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High Odyssey - by Gene Rose

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High Odyssey - by Gene Rose

Postby ERIC » Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:10 pm

I ran into my good friend Gene Rose last week, and our wonderful discussions about the Sierra Nevada prompted me to re-read one of his books, "High Odyssey". For anyone who hasn't read this book, I highly recommend it. The book takes you on a journey through a wintery Sierra Nevada on the first solo winter assault of Mount Whitney and the John Muir Trail by Orland Barthaolomew back in 1928. Some other good books by Gene include:

"The San Joaquin: A River Betrayed"
"Yosemite's Tioga Country - a History and Appreciation"
"Magic Yosemite Winters: A Century of Winter Sports"
"Sierra Centennial: 100 years of pioneering on the Sierra National Forest"
Last edited by ERIC on Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby rightstar76 » Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:07 am

Your post reminded me of Shirley Sargent's "[amazon=1878345214]Solomons of the Sierra: The Pioneer of the John Muir Trail[/amazon]" which I read a few years ago. There were still some copies left and I am glad that I got one. A very dense but great read. Took a few weeks to get through though. Fantastic photos. A lot of the book is about his life away from the Sierra, but the parts about his trip down Enchanted Gorge and climb up Tehipite Dome blew me away. The other part of the book that's fascinating are his writings and articles. His classic painting of the Mariposa Grove of sequoias graces the front cover of the book. I think I've looked at it a thousand times and I've never gotten tired of it. Solomons sure captured the essence of the Sierra mid elevation forest in that painting. His time is a generation long gone.
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Postby ERIC » Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:38 am

rightstar76 wrote:Your post reminded me of Shirley Sargent's "Solomons of the Sierra: The Pioneer of the John Muir Trail" which I read a few years ago. There were still some copies left and I am glad that I got one. A very dense but great read. Took a few weeks to get through though. Fantastic photos. A lot of the book is about his life away from the Sierra, but the parts about his trip down Enchanted Gorge and climb up Tehipite Dome blew me away. The other part of the book that's fascinating are his writings and articles. His classic painting of the Mariposa Grove of sequoias graces the front cover of the book. I think I've looked at it a thousand times and I've never gotten tired of it. Solomons sure captured the essence of the Sierra mid elevation forest in that painting. His time is a generation long gone.


Looks like there are still a few copies to be had over at Amazon. I'll have to pick one up. Thanks for the reply.
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Postby Timberline » Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:51 pm

Hi, Eric,
Last August, your mention of Gene Rose's books prompted me to find and acquire Sierra Centennial, and I just finished reading it. Thanks for that tip-off! I particularly enjoyed reading this book since I worked on the Sierra National Forest in the summer of 1964, between my junior and senior years of college as a forestry major at Humboldt State. As the book highlights, that was during one of the pivotal periods on the forest (there were many to be sure!). The forest's wilderness management plan had just been completed, Tehipite Valley got transferred that year to Kings Canyon National Park, and the John Muir Wilderness was formally established. Wilderness and the idea of preserving Sierra high country environments was gaining prominence publicly and nationally in the framework of Forest Service policy, and typically, the Sierra Forest was leading the way. That summer I was assigned to the Continuous Forest Inventory project (CFI), coordinated between the forest, U.C. Berkeley, and the PSW Forest & Range Experiment Station. At the time, it was sort of leading edge applied technology and required a lot of back country travel as it had to do with sorting out the allowable cut determination for the entire forest against the rising pressure to recognize ecosystem values, particulary in the high country where sustainability of commerical forestry was becoming much more questionable. It was a great summer of learning and adventure for me. I got to meet Arn Snyder, the High Sierra District Ranger, for whom I gained a tremendous respect. He had what I considered, hands down, the world's greatest job, and in my eyes lived up to every aspect of it that I could imagine. I worked on Arnie's District most of that summer, and the FS paid me to backpack and horsepack into the back country to collect project data. So in retrospect, I guess my job was pretty cool, too, even as a lowly GS-5 seasonal Techie.
Reading Gene Rose's book helped put my experiences into the broader perspective of the Sierra Forest's history, as well as sharpen my memory of events on the forest surrounding that pivotal period. The deep appreciation and passion he brought to that story evoked strong emotions in me for the significance and romance of those days. With great fondness, I have carried ever since the memories of the people I met and the days I spent there. That summer, and the one following where I worked on the same project for the Seqouia National Forest, fixed forever my unquenchable excitement for the Sierra high country. Thanks much for providing that connection to the past! :righton:
Let 'er Buck! Back in Oregon again!
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High Odyssey etc.

Postby gdurkee » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:40 am

Gene's book on Barthaolomew's ski trip is great. One of those Sierra classics of a (then) little-known story. Also interesting is that Ed Steen, who was going to do the trip with Bart, lived in Fresno into the 90s. Steen had to back out of the trip at the last moment because of money problems, so Orland did it solo. Gene knew Steen and saw him fairly often, interviewing him about the trip and the early days of snow surveys.

In the early 90s, I found one of their food caches at Crabtree, near Whitney. Still in perfect shape with a note from him when he reached the cache and what his plans were the next day (climb Whitney, then ski north). I turned all the stuff over to NPS but it's perhaps possible that some of the cocoa didn't make it out. Just by accident, of course. Next winter, I sent some of the cocoa to Gene, who took it over to Steen's house and they were able to share a cup of 60 year old hot cocoa! Pretty cool. Apparently Ed appreciated it quite a bit.

It's also possible that a group of rangers shared a cup of this aged but purloined cocoa in the Kern Kaweah's one evening, drinking a toast to some gnarly dudes and a great trip.

Gene has a lot of interviews and records with a bunch of the fearly snow surveyors. He tried to sell it as a book project, and even got the state to commit some money to it, but the project fell apart when the state's finances tanked a few years back. Still a great idea, if anyone knows of a funding source.

Thanks also for reminding me of the Solomon's book. I keep meaning to read it and will check Amazon.

g.
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Postby BSquared » Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:40 pm

Ah, some new titles to keep me warm on the wintry nights (but I wish it would begin to get a little less like summer out here -- it's enough to make one believe in global warming) :\

Speaking of which, can anybody point me to studies on the probable effects of global climate change on the Sierra particularly? I know about the regional study of California of a few years back, but I've mostly been following local stuff (local being Maryland).

Welcome back to the board, George! Good to hear from you. Any good stories from the summer in Evolution?
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Postby ERIC » Thu Oct 25, 2007 11:31 pm

George,

Not sure if it's simply a coincidence, or if he saw this thread, but Gene emailed me out of the blue the other day. He asked if he could buy me lunch again sometime, so he could introduce me to a friend of his. That friend being.....YOU! :lol:
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High Odyssey etc.

Postby gdurkee » Fri Oct 26, 2007 10:24 am

Eric:

Ahoy. Not a coincidence. I sent Gene a note telling him he was being abused here. Lunch sounds like a great idea. Maybe we can rendezvous sometime (even though I go to great effort to stay out of Fresno...).
Welcome back to the board, George! Good to hear from you. Any good stories from the summer in Evolution?


One small anecdote, which will fit nicely in the "Literature" section. A friend was up on Mendel Glacier and found another of the airman from the 1940s crash there. I went up on the recovery and, as he's being hoisted out by the helicopter, was able to radio "the Iceman cometh." I'd been waiting two years to use that line. Alas, no reaction from dispatch.

g.
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Postby BSquared » Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:18 pm

Ah, I always thought you had a touch of the poet about you. Good thing his pants didn't come off on the way up, then you would have had a moon for the misbegotten.

Gotta run: time for the long journey home.

:lol:
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Re: High Odyssey etc.

Postby ERIC » Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:45 am

gdurkee wrote:Eric:

Ahoy. Not a coincidence. I sent Gene a note telling him he was being abused here. Lunch sounds like a great idea.


:p I knew it!
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