BCHC Mid Valley Unit

President's Monthly Message


October, 2018

Michael King (Left) Michael King, and friend.

Greetings, Mid Valley members.

It's hard to believe that we find ourselves in the middle of October already. You can feel it in the air as cooler temperatures start creeping in, and the shortening days become increasingly evident. Why, just a few days ago we even had some significant rain that left many streets in Ripon significantly flooded.

As fall inexorably progresses toward winter, the backcountry is still largely accessible. Those opportunities will decrease, however, as colder temperatures and, hopefully, abundant precipitation start to lock the high country away for the winter. While I certainly don't eschew the creature comforts of modern living, I've often wondered what it would be like to spend the winter in solitude in the high country. No car noise, no phones, no noisy neighbors etc. Can you just imagine the experience of it all? Of course one would want to do this with a warm & comfortable cabin, an abundant food supply and plenty of firewood on hand! The Donner party went through a similar experience, and it wasn't so nice for them.

A man who DID do this was named Orland "Bart" Bartholomew, who was a stream and snow surveyor for the Southern California Edison Company. He and a work friend worked up just such an adventure in the late 1920's. They planned to ski the backbone of the Sierra Nevada from Cottonwood Lakes in the Lone Pine latitude, to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, roughly following today's John Muir Trail. Keeping with their pre-trip planning, the men made strategic food stashes, when the weather was good, along their planned route. A big changeof plans occurred though at the last minute when the friend, feeling obligations at home, decided to back out of making the trip. Bart remained determined, and decided to make the trip alone. He began his journey on December 25th, 1928 and completed it in April 1929. His adventurous trip included the first winter ascent of Mt Whitney, solo or otherwise.

It's quite a story, and is recorded in a book called "High Odyssey" by Gene Rose. The price is about twenty dollars I found two ISBN numbers on Amazon, not sure what the difference is. They are: ISBN-10: 0831071087 and ISBN-13: 978-0831071080. Get the book. When you are suffering from the coming winter cabin fever, pick it up and read it. You won't be disappointed.

Speaking of winter, it's not too late to start planning for the annual Columbia Christmas Parade, hosted by Mid Valley Unit. Always held on the second Sunday of December, this is not only a time for celebration and fun, but an opportunity to help children who find themselves in unfortunate circumstances. Spectators and parade participants alike are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or toys to the Mid Valley Unit parade registration area on parade day. A local agency will collect them and distribute them to children that have little Christmas joy in their lives. Knowing that you made a kid's Christmas a little better, there is no better joy. Start planning to come and join your fellow Mid Valley members on a crisp December morning. It's ALWAYS a good time!

Finally folks, please help Backcountry Horsemen (BCH) stay strong by keeping your Mid Valley Unit membership active and current. There is strength in numbers and every membership adds to that strength. Whether you ride or not, your membership helps BCH maintain trails and keep them open for our children, and theirs, and theirs... We were blessed with such a magnificent gift of nature, we want it preserved for all future generations as well. Help us accomplish that mission.

Happy Halloween everyone, but don't get spooked!
Michael King

(Our President writes a message every month for the newsletter.)

Backcountry Horsemen of California - Mid Valley Unit
PO Box 1709
Modesto CA 95353-1709

Questions about the Mid Valley Unit? Ask Dennise Davis,
Questions about the web site? Ask Ted Pack,

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