Monthly Archives: July 2015

Art paint-out on Hat Creek

Thirteen artists from the Intermountain area gathered at Hat Creek on Saturday, July 25 for an en plein air painting session at Hat Creek Park just off Hwy 299.

Art paint-out at Hat Creek Park photo by Pat Carlson

Art paint-out at Hat Creek Park photo by Pat Carlson

Five friends and family also came making the total party 18. The artists painted for almost six hours  from 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon. During the day, numerous tourists and visitors to the park came by to watch the painting in progress.

Patricia Carlson from Burney, a well-known professional artist, said, “Almost everyone finished at least one painting. I would have finished two, except the ‘wildlife’ kept getting in the way and asking questions.”

The group is planning two more outings, one at Baum Lake and one in Mount Shasta Park.

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Filed under Art, Burney, Hat Creek, Intermountain Art

Steve Knoch recounts Knoch family and Fall River history

The Knoch family has been living in Pit River Country for four generations. Steve Knoch lives in Glenburn. His great-grandfather, Friedrich came to New York in 1867, then went to Panama, crossed the isthmus to the Pacific Ocean and sailed up to San Francisco.

After spending some time looking for gold in Feather River country, he came to Fall River and began working for Captain William H. Winter, the “founder of Fall City.” Friedrich and his brother-in-law Dietrich made improvement to and ran the toll road and bridge that led to Burney Valley.  They had a stage station and small hotel in Carbon. Knoch received the land which became the Knoch Ranch from Winter in payment for money owed for working on the toll road.

Here Steve recounts some of the story as it has come down the family and also comments on various other topics of historical interest.

Part 1

Part 2:

Part 3

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Filed under Baum Lake, Fall River, Fall River Mills, Kayaking, Pacific Crest Trail, PG&E, Pit River Area History

Alex Colvin talking with Steve and Suzie Knoch about the Berry Family and Scott Lumber Company

Visiting with Steve and Suzie Knoch, we got talking about my grandfather, Raymond Berry. As we talked, Linda turned on the camera to video the conversation. The early part where I talked about George Scott wasn’t recorded, so below the video there’s a little background information. Conversational reminiscences are not always accurate. This is just how the story came down the family tree to me.

In 1937, George Scott founded the Scott Lumber Company. Subsequently, he entered into an agreement with Raymond Berry, the legal representative of the Starr family who owned timber land in the area, to form a corporation. The Scott Lumber Company was incorporated in 1938. Jobs provided by the mill helped spur Burney’s population growth during World War II and through the 1950’s and 60’s.

Raymond Berry served as the general manager of the mill until 1967, when the mill was sold to Publishers Forest Products. Later, the mill was bought by Sierra Pacific Industries, which has continued to upgrade and operate the mill to the present.

Raymond Berry passed away in 1971. His wife Justine continued to live on the ranch for another year and then bought a home in Burney next to Burney Creek where she lived until 1998. She served on the board of Shasta County Bank until it was merged into Tri-Counties Bank.

After the Pit 1 swimming pool closed, Justine Berry was one of the parties, together with PG&E, who provided seed money for a community pool in Burney. The pool was named the Raymond Berry Community Pool in memory of my grandfather.  Justine Berry passed away in Burney in 1999.

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Filed under Burney, Pit River Area History, Scott Lumber Company, Video

Old Station Barbecue great success

Historic Old Station

Historic Old Station

Old Station was bustling on Saturday July 25th as more than 500 people attended a chicken barbecue from noon to 5 p.m. to support the Old Station Volunteer Fire Department. The event took place at Rim Rock Ranch on Hwy 44 and 89 not far from Lassen Park.

Old Station barbecue volunteers

Old Station barbecue volunteers

More than 50 volunteers pooled their talents and efforts to make the event a success.  The barbecue provided a huge grilled half chicken, baked beans, potato salad, green salad, coleslaw, toasted garlic bread and strawberry shortcake.

Wolves smell the chicken

Wolves smell the chicken

The crowd included people from the local area, Burney, Fall River Mills, Cassel, folks from Sacramento and the Bay Area, day trippers from Redding, visitors from Texas and tourists from as far away as Germany.

Old Station fire truck

Old Station fire truck

Local crafters were set up all day, providing a festive fair-like atmosphere to the affair.

Linda Colvin photographer with customers

Linda Colvin photographer with customers

The US Forest Service had an information booth and handed out Smokey the Bear hats to youngsters. Smokey the Bear himself roamed the crowd spreading the message of fire prevention and posing for pictures.

Smokey the Bear with Alex Colvin

Smokey the Bear with Alex Colvin

The event concluded at 5 p.m. with a raffle for prizes including a gas barbecue grill. All proceeds from the day’s activity go to support the local Old Station Volunteer Fire Department.

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Filed under Burney, Fall River Mills, Hat Creek, Old Station

Fishing good on Hat Creek

Linda Colvin in her booth waving

Linda Colvin in her booth waving

At 9 a.m. on Saturday July 25th, my wife Linda and I set up our vendor booth at Rim Rock Ranch for the annual Old Station Volunteer Fire Department Barbecue. It was still early and the barbecue didn’t start until noon, so I decided to mosey around and check out the fishing on Hat Creek.

Stopping in at the Rim Rock Ranch Store to buy a candy bar and get change for a twenty, I asked the clerk how the fishing was. She told me it was good.  I asked if people were saying that any spots were particularly good.

“No,” she said. “Just fish away from other people. Find your own place and fish by yourself and you’ll do well.”

Hat Creek at Old Station Picnic Area

Hat Creek at Old Station Picnic Area

I headed up the road toward Lassen Park to explore the picnic areas and camp grounds that had access to Hat Creek. A little ways up the road I entered Old Station Picnic Area. No one was there, so I decided just to sit for awhile, reflect, and commune with the natural beauty.

Shortly, I heard a flutter and saw an osprey flying down the creek. It landed a short ways downstream on the branch of a ponderosa pine. I got my camera out and approached it shooting pictures from various locations as I went.

Eventually I was standing right across the creek from it with a clear view, hoping to get a good shot when it took off.

1 Osprey watching for a fish

Osprey watching for a fish

Unfortunately, after about 45 minutes of waiting, I became impatient and zoomed in to get a closer shot of the head. Just as I did, I saw that the osprey was preparing to launch.

2 Osprey just before diving

Osprey just before diving

I fumbled with my camera as the bird rose into the air and dove straight down into the creek below. Wings flapping and talons extended he snatched a fish and flew downstream. I hastily shot a picture, but all I could get was a blurred picture of him flying off with the fish in clutch.

3 Osprey with fish

Osprey with fish

It was an awesome sight, and I only regretted that I had not waited a minute more and gotten a clear shot of the catch.

Hat Creek at Hat Creek Campground

Hat Creek at Hat Creek Campground

I got back in my Jeep, left the picnic area and drove a little farther down to Hat Creek Campground. After parking, I headed down a trail to the creek. Here the creek was deep and narrow with parts of the channel as deep as five feet, I thought it looked like a great place to swim.

As I neared the bank, I heard a voice from behind a tree.

“Hello!”

It was a young fisherman who had caught a nice rainbow trout using salmon eggs. His name was Devin Gaumont. He lives in Campbell in Santa Clara County and had come north to share a fishing trip with his father.

I introduced myself, and he cheerfully consented to let me take some picture of him fishing.

4 Devin Gaumont Fishing Hat Creek

Devin Gaumont Fishing Hat Creek

Gaumont from Campbell displaying his rainbow trout

Gaumont from Campbell displaying his rainbow trout

Wishing Gaumont continued success, I headed back to the Rim Rock Ranch to see how Linda was doing at the barbecue. I showed my pictures of the raptor to several people. I actually had thought it was some kind of hawk. One woman told me that it was a young bald eagle. However, several agents of the US Forest Service at their booth informed me that it was an osprey because of the brown band across it’s head and the short dark beak. The eagle’s beak is longer and yellow and hawks have a brown head.

Forest Service Persnonnel advise me about raptors

Forest Service Persnonnel advise me about raptors

That mystery solved, I enjoyed a humongous and delicious barbecued chicken lunch. Then I gave some Pacific Trail Hikers a ride to the Old Station Post Office two miles up the road. I spent some time at the booth with Linda, talking with visitors. I met locals from Burney, folks from Sacramento and the Bay Area who owned vacation homes in the area, quite a few day trippers from Redding, and even some Filipino Texans and tourists from as far away as Germany.

As the afternoon wore on however, I grew restless again and decided to drive down Hwy 89 to Bridge Park. Bridge Park is lovely. There’s a nice little cascade under the bridge, a little sandy spot where you can wade into the creek, and a pleasant trail that goes about a quarter mile down creek to a small falls. Fortunately, the park has been spared the forest fires that have ravaged Hat Creek Valley in recent years. Due to timber falls and varying temperatures, the stream and landscape are different each season of every year.

Hat Creek at Bridge Park

Hat Creek at Bridge Park February 2015

The afternoon had warmed up and I was beginning to feel a bit bushed. I took off my shoes and socks and waded into the creek, getting my pant legs wet. The water was shockingly cold and my submerged feet and ankles began to sting.

I walked back up the bank and sat down on one of the picnic benches. Cooling off my hot feet had refreshed my entire body. Downstream I saw a couple sitting silently by the stream in canvas chairs just looking over the water.

“That’s the way to do it,” I thought, “Just sit by the stream and enjoy the wonder.”

The man rose and reached behind a tree, from which he pulled a fishing pole. As he approached me, I greeted him and said, “Ah! you’ve been fishing. How was it?”

“Good!” he replied, “I got three nice trout.”

Harry from Sacramento caught three rainbow trout

Harry from Sacramento caught three rainbow trout

The fortunate fisherman’s name was Harry. He and his wife live in Sacramento. Bridge Park is one of his wife’s favorite places, and he loves to come up here and fish. On this occasion, he had caught his three rainbows using a Rooster Tail lure.

I had a nice chat with Harry and his wife and headed back to Old Station. The barbecue was winding up. Linda made a few closing sales. We packed up, said our farewells to new friends, and drove back to Burney. When we got home, I immediately took off my clothes and dove in my deliciously refreshing unheated swimming pool. After cooling off, I sat down at the patio table. My little furry golden cat jumped on the chair next to me demanding to be petted.

Just another day in paradise.

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Filed under Burney, Fishing, Hat Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River Country Events, Wildlife

NorCal Road Gypsies Car Show Shines

The NorCal Road Gypsies hosted their Summer Show and Shine Car Show at Clearwater Lodge on Sunday July 19th. Clearwater Lodge is located at Pit 1 just off Hwy 299 between Burney and Fall River Mills.

NorCal Road Gypsies Car Show

NorCal Road Gypsies Car Show

The show began at 9:30 a.m. There were 78 entries from Northern California and Southern Oregon, with cars coming from as far as Medford, Alturas, and the Redding area.

1928 Plymouth Sedan

1928 Plymouth Sedan

At 2:00 p.m., one of the organizers, Bob Eastman from Burney, gave out awards for cars in different categories by decade. There were also  awards for the five best cars voted on by members of the NorCal Road Gypsies and one award for the “coolest car.”

Bob Eastburn from Burney giving awards

Bob Eastburn from Burney giving an award to Ellie Haydock

1940 Dodge Coupe was a winner

. 1940 Dodge Coupe was a winner

Phil Mitsueda won the 50-50

Phil Mitsueda won the 50-50

Before the awards were announced there was a 50/50 raffle. The prize of over $700 was won by Phil Mitsueda, the owner of Phil’s Propellors and Fishing Tackle in Redding. Mitsueda donated most of the money back to the event.

Proceeds from the car show go to Intermountain Hospice of Mayers Memorial Hospital District that serves patients who reside in Round Mountain, Montgomery Creek, Burney, Hat Creek, Cassel, Old Station, Fall River Mills, McArthur, Nubieber, Beiber, Adin, Lookout, Canby, and Big Bend.

Car Show proceeds benefit Intermountain Hospice

Car Show proceeds benefit Intermountain Hospice

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Filed under Burney, Fall River Mills, Pit River Country Events, Vintage Cars

PCT Hikers take a break at Crystal Lake hatchery

 Article by Alex Colvin and photos by LACE Photography

After enjoying the music and food at the 36th Annual Deep Pit Barbecue at the Hat Creek Hereford Ranch Campground on Saturday July 18, my wife Linda and I were uncertain what to do next. I had been thinking of checking out some local fishing spots to get pictures for a story on fishing. However, we were both a little tired so we decided to head back to Burney.

Heading south on highway 89, a small caravan of Model A Fords was slowing traffic. Linda loves vintage cars so we decided to let the fast vehicles move on and just join the parade of old cars. The Model A’s turned right on Cassel Road and we followed.

Following the Model A's

Following the Model A’s

We drove over the Rising River, past Clint Eastwood’s ranch and into Cassel. As we drove through Cassel, I saw a line of fishermen on the bank of Hat Creek across the road from the PGE campground. I was tempted to stop but instead continued on with the vintage parade. We had seen these cars at the barbecue but we didn’t know where they were from or where they were going and we were curious.

Amercian White Pelicans on Baum Lake

Amercian White Pelicans on Baum Lake

When they passed Baum Lake Road, however, we decided to turn right and go over to Crystal and Baum Lakes. As we drove into the parking area at Baum Lake, Linda let out a little exclamation of joy. The lake was filled with American white pelicans that we loved to photograph.

Fisherman on Baum Lake by PCT Trail

Fisherman on Baum Lake by PCT Trail

There were a number of families picnicking by the lake. One man was paddling in a small rubber raft through the reeds and grasses that had grown up in the recent hot weather. Over by the white water where the water from Crystal Lake flows into Baum Lake two more young fellows were fishing.

Baum Lake is named after Frank Baum, a world-famous hydroelectric engineer who designed the hydroelectric power sites on the Pit River from Pit 1 to Pit 8. While investigating potential power sources in Shasta County in the early 1900’s, he bought the Crystal Lake Ranch where he later built the Hat 1 and Hat 2 power stations.

Baum Lake in a hot July

Baum Lake in a hot July

He also built a home where the water flows between Crystal Lake and Baum Lake. Baum lived there with his wife until his death in 1932. The house burned down in 1936 and was never replaced. In 1939, his widow, Mary, sold the property to PG&E. PG&E later leased some of the land across the road from the lakes to the state of California where they began the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery in 1947.

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs right over the bridge between the two lakes where Baum’s home was and then continues up alongside Baum Lake towards Hwy 299.

After Linda and I took some pictures, we decided to head home. At the entrance to the park, a young man and woman with back packs were standing by the road.

PCT hikers Sara bishop and Adam Kirby

PCT hikers Sara bishop and Adam Kirby

“Hi!” I said, “Are you hiking the trail.

“Yes,” the bearded young man answered.

“Would you like a ride into Burney?”

“No thanks. We saw a sign posted on the trail that said there was free beer and food at the fish hatchery. Have you seen a third hiker. We were hiking with a friend and we’re not sure where he went.”

We told them that we hadn’t and pointed out the fish hatchery and headed on toward Burney. After driving only a few hundred yards though, I said to Linda, “Wow! I should go back. I’ve been wanting to write about the PCT for awhile. We should go talk with them.”

The Model A Ford Club of Quincy

The Model A Ford Club of Quincy

So we turned around and drove into the parking lot of the fish hatchery. The funny thing was, when we drove in, we saw the very cars we had been following parked by the table where the hikers were sitting.

So, while I introduced myself to the hikers, Linda went to meet the motorists. They were members of the Model A Club of Quincy on a tour of Northern California.

I introduced myself to the hikers. There were three now because they had found their friend, Kelly Cohoe, from Portland Oregon. The two other hikers we had met earlier were Sara Bishop from New York and Adam Kirby from Seattle, Washington.

Adam was hiking the whole 2,660 miles of the PCT northbound. He had started April 21th. Sara was also hiking the whole trail. She had begun hiking north on April 26th. They had been hiking together since they had met at about mile 600. Adam said that he was hoping to reach the end of the trail before the end of September.

PCT hiker Kelly Cohoe

PCT hiker Kelly Cohoe

Kelly, whom they called “Flying Eagle,” was a section hiker. This year he was hiking 1065 miles. Once he finished, he would have hiked the entire trail. Kelly had met Sara and Adam the night before when they had camped at the Hat Creek Hereford Ranch Campground, the very place where Linda and I and the Model A Club had just been at the barbecue.

But while we had been enjoying a hefty barbecue and music and touring, the hikers had been hiking almost 30 miles on a stretch with no water. So they were very happy to have this break, refill their bottles and rehydrate.

Happy PCT hikers rehydrating

Happy PCT hikers rehydrating

We talked for awhile about their journey. I learned that a zero is a day that a person logs no miles on the trail. A nero is a day that one only hikes half or less of their normal days hike. These hikers normally hiked 22 to 30 miles a day.

I told them that Burney was a PCT friendly town. There are several access points to the trail including Baum Lake, a station near Hwy 89,  the crossing at 299, Burney Falls State Park, and Rock Creek Falls. Many of the Burney Residents enjoy giving hikers rides to and from Burney where there is a Safeway store and a health food store where they can stock up on food and drink. Burney also has other local businesses who like to serve the hikers and residents who are willing to supply a place to stay or camp if they want to take a break. It’s also a great rendezvous point for people who want to meet friends or loved ones who are hiking the trail. Burney is just over half way from Mexico to Canada.

After chatting for awhile, Linda and I wished them well, jumped in our Jeep and headed to Johnson Park for ice cream.

“Wow!” I thought, “You never know what great experiences you will have if you just get in your vehicle and drive around Pit River Country!”

Alex Colvin is co-owner of The Lace Gallery in Burney, California. He previously wrote for non-profit corporations in the Washington-Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Since returning to Burney, where he has deep family roots, Alex and his wife Linda have dedicated themselves to exploring and photographing the natural beauty of Northern California.

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Filed under Baum Lake, Crystal Lake, Hat Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Vintage Cars