Klamath Nat’l Forest: The 49’er

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Snow becomes rain.

The snowfall that left barely an inch on the ground the night before has been all but washed away by a fairly constant light rain. It was considerably warmer overnight but, I still appreciate those flannel sheets on the bed!

I’ve been staying at a campsite that really isn’t an official campsite. It’s just down the road from where I had thought I would be staying. After returning yesterday morning from Yreka to find a WiFi signal, I found a putrid green van in the exact spot I had parked the night before.

Then, an older gentleman appeared.

Greg’s spot

It seems that spot is actually a gold-mining claim! I talked with a fellow named Greg who is, believe it or not, a new “49’er!”

He has a claim on that little section of the woods to pan for gold along the banks of the Klamath river (yeah, I didn’t think anyone really filed for gold mining claims anymore either!).

Greg was very accommodating and didn’t mind that I was there—and gave me his blessing to stay just down the dirt road at one of several other little spots (there’s even one with a Forest Service installed picnic table, although I never use them).

We talked for a couple hours. I felt like I was talking with your typical, rural America. Patriotic (he served ten years in the Marines), self-sufficient, independent, determined.

The real America.

He has thought it all out, this crazy politics thing we have going on right now—and he shared some of his thinking about the motivations of politicians and the like. And although he does have a place nearby—yup, he’s a local—Greg prefers to live in his old Ford van panning for gold! Just that morning, he had collected a couple grams of the shiny stuff (very pretty I must admit), worth about ten dollars, he told me.

Oh, we shared our stories. And we agreed that the government is agin’ us not for us. We also agreed on how difficult it is for seniors to “make it” today. That’s why he pans for gold—and that’s why I’m on the great American adventure: costs of living.

I think I have found a kindred spirit—and a new friend!

The 1931 Bridges

I was surprised to find that many of the bridges in the area were constructed in 1931 (one of them was built in 1901—that was the iron span bridge sitting behind the Klamath Forest sign in my last blog post).

They’re quite well-made and not bad looking either!

Next to one of them, the river bridge connecting CA-263 to Yreka and CA-96, running along the base and winding its way through the surrounding mountains, is where I write this post on the side of the road. This is where my phone announced “you’re back online!” This, I presume, is the last place an LTE signal reaches from Yreka.

Not so stealthy!

It’s a fairly busy intersection—and I’ve noticed quite a few indiscreet white panel vans with no markings, most likely, other folks who have outfitted their vans as conversion campers (like my Sienna minivan!). But, with no graphics whatsoever, they’re hardly incognito to my eye!

They’re all driven not by older guys in uniforms but, by young males with beards wearing the exact same kinds of layered hoodies I do, just trying to stay warm! One of them joined the party at Greg’s claim last night—disappearing into the darkness on yet another dirt road branching off from the spot I am staying!

The plan…

The fog was pretty heavy this morning as I was heading to “connection corner” before the dawn—after Dave’s coffee, of course!

I plan to return to “Greg’s Gold Road” after I check emails—and fully stocked, I plan to stay among the trees for at least another day or two.

Last night’s dinner: yellow curry rice with crab strips and corn (wow, fish from the frig!)—to keep the bears away, of course! Not really; there are no local signs warning “This is bear country” here. And I didn’t hear a peep from the forest last night (gooood!). Mmmm, Peeps!

Happy trails my friends!

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