Monthly Archives: July 2016

Three plus one equals PCT fun

On Friday July 21, as I was in the middle of writing about Burney becoming a Vortex of PCT activity, I got a call that three more hikers were waiting for me.

I drove over to Burney Lodging to find three strapping young men waiting for a ride to Burney Falls State Park.

Stormchaser, Swiderman, and Clammy

Stormchaser, Swiderman, and Clammy

One was Swiderman. Originally from Glenville, New York, Swiderman now resides in Taos, New Mexico. Skiing in the winter and hiking the PCT in the summer, he exudes the healthy exuberance of a year-round lover of outdoor activity.

His hiking companions were Clammy from Seattle and Stormchaser from Mount Vernon, Washington.

When we went to load their packs in the back they saw that it was covered with dirt and said, “Cool, we can see that you’ve been driving in the woods.”

I told them about my excursion up to Hat Creed Rim to find Dilly Dally.

As we drove out the park, I asked them what they were planning to do after they finished the hike.

“Go back to work!” said Clammy.

Then we passed a PCT hiker on the right side of the highway with his thumb out.

“That’s a confusing hitch-hiker.” one of them said chuckling. “He’s walking one direction and hitching the other.”

As we entered the park, I found out that one of the youths from Washington (I think it was Clammy but maybe it was Stormchaser) was a fellow Husky alumni. I attended University of Washington from 1968-1970, just about the same time as his parents.

I told them the story of how I drew number 1 in the first draft lottery in 1968 and then quit college to hitchhike around the country in 1971, giving up my 2S deferment. Because I was on the road and we didn’t have cell phones back then, I failed to receive a series of induction notices until I stopped to visit my brother in Silver Spring six months later.

Fortunately, because I had sent the draft board Christmas cards over the years and a post card when I dropped out of school notifying them of my decision, they had delayed declaring me AWOL. I hitchhiked back to Helena, Montana and passed my physical in Butte in late November. Because of my high school tom-foolery, I also had to have an interview with a sympathetic Army officer who declared me “morally fit” to serve in the military. I also had a hearing with the 3-person draft board.

Then, in the beginning of 1972, I was categorized as 4A when Melvin Laird declared that no one would be drafted for the first three months of the year. 4A meant “no longer being currently processed for induction.” Subsequently, Laird ended the draft as we shifted to a volunteer army.

They enjoyed my little tale and history lesson. I pulled over and dropped them off at the entrance to the park amidst merry farewells.

Driving back to Burney, I once again passed the confusing hitchhiker. He was on the other side of the highway so I couldn’t stop, but I turned around at the railway crossing and went back to pick him up.

His name was Fred Wilkinson. He was from Tucson, Arizona. He is 42 years old and is hiking the PCT northbound.

On this particular weekend, however, a friend of his was visiting Mt. Shasta. If he stayed on the trail, by the time he reached Shasta she would be gone.

Therefore, he had decided to hitchhike up to Mt. Shasta to meet her for the weekend and then hitchhike back to resume the trail at the 299 trailhead.

Someone had stopped to give him a ride to Burney Falls. However, when he got to Burney Falls he thought that it wasn’t a very good place to hitchhike.

That’s why he was walking back to 4 corners while he was hitching in the opposite direction.

When I stopped to pick him up he was in the process of reconsidering his options. Perhaps, he thought, it would be better to rent a car for the weekend. So we drove back into Burney to see if there was anyone who could rent him a car.

I went first to the oil change place because I thought that I had once seen something there about car rentals. The man at the car rental place referred us to Intermountain Auto repair in Johnson Park, Intermountain Auto had rental cars but only for people who were having work done on their cars.

Renting a car In Burney was no longer an option.

Fred Wilkinson from Tucson

Fred Wilkinson from Tucson

Fred was extremely nice and very grateful for my assistance. He asked me to let him off at the MacDonald’s. MacDonald’s has good Wi-Fi, so Fred planned to get something to eat, go online, and clarify his strategy for reaching Mt. Shasta.

It was still early and he had plenty of time to reach Shasta by nightfall, which was his goal. I told him that I was pretty sure he could get a ride to Mt. Shasta from 4-corners.

“Just don’t take a ride unless they are going all the way to Shasta. You might have to wait an hour or so before someone stops, but you will get a ride and then it’s only a little over an hour ride.” I advised.

I haven’t seen him since, so I hope all went well and he had a pleasant rendezvous. Perhaps I will see him again this week when he returns to resume his northbound trek.

 

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Burney is becoming a Vortex of PCT activity

I may have to get a larger vehicle. I pulled into Burney Lodging because I got a heads-up that some PCT hikers needed a ride. There were 5 hikers waiting for me.

As we were figuring out if we could get all of the hikers and packs into the jeep, another red SUV pulled into the parking lot.

“It looks like you might not have enough room,” said Tara Goff, “Could you use another vehicle?”

Tara Goff had been on her way to the Dollar General with her daughter Destiny when they saw us all crowded around the little Jeep Liberty. Tara and Destiny also like to give rides to PCT hikers. They love to meet the hikers and hear the stories.

Since they had already loaded their packs, four of them jumped into my vehicle and the fifth, a hiker from Raleigh, North Carolina,  hoped in with the Goffs. We headed off to the park in a little caravan.

In my vehicle I had a young lady from Alaska and Hawaii (in that order). Her name is Vortex.

When I heard she was from Alaska and Hawaii, I said, “Oh! One of the Cool People who like to go to Cool Places!” She laughed.

Vortex, Pornstar, High Roller, Kodachrome, and a hiker form Raleigh

Vortex, Pornstar, High Roller, Kodachrome, and a hiker from Raleigh

Also aboard was Kodachrome from Switzerland. He told me that there were a lot of Swiss hiking the trail this year. He was from the German speaking part of Switzerland.

My final two passengers were Pornstar from Hawaii and High Roller from San Jose.

It was a very vivacious group.

Part of our conversation revolved around Dilly Dally. One of them had met Dilly Dally at Lost Creek just after she sprained her ankle. He thanked me for picking her up on top of Hat Creek Rim.

Another asked if I had dropped her off at McDonald’s. He had met her at McDonald’s. I said “N0,” but that one of the first things she had asked us was where the McDonald’s was.

They all knew Coppertone and Chipmunk. I told them about our gathering at the cache and Coppertone’s plan to set up again further north at McKenzie Pass and possibly some place in between.

And so it went on our short ride to Burney Falls. They were all looking forward to going for a swim. We pulled in by the entrance, the Goffs pulled in behind us and I got a group picture.

High Roller, The Pornstar, Kodachrome, Vortex, Raleigh hiker, and Tara and Destiny Goff

High Roller, The Pornstar, Kodachrome, Vortex, and Raleigh hiker with PCT Angels Tara and Destiny Goff

As you may have guessed, we are at the peak of PCT season in pit river country. Thousands of hikers who were delayed by the snow in the Sierras are now passing through.

You may also have surmised that giving rides to PCT hikers is becoming popular. It is like the world is passing through the Burney Basin.

I got a message from Diane Lahey. In the past, she has been wary of picking up hitchhikers. This year she has begun giving rides to PCT hikers. She shared the following story and advice on how to recognize PCT hikers:

Thank you for your posts in the Mt. Echo re the PCT people. You gave me courage to step out and help them when I see them. In the past week I have helped 13 get to their next trail location, or into Burney for supplies.

It has been such a rewarding experience for me. The people are so alive and goodnatured. I love the interaction.

Thanks for sharing about them and helping me feel safe picking them up. The first two warned me what to look for to assure I was getting a PCT person and not a hitchhiker. It might be something you want to address in your next column on them.

They told me to make sure the person was NOT wearing jeans (don’t breathe and too hot for summer hiking)–to look at the backpack and look for walking poles, and to check out the shoes. Since I am female and have never before picked up hitchhikers, this was good info for me.

Thanks again for your column. Helping these young people has made me smile inside and out. You are welcome too share any of this with your readers if you find it worthwhile.”
Thanks to Diane for sharing and thanks also to Walt Caldwell, publisher of the Mountain Echo.

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Finding Dilly Dally

Linda and I were just about to leave for Redding for a meeting with our State Farm Insurance Agent when the phone rang.

It was a young woman named Sarah. She was on the PCT trail about 7 miles this side of Old Station. She had turned her ankle. It hurt. She had decided that it was better not to push it and continue the 27-mile hike she had planned that day.

Sarah Wright with a sprained ankle needs a ride

Sarah Wright with a sprained ankle needs a ride

She called the U.S. Forest Service. They gave her my name and number. Could I give her a ride?

I told her that I was really sorry. On this particular day, I had an appointment in Redding. It was already past the time that we were going to leave the house.

She said that the ankle wasn’t too bad. She wasn’t exactly sure of her location. I gave her the number of Burney Lodging where they have a list of trail angels. I also gave her the number of a woman in Old Castle who should be able to get her in touch with the Old Station Volunteer Fire Department. I told her I would call later to make sure she had gotten help. I told her that there was a honeycomb of roads up on the ridge so someone should be able to drive up to get her.

Then I felt bad. There was a girl with a sprained ankle up on Hat Creek Ridge. The temperature was going up to 100 degrees. I said a prayer with Linda lifting Sarah up into the light and praying for God to guide the situation.

We had to stop at the Burney Cemetery Office on the way out of town to drop off some of Linda’s photo cards for Jackie Young. We were running late.

On the way over, my mind was in process. Our meeting in Redding didn’t have to be that day. I actually had been wanting to go up on Hat Creek Ridge. I wasn’t sure how to find her, but I could make the effort. If she got a ride from someone else, it would still be a nice drive. Most of all, if she didn’t get a ride, I would feel terrible.

So, in the parking lot of the Burney Cemetery, I called the insurance office and rescheduled our appointment. Then I called Sarah’s number to see if she had gotten been able to contact someone. No answer. I left a message that we were driving up on the ridge to find her.

Before leaving town, I stopped at Burney Lodging to see if she had called there and if any one was going to find her. She hadn’t called.

Just then, my cell phone rang. It was Sarah. She hadn’t reached anyone. I told her we were on our way and we would find her.

All I knew was that she was on the PCT trail 7 miles from Old Station. I wasn’t familiar with the trail up on the ridge and I didn’t know all of the roads. But several years ago I had driven up there with Linda on a photo shoot and driven down the road where the hand gliders take off. I knew that road came down to Doty Loop so I decided that that was probably the fastest way up.

On the way out Hwy 89, I said another prayer asking God and the spirit world to guide us. I figured that that was the best GPS. Shortly after turning ont0 Doty Loop, I saw a dune buggy driving toward me. I stopped and waved. He stopped and told me to take Bidwell Road.

As we ascended the steep, windy, gravel road, I put the Jeep into 4 wheel drive and all of the lights on my dash board started going crazy. I said another little prayer for no car problems.

I told Linda that if we saw anyone up here we would ask them for directions. Then, just atop the ridge we saw a trailer parked by the road. It was Coppertone, the legendary PCT Magic Man.

Tripster and Sour Patch with Coppertone

Tripster and Sour Patch with Coppertone

Coppertone parks his trailer at various spots along the PCT to supply hikers with bananas, apples, and root beer floats. The PCT crosses Bidwell Road at this point. It is a cache spot, but it is marked this year as not being active.

There were two PCT hikers there resting, Tripster and Sour Patch from Santa Cruz.

When I drove up, Coppertone had just been on the phone with Sarah. Actually, Sarah’s hiking partner Smiles had just left.

Smiles had been hiking with Sarah when she sprained her ankle. When she decided to stop and call for help, he decided to continue on and left some of his stuff there with her to lighten his load. He was going to hike on to Burney and meet her there.

So Smiles and Coppertone had just been on the phone with Sarah, and more or less, Coppertone was expecting us because Sarah and told him that someone was coming.

Apparently, Sarah had made her way to a road and the name of the road was 34N34. Coppertone had a tablet. He showed me on Google maps where we were and had Linda write down directions.

Head up Bidwell, take the first right, from there you will merge with 18. 34N34 was not marked on the maps, but he pointed which unmarked road he thought it was. So I called Sarah again and assured her that I was on the way.

I followed the directions to 18 and saw a road 34N65. I thought that may lead to 34N34. It didn’t. After a few miles it dead-ended at a communications tower.

Comminications tower on Hat Creek Ridge

Communications tower on Hat Creek Ridge

It was the wrong place, but there was a beautiful view of the Hat Creek Valley and Mt Lassen.

View of Mt Lassen from the radio tower

View of Mt Lassen from the radio tower

So I called Sarah again and told her I had taken a wrong turn and had to backtrack, but I would be there soon. Sarah said that if she heard a car coming she would come out to the road. She was resting in the shade behind a pine tree.

We drove back to 18. A few more miles down, we saw the magic sign 34N34. Now we were on the right road. I wanted to get there as quickly as possible, but I didn’t want to drive by too fast, not see her, and leave her in a cloud of dust.

At last, there she was!

Sarah Wright by 34N34

Sarah Wright by 34N34

It was so awesome meeting her. She thanked us for coming and said that she was surprised that we had arrived at Coppertone’s so quickly. I guess that altogether from the time she had first called, only a few hours had gone by – only a little over an hour since we had left Burney.

So now we learned her trail name – Dilly Dally. She said that she probably could have hiked on but she didn’t want to strain her ankle too much and she wanted to go into Burney to rest for a day or two.

As we headed back to Coppertone’s trailer, Smiles texted to say that she had made a wise decision because the trail went through a lot of lava rock that would have been rough on here ankle. He also said to watch out for rattlesnakes because he almost stepped on one.

When we got back to Coppertone’s, there was another vehicle there. It was Chipmunk, another PCT trail angel and magic man. Chipmunk had taken another hiker, Dog Whisperer from Cincinnati, into Burney and back.

Chipmunk, Dilly Dally and Dog Whisperer

Chipmunk, Dilly Dally and Dog Whisperer

I got really excited when I learned that Dog Whisperer was from Cincinnati, because I used to live there and I love Skyline Cincinnati chili. So we talked about the unique 3-way, 4-way, and 5-way Cincinnati chili and Chipmunk explained to us that Texas chili didn’t have any beans or meat – just chili.

Now, Chipmunk had been helping hikers down around Ebbetts Pass. Then he heard that a PCT angel who had a stop near Buck’s Lake was taking a few days off so he drove up to relieve her for two days. While there he heard that a heat spell was coming and that the cache on Hat Creek rim was not active this year, so he drove up to provide water and assistance because the bulk of the hikers are coming through this area right now.

The 30 mile hike from Old Station to Baum Lake is the longest stretch without water in Northern California. (Down south in the desert there is a 40 mile stretch.) There is water at Lost Creek, but many hikers don’t want to hike down an 500 foot escarpment to resupply and then have to hike back up.

So Chipmunk had driven up to this crossing to make sure that everyone had enough water. And that’s how we all happened to be gathered in this one spot.

I brought up the subject of root beer floats.

“I know that they are for PCT hikers,” I said…

“That’s all right,” Coppertone promptly replied, “I make root beer floats for PCT rescuers too!”

So Coppertone made us all special root beer floats with cookies and cream ice cream!

Coppertone told us that after most of the hikers has passed through he was planning to take his rig farther north. He needed to find places where the trail crossed a road, and he preferred to find locations not too far from a town, so he could resupply too.

If I understood correctly, he may set up somewhere at McKenzie Pass in Oregon. He is also looking for another location before that. Chipmunk was giving him some suggestions. Anyway, he will be somewhere providing his special magic.

While we were talking, another PCT hiker passed by. Chipmunk hailed him, but he passed right by. A lot of hikers are pushing for more miles now, making up for delays further south.

After our refreshing break, we headed back to Burney. We had a pleasant ride back. We showed Dilly Dally where the hang gliders take off. Dilly Dally said she wants to try hang gliding too. There is a popular hang gliding site near where she lives in Utah.

Dilly Dally was born in Seattle and spent her childhood there. Then her family moved to Provo, Utah. She graduated from Brigham Young University and as she is hiking is considering whether or not to go to graduate school.

We talked a little about the 2016 election. Because Dilly Dally had been on the trail since April 26, she has been traveling in a realm removed from the ups and downs and ins and outs of media and politics.

“I think I picked a good time to hike the trail,” she said. “It seems like people who are voting for Trump are doing so because they don’t like Hillary, and the people who are voting for Hillary are doing so because they don’t like Trump.”

I took a short detour on the way home to show her the trail head at Baum Lake and Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery, since she would miss those sites. She was impressed by the American White Pelicans.

An interesting fellow

American White Pelican on Baum Lake

She asked where the MacDonald’s was. We took her into Burney, explained where all the stores and restaurants were and dropped her pretty much in the center at Burney Lodging.

We offered that she could stay at our place and take a dip in the pool, but she preferred to have her own little haven in a motel. Also, she was looking forward to meeting up again with her hiking companion, Smiles, to see how his hike went. Not to mention that she had to take care of that sore ankle, etc.

All in all, it was an exciting, unexpected adventure. I was so happy to have met Coppertone and Chipmunk. I had heard of them, but never really expected to meet them. The PCT is a world of its own.

I hope that Dilly Dally’s ankle is recovering well, that she had a nice rest stop in Burney, and that the rest of her journey is wonderful.

 

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Troubadour on the trail

I arrived back at the Burney Falls Lodging to find Linda and Troubadour engaged in lively conversation. I had left them there about a half hour before  when I drove a jeep full of PCT hikers out to Burney Falls.

Linda and Troubador near the 299 PCT trailhead

Linda and Troubador near the 299 PCT trailhead

Troubadour is from Simmozheim, a town in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. His German name it Julian. He finished his undergraduate studies in engineering and decided to take a break to hike the PCT trail before going on pursue graduate studies in systems simulation. He felt that it would be a good idea to hike 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada to think about things and clear his head before focusing his mind on mathematical models and computer programming. He began his northward trek on April 27.

So far, Troubadour has had an exciting journey.

“All bad things that could happen, happen to me,” he said, ” because I am not risk-adverse.”

As an example, he told us how he had been swept off his feet and washed down-stream in Evolution Creek and how he had fallen over at Glenn Pass onto his back pack and couldn’t right himself.

“Fortunately,” he said, “While I am sometimes stupid, I am also lucky.”

At Evolution Creek, he had known he should have gone a short ways upstream where the water was less deep and swift to cross, but decided to brave the current anyway. A slippery rock caused him to lose his balance. As he slid down the stream, his sleeping pad protected him from being pounded on the rocks. He was able to flip over so his backpack remained dry and then he was able to get a foothold in the streambed and pull himself out.

At Glenn Pass he had to undo his pack to get free, but nothing was lost.

And so it goes… a cheerful young man on an adventure. Troubadour said that he didn’t like to rush his journey too much. Because of the fire detours and snow delays further south many of the hikers are trying to put in longer days to catch up with their schedule.

When I said, “It’s not the miles but the smiles,” he quipped back, “It’s not the gear, but the beer!” I hadn’t heard that one.

Troubadour is hoping to reach the Canadian border in September leaving time for a short visit to Vancouver. From Vancouver, he intends to fly back to Germany to begin school on October 15.

Before resuming his trek, he recommended a book he has been reading on the trail: The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In this book Taleb describes how unexpected events have played a large role in history. He also suggested that I take a look at the work of Daniel Kahneman, an Israeli-American psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work in behavioral economics.

Sometimes, even brief meetings with PCT hikers can be very intellectually stimulating.

Oh yes! Troubadour is also carrying a guitar with him. Hence the name “Troubadour.”

 

 

 

 

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A jeep full of PCT Hikers

Driving up Main Street in Burney on Saturday, July 23, Linda and I saw a group of hikers sitting in front of Burney Lodging. I pulled over and asked if anyone needed a ride to the PCT trailhead.

Five hikers came forward. Four of them wanted to go to Burney Falls Park and one wanted to go to the 299 trailhead.

I didn’t think that we could fit everyone with packs in the Jeep, so Linda volunteered to stay behind with Troubadour, the hiker who was headed to 299, while I drove the others to Burney Falls.

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 tacos, and Lo Flo

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 tacos, and Lo Flo

The group of four consisted of one young lady whose trail name was 6 Tacos, and three young gentlemen named Tapafla, 1 Gear, and Lo Flo. After loading in their packs, 6 Tacos took shotgun while the three guys piled in the back seat.

As we drove out, I asked if any of them had any particular experiences they wanted me to share.

1 Gear, whose real-world name is Chris Juarez, reported that he “got spooked by a mom bear with two cubs.”

Apparently the bears got spooked too because they climbed a tree to let 1 Gear pass.

Lo Flo (aka Elliot Schwimmer from Oakland, California) said that he “ran 12 miles in the opposite direction (south) from the Chimney Fire.”

Running from a raging forest fire is definitely intense.

6 Tacos (Alaina Bainbridge from Durham, North Carolina) wrote, “Once I ate six tacos!”

I didn’t get a highlight from the fourth hiker Tapafla (Dexter Corning from South Bend Indiana).

All were thru-hikers. 1 Gear had been on the trail longest. He started out from Campo on March 27. Tapafla and 6 Tacos had both begun their journey on April 4, and Lo Flo had begun on April 19.

They told me that as well as the Brit Family Robinson there was another family hiking the trail this year named Swiss Family Robinson. They also told me about one other mother hiking the trail with her 9 year old son, whom I believe is the youngest thru-hiker on the trail this year.

This was the first time that I had had 4 hikers in the Jeep all at the same time. Because 6 Tacos was in the front, I got a little more of her story. She has hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia. This is the first time that she has hiked on the West Coast. She’s finished college and doesn’t have a fixed schedule, so she’s hoping that after she reaches Canada she will be able to visit some of the larger cities in the northwest like Seattle and Portland and maybe hitchhike down the coast. So many beautiful places and things to see! One of the places she wants to visit is the Redwoods.

6 Tacos also loves beaches. While growing up, she spent a lot of time at the beaches in North Carolina. We talked a little about Topsail Island. But the California coastline is so different with the Pacific waves thrashing against the rocks and cliffs of the Coastal Mountains. She is planning on visiting Big Sur.

From the back of the Jeep one of the guys asked if you could swim below Burney Falls. I told them that I had. The water is cold and turbulent, but a quick in and out is definitely refreshing and exhilarating. Not many people go in but some do. If you do go in, enter farther up toward the rock face where the force of the falls will push you back toward the shore. You don’t want to swim near the creek heading downstream.

I dropped them by the entrance booth and headed back to town to pick up Linda and Troubadour.

 

 

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Great country music at Billy’s Roadside Café

The Intermountain area was treated to some stellar country music last Saturday night at Billy’s Roadside Café in Montgomery Creek.

Great country music at Billy's Roadside Cafe

Great country music at Billy’s Roadside Cafe

Rising star Jamie Pineda opened the show, soulfully singing a variety of classic and contemporary country tunes.

Jamie Pineda

In 2013, Jamie was a top contender in The X Factor.

She also sang with Merle Haggard’s band until his recent demise in April 2016. She is now currently playing and recording with some of the members of Haggard’s band.

Jamie is originally from Fall River Mills and now lives in the Burney area with her husband Juan Venegas and her their baby daughter. Her manager is Loren Kemper who became Haggard’s sound man in 2002. Kemper also provided the sound for Saturday evening’s event.

Loren Kemper and Doug Colosio

Loren Kemper and Doug Colosio

The headliner for the evening was The Lone Strangers featuring Doug Colosio.

The Lone Strangers

The Lone Strangers

Colosio is originally from Redding. He went to Nashville to pursue his dream in country music and began playing with Merle Haggard in 1998. During his career with Haggard he played keyboards and bass.

Colosio co-wrote several songs with Haggard and toward the end of Haggard’s sang the opening songs in several of Haggard’s shows.

As well as being a consummate musician, Colosio has a distinctive voice that combines elements of country and jazz.  He has a smooth style that that moves easily from ballad to boogie. Colosio now lives in Redding.

Robert Cummings, the owner of Billy’s Roadside Café said he wants to have quality bands  on a regular basis. Heavy Dose of Blues have played there several times.

On May 20, he hosted the Hope is Alive 6 open mike. Cummings said he felt really good about that event because he likes to put on events that are positive for the community.

Saturday night’s show was certainly positive and delightful!

 

 

 

 

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3-day Full Gospel camp meeting held in Burney

The Burney Camp Meeting brought three days of blessing to Burney. Seven preachers and numerous Christian Gospel singers and performers came from as far away as Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Los Angeles in the United States, and Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada to participate.

Worship services were held at 10 a.m., 2 p.m, and 7 p.m. on Friday July 22 and Saturday July 23, and at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday July 24. Most of the services were held at the Burney Veterans Hall. On Saturday afternoon, the 2 p.m. worship was held at the Pit River Community Center. Most of the hundreds of attendees were members of the Pit River Tribe, but the event was open to all who wanted to sing, praise, and worship God.

Steve Williams playing some awesome Gospel rock

Steve Williams from Shawnee, Oklahoma playing and singing some awesome Gospel rock with fellow musicians

The camp meeting has a long tradition and history in the Hat Creek/Burney area. Initiated by the Hat Creek Full Gospel Church, the revival was held for more than seventy years in the Hat Creek Valley. The Hat Creek Full Gospel church has been a center for community and worship for the Atsugewi in Hat Creek since the 1950’s.

Pastor Woody Elmore accepted responsibly for organizing the event five years ago. For the past three years the meeting has been held at the Burney Veterans Hall. In the meantime, Pastor Elmore was called to minister in North Dakota. He currently lives in Watford City, North Dakota with his wife Lana.

Pastor Woody Elmore with his wife Lana

Pastor Woody Elmore with his wife Lana

Pastor Elmore said, “We like to use different types of music such as blues and rap to share the Gospel.”

Indeed, he is a gifted guitar player and singer. His wife is also a wonderful singer and preacher who shares in his ministry. To listen to them sing is not just music, it is an opportunity for co-worshippers to feel the presence of the God and the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Elmore is also a spirit filled preacher. At the Sunday 10 a.m. service he shared some testimony about his ministry in North Dakota. He said that the area he ministers in is the same area where the Sun Dance originated. Traditional religion is strong. There hasn’t been a Full Gospel church there for 25 years. Prior to his coming, 11 ministers of various denominations came and left, finding it a difficult place to establish a congregation.

Yet Pastor Elmore persevered, praying a lot. He didn’t preach against the traditional way, but he faithfully shared the gospel. One day one of the elders of the traditional religion came to his service. Afterwards, Elmore asked him how he liked the service.

The Elder replied, “This is really good medicine!”

After his introductory testimony, Pastor Elmore proceeded into his sermon that was entitled, “The effects of a bad attitude.” He preached from Genesis chapter 4, using the story of Cain and Abel to illustrate the importance of giving your best to God, having a humble open, and worshipful attitude toward God and a loving attitude toward others. If one has a bad attitude then “sin crouches at your shoulder, and it’s desire is to master you.”

Just as Cain killed Abel, a bad attitude can kill a person’s marriage, make it difficult to keep employment, and negatively influence one’s children.

There was so much more. In the course of the weekend, seven preachers shared powerful massagers. There was a lot of wonderful music and singing and testimony and people giving themselves to the Lord and affirming their faith.

One of the songs that was sung numerous times was “Let it Rain,” a powerful invocation to the Spirit to pour down on the souls of the people so we could feel God’s presence.

Praise the Lord. Burney was blessed this weekend.

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