mitchell’s children’s (William Jr. and Lillian Dale Mitchell) decendents. Elaine M. Anderson Tulare, California You can check our website at YosemiteGazette.com for a general idea of the current weather around Yosemite, but please remember that we’re in the mountains and weather can change rapidly. Spring is upon us at this writing, and soon the snow melt will come. It’s a great time to visit the park. Because the weather can change, sometimes precipitously, you’ll want to remember the words of Sir Rannulph Fiennes who said “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” To get a general idea of the weather, you can view web cams at the Yosemite Conservancy’s website that will show you current conditions with views east from Turtleback Dome toward Half Dome, another of Half Dome from Ahwahnee Meadow, and another from below Sentinel Dome. Visit www.YosemiteConservancy.org/ webcams More webcams and current conditons can be found at the National Park Service website www.nps. gov/yose Yosemite road news Yosemite National Park is open all year. Tioga and Sonora Passes and the road to Glacier Point past Badger Pass all will see winter closures at some point and are closed at this writing. When Tioga Pass is closed you cannot drive through the park to get from California to Nevada or vice versa. Don’t rely entirely on your GPS. Read a map that notes winter closures or call for road conditions at the number below. We can tell you personal stories of people calling from Lee Vining asking why they can’t come the “short route” because Tioga Pass is closed, whether unexpectedly early or into the late spring, California state law requires you to carry chains when driving in the mountains when winter driving conditions exist, including four wheel drive vehicles, even if they’re equipped with snow tires. For updated 24-hour road information in Yosemite call 209 372-0200 or visit NPS.gov/yose Slow down, you’re in the mountains now.
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Yosemite weather  Letters, continued from preceding page  I shall visit Los Ange...
Page Six Yosemite Gazette Museum expansion Yosemite Gateway Museum hopes to expand display space by Marc Fossum The expansion of the Yosemite Gateway Museum began to be discussed last year by the Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society (STCHS), which owns and operates the museum, located in Groveland, California, twenty miles west of Yosemite Park. Society members agreed it would be good for the historical society’s mission if they could find the means to expand the floor space and display capabilities of the museum. Of primary concern is creating space for public display of the 360 square foot life-size gold rush diorama that STCHS acquired in 2008. The dioramas are life-size depictions of various gold mining activities of the 1850s illustrating the cultural diversity of life in the mines. They were created by the Oakland Museum and have been on display throughout the country. Recently the Oakland Museum donated them to the California State Museum and the dioramas were put in storage in Sacramento. In 2007 STCHS learned that the dioramas might be available to a good home. A deal was negotiated, and today the dioramas are being stored at a temporary facility pending a long-term storage solution. The dioramas consist of numerous fixed scenes with a variety of interchangeable props and life-size mannequins. The museum envisions using these items to create a variety of displays. The initial concept for expansion to accommodate the dioramas was to extend the west side of the museum twenty feet and continue the existing roof design to cover the expansion. Before long a second proposal was brought forward: design the expansion to have the outline and appearance of a gold mine stamp mill, including the trademark corrugated tin roof and siding. Ultimately STCHS hopes to acquire a set of gold ore processing stamps to assemble, in working order, inside the expansion with the other various accoutrements of a milling operation. The stamp mill display would be anchored at the basement floor level and rise up into the existing museum display floor. Viewers would be able to see the cam shaft and conveyor at eye level and look down onto the stamping feature, ball mill, separators, and other equipment. The stamp mill display will be an excellent complement to the gold rush diorama display. Anyone who would like to participate in the museum’s expansion please contact the STCHS Office at (209) 962-4408 and we will include you on our museum expansion project committee. STCHS is currently seeking a qualified individual with project management experience to volunteer as chairperson of this endeavor. (top) Yosemite Gateway Museum’s planned expansion may house stamp mill machinery and give room to display a gold rush diorama. (bottom) The gold rush diorama was originally built for the Oakland Museum and has been exhibited across the United States. STATE HISTORIC PARK Miner’s Mart • Gas, diesel, propane exchange • Hot and cold food • Coffee bar, fresh pastries • Tri-tip sandwiches Fridays illustration and photo this page courtesy Southern Tuolumne County Historical Society • Open seven days • RVs welcome • Tourist information • Deli sandwiches 17451 Highway 120, Big Oak Flat, California • 209 962-4768 “where the big oak of Big Oak Flat once stood” Town Tours ....................................................... Sat. & Sun. 11 am Gold Rush Days ................................................ Second Sat. 1–4 pm Easter Victorian Parade & Egg Hunts ........... April 8 36th Annual Wine Tasting ............................... April 15 33rd Annual Old Mill Run .............................. April 21 53rd Annual Fireman’s Muster....................... May 5-6 Memorial Day Salute ....................................... May 28 Columbia Diggins 1852.................................... May 31-June 3 4th Annual Sarsparilla Roundup.................... June 9 46th Annual Father’s Day Fly-In.................... June 16-17 Summer Arts Camp-CSAC............................. June 18-22 C o l u m b i a C h a m b e r o f C o m m e rc e
Page Six  Yosemite Gazette  Museum expansion Yosemite Gateway Museum hopes to expand display space by Marc Fossum   The ex...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Seven Truant school bell returns to schoolhouse by Marc Fossum Residents and Highway 120 travelers alike have long observed a noticeable absence of a school bell in the bell tower of our beloved old school house at the west end of Groveland, twenty miles to the west of Yosemite Park. The school house served over sixty years as Groveland’s public school, followed by a brief stint as the sales office for Bosie Cascade’s Pine Mountain Lake development. Today, the Groveland office of Yosemite Bank occupies the former school house. For thirty years, maybe more as no one seems to know, the school bell has been absent from the school. This case of thirty-plus years of truancy has finally come to an end. I have been attempting to track down the truant bell for nearly ten years. Through the help of a local sleuth who specializes in procurement of antiquities, the bell was discovered hiding in an old barn along Big Creek Shaft Road. Eat your heart out, American Pickers. The school bell had clearly been in hiding for a very long time, as evidenced by a bad case of rust and dust. Joe Moore, alumni of the school (class of 1959), and a past ringer of the bell, was kind enough to unleash the fury of his sand blaster on the rusty bell. In short order we had a bell as clean and orderly as the day it first reported to school. To avoid another case of rust besetting our bell, it has been dressed in a gleaming coat of gold (paint). The bell is now back in its bell tower. Perhaps you have already heard our bell ringing, proclaiming its return to its old home. Those within earshot can hear the bell at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. nearly every day of the school week, and sometimes after a really large deposit at the bank. We welcome the bells return to prominence and once again enjoy its unique music echoing through the mountains that surround Groveland. for over 30 years photo courtesy Marc Foxxum Les Miller of Suburban Propane helps hoist the long-missing bell into its original location in what used to be the belfry of what used to be the elementary school in Groveland, California.The bell was missing for over thirty years until its recent rediscovery and restoration. If you ask nicely, Marc Fossum, pictured on the roof guiding the bell into place, may let you ring the bell with the rope that now dangles from the ceiling in his office below the belfry. Like us on Facebook The newly posted Yosemite Gazette Facebook pages are slowly expanding and a new design has been unveiled. Yosemite Gazette Facebook administrator, Michael Gahagan, invites readers to take a look at the new format and become new “Likes.” “The number of ‘Likes’ of the pages is important,” Gahagan pointed out, “as we are able to expand the reach of our advertisers and supporters as the ‘Likes’ continue to multiply. “Our Facebook pages will allow us to keep readers, subscribers and friends informed of our supporters and advertisers’ messages on a daily basis. “The new Facebook page format highlights the use of photographs,” Gahagan said, “and we have started some albums of our own to include photos from our issue archives of the last five years.” Recent Facebook posts from Friends include “Lots of cool old photos of Yosemite” and “Good source of Yosemite history.” “We also can post excerpts of articles from our current issue,” Gahagan pointed out, “including photos that we didn’t have space to print in our regular issue. “We have received a beautiful photograph taken in Yosemite by Carol Rosalind, of Groveland, to include in Yosemite Scenics Album,” Gahagan said “and we will continue to extend an open invitation to photographers and readers to send in their favorite Yosemite photographs. “Visit our Facebook pages and get to ‘like’ us. Tell your Facebook friends about us.” One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome • The Only dedicated Half Dome Guide • Covers History, Geology, Preparation • Includes 60 Pictures • Gear Checklist • 16 Points of Interest with Mileage Altitude, Elapsed Time $12.95 plus tax at REI, Yosemite, outfitters and bookstores www.HikeHalfDome.com
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Seven  Truant school bell returns to schoolhouse by Marc Fossum  Residents ...
Page Eight Ansel’s cameras, from page 1 “I lived in Fresno when I was doing that, worked summers in Yosemite, got married in 1962, went to medical school a year later and finished that in 1967, spent a year in Washington, D.C. as an intern. Back on an Air Force tour in Europe for three years, came back to Fresno. By then we had two children and I did a residency in internal medicine and practiced in Fresno for twenty five years. “When we came back from Europe in 1971 my folks were fed up with dealing with the National Park Service in Yosemite. They were frustrated and thinking of getting out of the concession business. My sister didn’t want it and my wife and I said yes, we want to keep it going. “My wife ran it until a few years ago when we turned it over to our son, Matthew. This year, the Ansel Adams Gallery, previously known as Best’s Studio, celebrates 110 years in the park. We’re the oldest concession still in family ownership in all the national parks. “Best’s Studio was among several artists’ studios in Yosemite Valley at the turn of the twentieth century. Best’s Studio was also the first place that Adams’ work was publicly exhibited. “Ansel Adams was known to play the piano at Best’s Studio, and it was there that he met his future wife, Harry Best’s daughter Virginia. Harry Best was my grandfather.” Michael told me more about this part of the family. “Harry Best came to Yosemite in 1901 to sketch. He was working for a San Francisco newspaper, met a young lady, and after a whirlwind courtship of six weeks they were married under Bridal Veil Falls in 1901. They came back in the summer of 1902 and set up a tent for the summer to sell his work, and that was the beginning of Best’s Studio. Yosemite Gazette “He built a semi-permanent building in the Old Village area near the chapel and in 1927 moved it to its current location and it became year-round—they lived there all year. “It was a neat experience growing up in the park, and as I look back I had more opportunities than I ever realized. Living in the park gave us opportunities to really live the outdoor life in many ways. I started skiing very early. “When I was at Stanford I taught skiing on weekends and holidays for Luggi Foeger, who was the director of the Badger ski school for quite a few years.” I asked Michael how old he was when he realized that people thought his dad took great pictures, and he said “I think fairly early on. We knew he was recognized because he was in demand and his photographs sold well in the gallery, at that time still Best’s Studio.” I asked Michael if he felt any intimidation growing up when it came to taking pictures. He said “I always had a camera—my folks always insisted I had to have a camera. They helped me if I wanted to know something. I‘d go in the darkroom with my dad. “For the most part I took pictures for a record, for the fun of it. We had a photo club in high school and my dad set us all up with photographic paper and an enlarger and all the supplies for our high school darkroom. Now, I have a digital camera and I take pictures for the fun of it.” I asked Michael if he thought his dad would use a digital camera today. He said “That’s one of the questions I usually get—what do you think your dad would have thought about computers and about digital stuff. A year before he died we found a BBC interview tape. They were talking about electronic photography, and he was talking about how he was really looking photo courtesy Ansel Adams family Ansel Adams (right) with son Michael in Zion, Utah, on a road trip. forward to electronic photography, which is what we now have. I think he would have loved it. He loved what he knew about computers. He had an early Apple word processor that he thought was the greatest thing in the world. It was a monstrous machine. “He’d been talking to Steve Jobs apparently and Jobs was going to get him that first Macintosh in 1984, which is when he died. He never got to use it, but he was really looking forward to it. I talked to Steve Jobs a few years later, and the first thing he said was ‘you know, my house is full of Ansel Adams photographs.’ He admired them very much.” I said that when I thought of Ansel Adams taking a picture I thought not of a 35mm camera but of a big box on a tripod and Michael said “you’re right. “When he’d go in the back country he’d take something much smaller, and one tripod, and usually a camera with a lot of film and usually. He had a 3 .25 x 4.25 view camera that did everything—I think it was a Zeiss—that could take film packs plus cut film. You could carry quite a bit of film. Then he would take several lenses and usually he’d take a 35 mm camera which he liked very much. Usually on those trips there were two cameras. Tripod, meter, food, and always had a bottle of bourbon along. In later years he liked vodka. “He took me on pack trips. He took me on my first burro trip. We left Tuolumne Meadows and ended up in the valley about seven or eight days later. He had a lot of experience with burros during his Ansel’s cameras, continued page 13
Page Eight Ansel   s cameras, from page 1    I lived in Fresno when I was doing that, worked summers in Yosemite, got marr...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Nine 2012 Half Dome permit process Precursor to the Long Range Plan by Rick Deutsch Yosemite’s Half Dome is on the bucket list of many hikers. The goal of doing the sixteen-mile hike up the backside drives many to train for months to earn the “I made it to the top” T-shirt. Congress designated ninetyfive percent of Yosemite National Park—including Half Dome and the Half Dome Trail—as a part of the National Wilderness Preservation System in 1984 with the signing of the California Wilderness Act (Public Law 98–425). Today, many visitors cannot see why Half Dome is considered “wilderness,” a term used to designate areas that are “untrammeled, natural, undeveloped and provide solitude.” Half Dome is only two miles as the crow flies from busy Curry Village. Anyone who has done the hike knows there is no solitude; hikers’ mission is to get to the top. Twenty-five years ago treks up to Half Dome were only attempted by a handful, while today it is a badge of courage to do this hike. At its traffic peak in 2009 over 80,000 people made it to the top of Half Dome in a summer season. Summer Saturdays saw up to 1,200 people make it to the top. The peak stands 8,842 feet above sea level and was first climbed in 1875 by use of a knotted rope erected by Scottish immigrant George Anderson. The famous steel cable “handrails” have been up since 1919 but they are not the originals—they were replaced in 1934 and 1984. The hike is classed as “extremely strenuous” due both to the 4,737 foot vertical rise above the floor of Yosemite Valley and to the final 425 foot (at 45 degrees) ascent on the rock itself. To help control the impact on the trail and the annual crowding situation, the park is requiring permits for the third year before the Long Term Plan is finalized for 2013 and beyond. The intent is to provide hikers with a reasonable chance to retreat down the cables if sudden mountain weather blows in. Consideration is also provided to the safety of rescue teams who are at risk. There is a twist this season— there is a lottery to distribute permits. The high incidence of scalping that took place last year led to a positive identifica- photo by Rick Deutsch Contemplating the cables on Half Dome. tion requirement for trip leaders going beyond Sub Dome and up the cables in 2012. Permits were only $1.50 in 2011, but they were illegally sold on internet sites for $60 to $100. Someone even represented that he was me, “Mr. Half Dome,” trying to hawk permits. This year’s lottery is intended to distribute the permits more equally to avoid last year’s internet jam ups at 7 a.m. and to thwart scalpers. Each designated trip leader who wins permits must be on the hike (with identification) and all in the group (six maximum) must arrive at the Sub Dome ranger together. The early bird catches the permit. Lottery applications had to be into www.recreation.gov during March for all hikes this season. This is to prevent creative scalping. Permits may not be sold; hikers are encouraged to cancel for refunds up to two days prior. As a last resort, if people don’t win in the primary lottery, they can reapply two days prior to their desired hike for permits from about fifty to be added each day. Wilderness Permit holders may get Half Dome permits at check-in if their route is near Half Dome. Read the park website under “permits” for complete details, fees and more information about the 2012 process. This system is a precursor to the Long Term Plan expected to be in place for the 2013 season. It is called the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan. A major component of the process was the January 2012 release of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA lists five alternatives: A: Take no action. B: 400 permits per day; five permits for two commercial guide trips. C: 300 permits per day; no direct permits for guides, two trips allowed. D: 140 permits per day; no commercial guided trips allowed. E: Remove the cables; technical climbers only; one guided climbing trip. Alternatives B, C and D provide permits in a mixture of day hikers and Wilderness Permit holders. In the 132-page EA, the park indicates that Alternative A will not even be considered since it does not support the wilderness character and risk management on the Half Dome Trail, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The analysis presented documents including their rationale for each of the remaining alternatives with Alternative C allowing 300 people per day on the final two miles of the Half Dome trail (beginning with the split from the John Muir Trail) as the preferred choice. Each alternative has pros and cons and stirred substantive discussion of why Alternative E, Remove the Cables, is not acceptable. Visitor experience, cultural and historic concerns should eliminate the cable removal option. Despite the EA implying that the removal of the cables would result in only technically competent ascents, non-skilled visitors might attempt Half Dome, continued on page 11
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Nine  2012 Half Dome permit process Precursor to the Long Range Plan by Ric...
Page Ten Yosemite Gazette Day hikes near Tioga Pass Adapted from Tioga Tramps by Adele O’Neill Dana Plateau–If you appreciate going cross-country and reaching high places of extraordinary beauty, Dana Plateau is your kind of hike. The surface, although deeply scoured by wind and water was never glaciated when all about it there were glaciers. Geologists call such an unglaciated island a nunatak. The result is a wild romantic landscape different from most other high places in the Sierra. Once the winter snows have melted off or blown away, the plateau has a profusion of tiny mountain flowers: lupine, loco weed, Mountain buckwheat, and many others. About 0.7 mile east of the Tioga Pass entrance station on the south side of the road is a large parking area for a scenic overlook. From near the restroom, a trail leads down to the west end of Tioga Lake. From there, two options are available. Option one–go easterly crosscountry (no trail) toward Glacier Creek. Don’t go as far as the creek, as it soon ascends a narrow minicanyon with poor footing. Instead, keeping well to the right of the creek, go uphill through the open woods (about one hour) until you reach a broad, rather flat grassy/willowy meadow. Continue without crossing the creek (although you must cross a couple of small tributaries) until you see a cascade on the slope to your left. Follow uphill to the right of the cascade to another flat, smaller meadow. Continue upstream several hundred yards and cross the creek among thick clusters of Corn lilies. You will note to your left (easterly) a wide rocky, not-so-steep gully, notable for masses of Alpine columbine among the rocks (about half an hour from the first meadow to the bottom of the gully). Go up this gully on a vestige of a trail on the left side, and emerge on the Dana Plateau. Fairly strenuous. When descending via this route, when you reach the forest keep well to the left of the mini-canyon mentioned above. Stick to the open woods with good footing. A trail will seem to lead you on in the direction of Tioga Pass, but it soon peters out, and it’s important to turn down toward Tioga Lake before getting entangled in the huge stands of willow to the west. Option two–alternatively, go around Tioga Lake to Glacier Creek, wade it not far from the lake shore or, if the water is not high, cross on convenient rocks or logs. At first going up the left side of the creek there is no trail, or only obscure and intermittent remnants. Soon it becomes well-defined and often stays close to the creek with fine cascades and streamside flowers. It too emerges on the first meadow mentioned above (about one hour). Here you cross an area where a few years ago there was a huge avalanche; the uprooted trees tell the story. This time go up the left side of the cascade to the upper meadow, and on to the rocky gully and Dana Plateau. The plateau is a huge upland. The top is a fair distance to the southeast, and from here you have a close-up view of the Dana Glacier, and sky pilots blooming. The northern extremity has picturesque rock formations, beds of yellow hulsea and blue Davidson’s penstemon, and views of Mount Lyell and the Cathedral Range. Midway between these are spectacular headlands jutting out into space, the central one called Angels’ Landing. Some rock climbers like to scale these headlands from below. All along in the sandy patches and around the rocks grow lupine, shooting stars, Arctic willow, and many more. Glacier Canyon and Dana Lakes East Route–Go toward Dana Plateau as above, as far as the first meadow. Then, instead of turning left up the side of the cascade, continue along the floor of the canyon, following the east side of the creek. At first the trail is obscure and intermittent; later it becomes more evident. There is a crossing close to the first lake. From season to season, the ease of photo courtesy Adele O’Neill Rock formation, Dana Plateau. crossing varies. Sometimes there are logs, sometimes rocks. Half an hour beyond the lake is a sign, “Welcome to Glacier Canyon.” In another half hour you enter a large, rather flat meadow by an old avalanche, marked by a tangle of dead trees. Continue, always near the stream, until it becomes a cascade. Follow to the left up the next bench and into another meadow, where the trail is again somewhat obscured by another avalanche. To the left you can see the gully up Dana Plateau. West Route–At the first meadow, follow the west side of the stream, working upward from bench to bench. The route from the upper meadow opposite the gully to Dana Plateau to the upper end of the canyon is long and involves detours around cliffs and among boulders, passing four lakes all of slightly milky blue water from the glacial “flour” suspended in the water. Eventually you reach the series of moraines at the end of the canyon, which mark various stages of glacial retreat. At this point you have reached the foot of Dana Glacier. Skilled climbers take it on using crampons and ice axes for an ascent of Mount Dana more adventurous and technical than is covered in this guide. Many splendid flowers are found along the streams and mead- Featuring award winning Tuscan olive oils   Extra virgin, first cold pressed French lavender oils Superior therapeutic qualities All products exclusively estate grown in Sonora   Order Online Website: www.sonoragoldoils.com E-Mail:  joyzsie@comcast.net Phone: 209-536-1815, 925-735-2040 ows of Glacier Canyon, from large showy Broad-leafed lupines to tiny Dane’s gentians. Watch the next issue for hikes up the Granite Divide and Mt. Gibbs. Tioga Tramps is published by Albicaulis Press. This book and other books by Elizabeth Stone O’Neill are available at Mountain Bookshop in Sonora as well as stores in Yosemite National Park and on the East Side. For further information contact us at albicaulispress@yahoo.com.
Page Ten  Yosemite Gazette  Day hikes near Tioga Pass Adapted from Tioga Tramps by Adele O   Neill  Dana Plateau   If you ...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Eleven Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus by David Lukas Rock Wrens occupy the broadest altitudinal gradient of any bird in North America, ranging from below sea level in Death Valley to over 14,000 feet on the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada. On barren alpine peaks, they are one of the few birds you will encounter. Although these small birds are easily detected by their ringing tick-ear calls, they are difficult to see as they duck in and out of rock crevices, picking their way among boulders in search of insects and spiders. Smudgy gray at a distance, Rock Wrens examined at close hand reveal fine patterns of dots and bars that mimic the appearance of textured rocks. Despite their camouflage these birds are readily watched once you find one, so it is surprising that almost nothing is known of their basic biology. In fact, published information on this bird’s breed- Open Daily (except Sunday) Full Breakfast Lunch (from eleven) Full Traditional Bakery Apples, Strawberries, Pears, Produce (in season) Expresso, Frappé, Smoothie Bar Apple & Pear Sauce, Jams, Jelly, (no preservatives) Cider (100% natural unfiltered) Train Rides (weather permitting) 19 1 Ch erokee R o ad 21 Tuolumne 209 -9 468 9 2 8cov ersapp anch.com ler ing biology in California is mostly limited to observations made on a single nest for one day. Males are prodigious songsters and will sing over 100 different versions of their loud trilling songs. Pairs cooperate in building nests in rocky crevices or rodent burrows, first laying down foundations of small pebbles that extend beyond the nest entrances like “paved” entryways. On top of these foundations, females construct cups of dry grasses lined with soft hairs. Records of nesting pairs indicate that eggs are laid in early May at low elevations, but they likely nest in June at higher elevations. Information from other regions suggests that Rock Wrens may have two to three broods, but it is not known if this is true for the Sierra Nevada. Females incubate five to six white eggs for about thirteen days. Both parents tend the nestlings for fourteen to sixteen days, and it is thought that Rock Wren families stay together for another month. During the breeding season they are nearly always associated with rocky hillsides, talus slopes, and earthen cuts. They are largely absent from forested areas, but may show up on rock outcroppings, cliffs, or rocky river banks in the middle of otherwise unsuitable habitat. In the winter, most descend to the lower portions of foothill slopes or into adjacent valleys. On the west slope of the Sierra Nevada, these birds are uncom- photo from the public domain Rock Wrens are easy to detect by their ringing tick-ear call, due to their diminutive size they’re hard to see. mon below 3,000 feet and above 9,000 feet, but surprisingly rare at mid-elevations. One study in the Yosemite region suggested that this species is much more abundant in gray pine habitats at low elevations than at higher elevation habitats where people generally look for these unique birds. In the winter, they are relatively common below 2,000 feet and rarely wander as high as 4,000 feet. They are also widely—but perhaps thinly—dispersed everywhere on the east slope from mid-March to mid-October. They apparently descend to warm valley bottoms during the winter, but populations are somewhat localized. For instance, they are fairly common on the Bishop Christmas bird count but essentially absent on the nearby Mammoth Lakes Christmas bird count. This text is drawn from David’s new book Sierra Nevada Birds, which is the first comprehensive guide to the life histories and distribution of all the birds that occur in the Sierra Nevada. Copies of David’s book are available at many local bookstores or www.lukasguides. com. Half Dome, cont. from page 9 to ascend the backside of Half Dome along the cable route with sticky, rubber shoes. If they are successful going up, coming back down is much harder and they will carry a high chance of falling. I am aware of only one person who has successfully gone down the backside of Half Dome without touching the cables. That was Royal Robbins, the first man to climb up the face of Half Dome in 1957. The cable route provides a way for average citizens to enjoy this historic area. I support Alternative B, for 400 people per day as consistent with a safe number of “persons at one time” (PAOT) on the cables to provide for a reasonable rapid descent. Prior studies indicate a preference for a maximum of 70 PAOT on the cables, which Alternative B affords. It is beyond the scope of this article to completely review the EA; readers are encouraged to obtain a copy from the park website at tinyurl.com/6m5ybar. Public review and comment on the plan ended on March 15, 2012. Note that whatever alternative is selected, the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan will be amended if the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and the Wilderness Management Plan determine that protection and enhancement of river values requires adjustments to use of the Half Dome Trail. These are still in development. Rick Deutsch lives in San Jose, and is an author, speaker and adventurer. He has written One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome. He’s hiked Half Dome thirty one times. See www.HikeHalfDome.com
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Eleven  Rock Wren Salpinctes obsoletus by David Lukas  Rock Wrens occupy th...
Page Twelve Yosemite Gazette Lynn Hill, continued from page 1 of 1983. As she climbed with her boyfriend, circumstances required the 22-year-old to lead the intimidating route ill-equipped and in darkness. Yosemite is one of the most spectacular, demanding and humbling places I’ve ever climbed. You have to have certain epic experiences there to really learn what you’re doing. Climbing Astroman was one of those times for me. Some of my friends like John Long and Ron Kauk had climbed it and talked to me about it. That climb is a legend and famous even all the way out in The Gunks, where my then-boyfriend grew up climbing. He was a fabulous 5.12 climber and always good at knowing the reputations of climbs, but in The Gunks the rock is so completely different. You hardly ever have to jam and you don’t need big cams. So he didn’t realize that he didn’t have the background for the route. We set out in sketchy weather. It looked like it could sprinkle but not too soon, so we decided to go for it. We’d already climbed the first few pitches when I realized we didn’t have a full gear rack. My boyfriend was nine years older than me and at that age I wasn’t used to being the one in charge. I was always the youngest in the group, tagging along. I didn’t study the guidebook or pick out our routes or the gear. This time, it turns out we only had a couple of cams that were the right size and I realized we were going to have to run it out a lot. When we got to the Harding Slot, it was his turn to lead. He didn’t know how to jam it and the crack spit him out. He got claustrophobic and couldn’t stand it so he came down. He also complained of pain from his tendinitis. “You lead,” he said. So I took that pitch and then I just kept leading the pitches above that. I had to do some tricky balancing moves on some edges, pretty continuous laybacking, jamming and placing gear. It’s always more difficult when you have to stop to place protection. The section between the Harding Slot and Changing Corners is probably the crux. There’s a corner where you must transition from laybacking on one side of the arête to the other. We were supposed to trade leads but I was faster and we had to hurry because of darkness and the threat of rain; we hadn’t brought any rain gear or bivvy gear. So there I was, exhausted on the last pitch, in complete darkness. We didn’t have headlamps, of course. It was really hard to see where to go or how to place any gear. I had to feel by hand the shape of the crack. I climbed it again later and even in daylight it’s hard to find that line. It’s not easy to protect in any case, which is why it gets a scary rating, R. When I could use protection, the placements were so bad that I considered them pieces of decoration rather than security. I was so nervous, not only because it was run out and hard climbing. It was also over a ledge where a fall could cause a bad injury. “Don’t fall” was the theme in those days. That’s where I learned that first rule of climbing wisdom. When we arrived at the top it started to sprinkle. Without headlamps, it was too dark to hike down. So we found an overhanging rock for shelter from the rain. We didn’t bring much for warmth. He had an Anorack jacket and I had a cotton sweatshirt. We wrapped our rope around us. No food and no water. We’d only brought one liter of water for the day and I didn’t get much of that. I got so desperate that by the following morning, I tried to sip running water on the rock face during our descent. We got down safely but I ended up getting a very painful bladder infection due to the lack of water. Then I had to figure out how to get medicine for that because it wasn’t like I had access to a doctor. I don’t think we could have retreated. That would have been complicated. We had only one rope and we would have had to leave behind a lot of gear, which I couldn’t afford. I was a dirtbag climber and didn’t have rich parents to pay my way. So in a tough spot, my inclination was to figure out how to make due and get to the top. The whole trip was epic on many levels. The climb was definitely more difficult than I had imagined. Yosemite climbs like that can be very sustained, with one pitch of 5.10 or 5.11 after another. Sometimes the ratings seem lower than the actual difficulty. Then there’s a more personal side of the story. He and I were moving in together. The fact that I had to kind of take over and do the hardest leading bruised his ego. So he was embarrassed and he had to deal with that. Climbing really is a good test for a partnership and that should have been a telltale sign of the future. He ended up breaking up with me and I had to find another place to live, though today we’re on friendly terms. I learned to be prepared with enough equipment, food, water and warmth needed for a long climb like that. I would bring more cams and locking carabiners. When I don’t have enough ‘biners, it becomes either more dangerous or takes extra time to protect adequately. Be organized and know what you’re getting into. Ask ELECT DOMENIC TORCHIA SUPERVISOR DISTRICT FIVE Gavin Newsom, Lt. Govenor and Domenic Torchia I place the highest priority on health care for our aging community, and providing a solid educational system for our younger generation. I have years of experience in business, labor, government, education, health care, aviation and community service. I have worked on Wall Street, Main Street and Capitol Hill. Now, I want to work for you, the People of Tuolumne County. Domenic Torchia Contact Domenic I am interested in hearing what issues are most important to you. Torchia for Supervisor PO Box 1211 Columbia, Ca 95310 209-536-0449 TorchiaforSupervisor@mlode.com www.torchiaforsupervisor.org questions of people who have done the route, somebody who has the intent to give you the correct information and not someone trying to sandbag you. Just come ready. I was young and not yet accustomed to taking more responsibility. That climb was my initiation from trusting without knowing and not being really critical to getting more organized and involved in every decision about a climb. Watch out for ego. That’s a lesson that gets relearned all the time. Let’s just say it hasn’t always been easy in my position. Boys really don’t like it when girls do something better than them. There’s no logical reason, but they always feel like they should be better at everything. Guys don’t like to admit that they chickened out or couldn’t do it. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Sort out your motivations for doing things and keep desires in balance and perspective. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. It’s more fun to choose climbs that are not so stressful. Have fun! website design and maintenance since they first put pictures on the Internet expert SEO services graphic design logos newsletters Publisher of the Yosemite Gazette 17433 Highway 120 Big Oak Flat, California www.Throck.com 209 962-7308
Page Twelve  Yosemite Gazette  Lynn Hill, continued from page 1 of 1983. As she climbed with her boyfriend, circumstances ...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Cover’s, continued from page 1 mustaches. Otherwise, the family members are not much different from secular Americans—they drive pickup trucks, use cellphones, and have a website, CoversAppleRanch.com. The businesses are a year-round operation and everyone pitches in. Most of the apple and pear trees on the property are more than eighty years old. The Cover family arrived in Tuolumne County during the postwar years and have been involved in agriculture since 1957. The current operation started in 1998 but suffered a total loss by fire in 2000. Two years later, they opened their new retail facility. A wide variety of trees are found in the orchard. Bartlett and Crimson Pears account for about ten percent of the acreage. Apples from the Delicious category include Red, Double Red, Bisbee, and Golden varieties. Winesaps are represented by Staymen, Paragon, and Crimson varieties. Early Blaze, Arkansas Black, and King David varieties round out the list. Apple blossom time at this elevation generally ranges from mid-April into late May. It can be a nail-biting time for commercial growers. Hopefully, the previous months have generated adequate rainfall and plenty of freezing temperatures to give the trees a good start. But hazards abound, such as prolonged periods of rain, late frost, hail, or not enough bees to pollinate the blossoms. The Covers’ last big crop failure was Discover Yosemite tour guides with in CD and Mp3 formats in 2008, but many other growers in Tuolumne County suffered a near complete loss in 2010. The past year was a pretty good one for them, and about 100 tons of fruit was harvested into 227 bins. A portion of this crop was used to make some 2,000 gallons of cider. As this article goes to press, there is some apprehension about the current season, since the winter has been mild with not enough chill or rainfall. Irrigation begins in the summer with water supplied via ditches from Lyons Reservoir to portable sprinklers scattered throughout the orchard. In some years, the crop must be thinned in order to ensure size and quality. With regard to predators, gophers are kept in check by the local hawks, but very little can be done about the abundant mule deer. Accordingly, every old tree in the orchard has been trimmed to a five foot height by the four-legged pruners. Young replacement trees need to be protected with tall wire fencing. The harvest begins in late August and extends into late November or early December. Cold storage at or near freezing allows some varieties to keep for many months. Winter brings the seasonal tasks of pruning and bare root planting. This is also the time when dormant oil spray is applied, but it is the only chemical treatment the orchard receives. The Covers have not pursued organic certification because much of the product is used on site, and their customers understand the commit- If you like Yosemite, you’ll love... Amplify your visit to the park Nine tours available Your car, your space, your interest and your pace Yosemite Audio Adventures www.yosemite-tours.org www.yosemitebook.com Page Thirteen photo courtesy Ben Cover Rudy (right) and his daughter Letha (left) Cover on a D-2 Caterpillar gathering prunings in the mid-60’s at Cover’s Apple Ranch. Once called the Lava Ridge Ranch, it was originally owned by the Ralph family. They planted the first apple trees in 1890. Besides apples trees there were also two gold mines on the property. During WWII hard times hit the Ralph family, and a bank foreclosed on the ranch. It was then bought by Mr. Bowlsby and then by Anthony and Rudy Gottelli. Rudy and Esther Cover bought the ranch in 1959, and at that time the name was changed to Cover’s Apple Ranch. ment to an absolute minimal use of pesticides. In the first decade of the twentyfirst century, the Cover family has built a thriving and sustainable operation out of ashes that might have closed most businesses. However, challenges lie ahead. For example, fewer bears and mountain lions have resulted in a mule deer population explosion. Someday, they may need to install a linear mile or more of tall wire fencing to enclose the property. Water is another issue; future sprinkling may become very expensive, so a drip irrigation system is a possibility. Regardless, the family is hopeful the next generation will take over the business and continue to prosper. If you are headed up to Twain Harte, to Pinecrest, or on your way for some action at Black Oak Casino, consider swinging by Cover’s Apple Ranch at 19211 Cherokee Road. You will be glad you made that side trip. Ansel’s cameras, from page 8 You can go back to see prior pictures, and you can also learn the title of the photo by tapping the screen. It’s just kind of fun. I think Ansel would be really amazed by these apps. “The other is an Ansel Adams app with about forty images. It has three video sequences, some letters—fun things to read—and recordings of Ansel playing the piano.” I won’t forget the irony of sitting at Michael’s kitchen table, flipping through his dad’s photos, watched over hy a calendar featuring Ansel Adams’s photographs. years packing. They were great because they walk slowly, carry enough that you can take your cameras—and that was the main thing with him.” Michael showed me the near magic Ansel practiced in the darkroom, showing me before and after versions of the same picture, one as taken and one as developed the way Ansel wanted it. Michael added, “I don’t know if you’re aware that there are two Apple apps—one is a picture a day. There’s an Ansel Adams photograph every day that changes. This is the first of three stories. Next issue, look for The History of Apple Cultivation in the Mother Lode.
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012 Cover   s, continued from page 1 mustaches. Otherwise, the family members are not...
Page Fourteen Luxury lodges, cont. from page 3 The site for Paradise Inn, for example, situated on the frontier of Mount Rainier National Park, received early praise by naturalist John Muir who visited the location in 1888 and said it was “…the most extravagantly beautiful of all the alpine gardens I ever beheld in all my mountain-top wanderings.” The first director of the National Park Service, Stephen T. Mather, visited the park’s area in 1915, and Mather didn’t like the carnival sell-sell atmosphere at all. He wanted a “seamless” park experience for all, and his plans included a lodge with views of Mount Rainier and the Tatoosh range. After discussion about possible plans and no general agreement, the Rainier National Park Company was formed with T. H. Martin as the general manager. Instead of “conquering” the territory, the goal was to preserve what was there. The inn had a great hall with a two-and-a-half-story ceiling, an equally large dining room, and guestrooms above the dining room. Timbers came from trees at the timberline, and stone fireplaces were made from stones in the mountain. You couldn’t always see the mountain because of fog, but one supporter of the inn, Laurin Huffman, said this about staying indoors during inclement weather. “On days when you can’t see the mountain, you get an experience of being in the forest and seeing the stones of the mountain in the fireplace. It brings the outdoors in and you don’t leave it.” The flow of visitors to Paradise Park slowed down with World War II, and in 1952 the failing Rainier National Park company sold it to the National Park Service, which met a storm of protest right years later when it proposed demolishing the inn. Somehow the NPS found $1.75 million and began work in Yosemite Gazette 1979 to rehabilitate the lodge. The charm of the inn is at least partly due to its age, staff members maintain. Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon, owes its existence today to the first Works Progress Administration (WPA) project of its kind, a government jobs-creating program that helped the country recover from the Great Depression. Hundreds of unemployed men and women were given jobs to work on the project that was funded by the federal government. Hand-formed wrought iron used for hinges, window grilles, interior lights and much more were created in Dawson’s blacksmith shop in Portland. Wood carvings made from Oregon woods and ponderosa pine from Washington State were hand-hewn with broadax and adz. Workers turned utility poles into carvings of animals and birds. Outstanding accommodations were built in other national parks as well, including the Oregon Caves Chateau at the Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon; Crater Lake Lodge in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon; El Tovar in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Zion Park Lodge in Zion National Park, Utah; Bryce Canyon Lodge at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah; Grand Canyon Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, Montana; Belton Chalet in West Glacier, Montana; Sperry & Granite Park Chalets Lake, McDonald Lodge, and Many Glacier Hotel—all in Glacier National Park, Montana; and Prince of Wales Hotel, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada. Note: Much of the factual information for this story is from the book, Great Lodges of the National Parks, by Christine Barnes with photography by Fred Pflughoft and David Morris. Best way, continued from page 2 Ahwahnee hotel. She was staying there for the Chef’s Holiday package and unfortunately her husband, Steve had to leave early to attend to business. Wow! I re-arranged my schedule, packed and went to Yosemite. We went to the Queen’s room and I unpacked for the night. Another wow! I had to sit and just let it all sink in. There I was in the Queen’s room at the Ahwahnee Hotel. I took so many pictures, especially of the incredible views from that room. That night we thoroughly enjoyed the five-course Gala dinner which was prepared by the three guest chefs and two Ahwahnee chefs. Each course was paired with a fabulous wine. Can I say Wow! again? The four poster bed was incredibly comfortable, the room was cozy, the bathroom very large with built in craftsman designed cabinets. I also must add, ironically, that the view from the bidet is yet another amazing sight. You look out the window with a full view of the Royal Arches, large naturally formed arches in the granite cliff. There was a small iron balcony outside our room but the door was locked and a small sign said it was no longer safe. I just know the Queen stood on that balcony years ago and took in the breathtaking view of the Yosemite Falls. Cindy and I spent the morning exploring all six floors and the many hallways and stairways of the Ahwahnee. We found new and wonderful views, incredible architecture and beautiful decorations at every turn. My perspective of the elegant but overdone hotel from my past has changed over the years. The Ahwahnee is elegant but has retained its rustic charm. The Native American motif, granite masonry, large timber logs inside and out, even the concrete structural piers molded to look like natural wood, wrought-iron chandeliers, Persian rugs hanging on the walls, fiveby-six-foot stained glass Native American design windows, and the wood furnishings are all mostly original and have been well maintained throughout the years. The inside of the Ahwahnee is almost as remarkable as the outside scenery. I say almost because nothing manmade can match the majesty of Yosemite Valley or “Ahwahnee, the deep grassy valley.” The cost to stay at the hotel ranges from $390 to $1015 a night. The hotel has ninety-nine guest rooms, parlors, suites, and twentyfour cottages. You should make reservations well in advance, especially for the busy summer months where you may need reservations up to a year in advance. I know I’ll be going back to the Ahwahnee for the wonderful meals in the Great Dining Hall and maybe I’ll even get to eat at the Queen’s table again. But as for staying in the Queen’s Room I think that will not happen again for me. Thanks to my good friends Steve and Cindy for the opportunity to fulfill a dream. It was definitely well worth the wait. Arcadia Publishing’s Sonora by Columbia author Michael Gahagan $24 includes shipping G & O Enterprises P. O. Box 444 Columbia, CA 95310 Orders: Gazetteer@hub3.net
Page Fourteen Luxury lodges, cont. from page 3 The site for Paradise Inn, for example, situated on the frontier of Mount R...
Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Fifteen Comparing apples to apples by “Tuolumne Tom” Gardner Some of the puzzle clues are apples found in and around the Yosemite region. Solution page 6. Across 1. Biggest airline at Oslo Int’l. 4. Delicious Apple variety 10. Pint in a pub? 13.Times New Roman, e.g. 14. Splitting organism 15. Pastureland 16. Tolstoy’s Karenina 17. People that shun meat and dairy products 18. Allow 19. See 4 Across 21. Dir. from Donner Pass to Yosemite Valley 23. Rub out 24. Eng. King 1100-1135 AD 27. Actor Mineo 28. CA Hwy. 1, in Malibu 31. Winesap Apple variety 32. Tasty clam 34. 1970s N. European terrorist org. 35. Apple named for a Southern State 38. 1990s Somali terrorist org. 39. Separate the apple harvest 40. See 31 Across 42. NHL Living Legend 43. Initials behind some Hollywood filmmakers 46. Cautionary phrase when repeated twice 47. Honey, the rent ____” 49. The apple of my ___ 50. Apple named for a Hebrew warrior 54. Wok or skillet 56. Evening party or reception 58. Eve’s apple sample 59. “Yes, but is it ___?” 60. Neurodevelopmental disorder 61. Does in or sews up 62. 25.4 to the inch: Abbr. 63. Seizes forcibly 64. Homer Simpson’s neighbor Down 1. Tuolumne County seat 2. Once-a-year 3. ...then Brutus ____ Caesar 4. “I ____ at the office” 5. Hebrew dry measure 6. Balcony seating area 7. The Grateful ____ 8. Compass Pt. Abbr. for course 079° Magnetic 9. Egyptian dictator in 1967 10. Hypersensitive 11. Robert Edward ___ 12. Fight hunger! 13. ...the scene ____ to black 20. Pre Euro Greek penny 22. Bite off, like a shark 24. SF Bay, for example 25. HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of ____ 26. Caught ____ lie 29. Forbid public distribution 30. “That’s one big fish Bubba ____ his line” 31. Basil-garlic pasta sauce 32. Like thong bathing suits 33. Third mo. 35. Suffix for billion 36. Especially fine or decorative clothes 37. “Please spare me the _____ details” 38. Play subdivision 41. Seen on the playground 43. Counsel or guidance 44. Texas Hold’em phrase 45. Gives up or surrenders 48. Oral polio vaccine developer 50. “Go fly a ___” 51. Eyeball diaphragm 52. Follows love or empty 53. Diamonds and rubies, e.g. 54. Non-stick cooking spray 55. Partner of leg 57. “____ Father, who….” Subscribe to the Yosemite Gazette One year, all four issues, only $30—less than 50 cents a story. You’ll receive two copies of each issue delivered flat by first class mail to your home or office. Photocopy this and mail it to us with your check at P.O. Box 353, Big Oak Flat, CA 95305. You can also subscribe at our website YosemiteGazette.com Name __________________________________________ Address ________________________________________ City ____________________________________________ State _____________ ZIP __________________________ Email __________________________________________
Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Fifteen  Comparing apples to apples by    Tuolumne Tom    Gardner  Some of ...
Yosemite Gazette Yosemite, California, April–June, 2012 Page Sixteen Farms preserve legacy of agriculture by Michael Gahagan The Yosemite region, including rural Tuolumne County, is little known for its historic agricultural heritage, as farms, orchards and ranches were mostly small, self-sustaining, family operations. A handful of farms and ranches provided produce and product for few beyond neighborly fences. Yet, it is surprising to learn of the breadth and diversity of agricultural beginning in the Gold Rush days 150 years ago. Then, local fresh food sources and provisions were provided by people you knew. Over the years, refrigeration, mass production and giant agribusinesses distributing to chains in urbanized centers gradually replaced the local farmer and rancher. A resurgence of traditional agriculture is being preserved by the members of Farms of Tuolumne County (FOTC), a marketing and education organization, “designed to bring agricultural producers, distributors, retailers and others together to support sustainable agriculture and agritourism in Tuolumne County,” according to its mission statement. FOTC began in 2003 and “was the idea of Jay Norton, then Tuolumne County Farm Advisor and University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Director,” according to Marian Rocha Zimmerly, who organized and headed up the organization until its incorporation in 2006. “We contacted a list of farmers and ranchers,” Zimmerly recalled, “to determine if they would like to be listed in a brochure whose purpose was to promote local agriculture in Tuolumne County. We ended up with about forty farms and ranches. The first year the listing was free. “The idea was to make folks aware that there is a lot of diverse agriculture in Tuolumne County— folks can buy directly from the farmers, and in helping farmers in their marketing, perhaps they can stay in business which in turn helps protect and support the agricultural and historical heritage of the county.” In 2006 FOTC became a non-profit corporation, independent from the UCCE. FOTC has a website (FarmsofTuolumneCounty.org) where its members are listed for direct purchases. Information about each of the farms and ranches is included. FOTC is present in the community through its many associations, farmers markets, and participation in events. Currently it is active in lending its ideas, especially as related to agritourism, to the revision of the county’s Ag Element of the General Plan. The board has established a scholarship fund for those high school seniors interested in pursuing a career in agriculture or an agriculturally related field. FOTC members by products Beef–Beeman Ranch, Gaiser Cattle, Gallno Farms, K-Arrow Ranch, Montezuma Angus, Mother Lode Ranch, Rawhide Meat Processing and Table Mountain Beef Christmas Trees–Bramble Hill Farm and Twain Harte Tree Farm Eggs–Lazy H Ranch, Seven Sisters Soap Company, Triple “B” Farms, and Red Earth Farms Farmers Markets–Groveland Farmers Market, Sonora, Tuolumne and Twain Harte Certified Farmers Markets Flowers, Herbs–Golden Brodiaea Farm, Rivendale Ranch and Rosemary’s Roses Goats–Bramble Hill Farm, Rivendale Ranch, Seven Sisters Soap Company and Sweet River Ranch Honey–Cover’s Apple Ranch, Gold Country Honey Farms, and Seven Sisters Soap Company Horses, Show Animals and Birds–Kutch Family Farm and ReHorse Rescue Ranch Lamb–Big Creek Meadow Ranch, Blue Oak Farm, M&M Courtesy of Tuolumne County Historical Society Through the years the André “truck” garden produced cows, pigs, rabbits, chickens and pigeons. Theophile André sold butter, cream, fresh fruits and vegetables from the farm he owned on Barretta Street on either side of Cemetery Lane. The Andrés from the right are Théophile, Antoinette and their daughter Caroline. Currently FOTC has 45 producers. The farms and ranches are diverse, many are small, and all use Suffolk and Rainey Ranch Lavender–Rancho Torales/ Sonora Gold, Tuolumne Lavender and Woods Creek Olive Oil Company Llamas and Alpacas– Llamas of Circle Home and EvenTyrGaard Alpacas Nurseries–Al’s Bonsai/Judnich Gardening, Golden Brodiaea Farm, Maples By Design, Rosemary’s Roses and Solomon’s Gardens Nursery and Terraces Olive Oil–Jamestown Olive Oil Company, Rancho Torales/ Sonora Gold and Woods Creek Olive Oil Company On Farm Education–Al’s Bonsai/Judnich Gardening, Bel Giardino, Blue Oak Farm, Rivendale Ranch and Sierra Institute of Herbal Studies Poultry and Show Birds– Diestel Family Turkey Ranch, Kutch Family Farm and Seven Sisters Soap Company Produce–Blue Oak Farm, Cedar Ridge Apple Ranch, Cover’s Apple Ranch, Deer Creek Cherry Farms, Gallno Farms, Gee Family Farm, Indigeny Reserve, Red Earth Farm, Rosefield Orchards, Sun, Seed and Soil Farms Roses–Rosemary’s Roses Wineries, Vineyards, Distilleries–Gianelli Vineyards, Indigeny Reserve, La Bella Rosa Vineyards and Mt. Brow Winery sustainable practices. They produce a wide variety of foodstuffs and products that range from beef, eggs, flowers and honey to livestock, Christmas trees and oils, education and wineries. One of the ways FOTC supports its mission is through its farm and ranch tour. The tour’s focus is to get people to visit the farms and ranches so they can meet the farmer, learn about what he or she does, buy locally and gain an appreciation of farming and ranching as a way of life and of its heritage in the county. The first farm and ranch tour was held in 2007. The fifth annual FOTC Farm and Ranch Tour will be held Saturday, July 7, 2012 from 10-4. The tour host farms include Solomon’s Gardens, La Bella Rosa Winery, Mother Lode Ranch, Sweet River Ranch and Rancho Torales. There will be guided tours, workshops, food and wine tasting, demonstrations of spinning and weaving, wagon rides, shopping, pleine air artists, beautiful venues for walking, areas for picnics, and lots of animals. A brochure will be available on the FOTC’s website, at the UCCE office in Sonora and the Sonora Certified Farmer’s Market. A large portion of the tour proceeds will go to scholarships for Tuolumne County high school seniors who are planning to pursue a career in agriculture.
Yosemite Gazette  Yosemite, California, April   June, 2012  Page Sixteen  Farms preserve legacy of agriculture by Michael ...