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Mountain matriarchs

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Mountain matriarchs

Postby Gene.Rose » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:48 am

Over the past two years, three of the Sierra’s most venerated matriarchs have crossed ultimate divide, taking that trail to which all trails lead.
They include Andrea Mead Lawrence of Mammoth Lakes;
Adeline Smith, the guiding light for the Muir Trail Ranch, and Clarabelle Ross of the Blayney Meadows and Auberry. All three were Sierraphiles of the highest order.
Mrs. Lawrence, who gained fame in 1952 Winter Olympics with two gold medals, achieved an even higher calling with her efforts to protect the Sierra from run-away development. Among other things, Mrs. Lawrence was the founding spark-plug for Friends of Mammoth and Sierra Alliance. She died in April, 2009 at age 76.
Adeline Smith was the wife of the late Karl Smith who took over the what was then the Diamond D Guest Ranch in the early 1950s. Over the years they introduced thousands of Sierra, offering up a guest ranch setting in the midst of the John Muir Wilderness.
In addition, they operated the ferry service and store on Florence Lake. He died in 1983, while closing the resort for the season. Adeline stepped into the void with her
daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter have continued the family tradition
Most recently, Clarabelle Ross died in March concluding a Sierra stay that reached back to the 1940s. Her husband Fred had established a Boy Scout camp at Blayney Meadows even earlier. In the post-World War II years, they operated a pack station, specializing the burros.
Currently, their adult children Richard Ross and Penny Ross now operate the High Sierra Elderhostel at that location.
Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Ross were friends as well as neighbors, occupying patented lands along the south fork of the San Joaquin River, about four miles east of Florence Lake.
For many of today’s PCT movers and shakers, the three woman may appear
generations apart. But they provided a measure of stewardship that is particular to the
Sierra--the world’s foremost mountain range. They were part of that legacy, indeed.
By any measure, they will be missed.

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Re: Mountain matriarchs

Postby gdurkee » Sat Apr 10, 2010 7:51 pm

The other cool thing about Adeline & Karl and Fred & Clarabelle is they found a unique way to live in the High Sierra for a good chunk of the year -- coming in just as the snow is melting and leaving when winter starts. This is as close to "living life deliberately" that Thoreau envisioned as we're likely to see today:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."
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Re: Mountain matriarchs

Postby sierramel » Sun Sep 26, 2010 2:25 pm

I didn't know that Adeline had passed! I had meant to ask Patt Gray (a good friend of mine who puts in her hours at the MTR) if Adeline was still "with us". Adeline must have been, what? 95?
I met Adeline for the first time in 1988 - the first time I did the Muir Trail. She was quite the hardy lady. Hillary, (her grandaughter) was only 6 at the time and just putting out her first "book" with her drawings & pictures. She got married about 4 years ago.
I saw them both many times after that over the years in the summer whenever I stopped down at the Diamond D.
I'm sorry to hear that she's gone. She told me quite a few stories about her hikes and early years on the trail.
"Some places remain unknown because no one has ventured forth. Others remain so because no one has ever come back."
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