Near Ukiah is Montgomery Woods (Montgomery State Reserve), home of one of the world’s tallest redwoods

The tallest living tree stands at 367 feet, 6 in, or five stories higher than the Statue of Liberty. It is the Mendocino Tree, a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) found at Montgomery State Reserve near Ukiah, California, USA. It is estimated to be over 1000 years old. The tree was last measured in September 1998, and was also found to have a diameter of 10 ft. 4 in. It was declared the tallest tree in 1996. More recently other redwoods have found to be taller.

My kids loved having adventures with their dad. They even had teeshirts which said, “I survived adventures with my dad.” Some of our adventures were hairier than than what was good for me let alone them. Anyway, when daughter Holly came from Connecticut to visit she wanted an “adventure.”

Notwithstanding having lived here (Fort Bragg, CA.) since 2000 I had never visited Montgomery Woods. So a visit to Montgomery Woods was mooted. Getting there isn’t real easy:

From Mendocino go 30 miles east on Comptche-Ukiah Road and pass through Comptche (it’s tiny – if you blink you’ll miss it). Continue on as it becomes Orr Hot Springs Road, a scenic, winding and poorly maintained country road. Park in the lot of the Mendocino Woods State Park on the right just east of a small bridge.”

We stopped for a libation and snack in Mendocino and off we trooped. It was well worth the effort of getting there.

Sign at the entrance

Holly checking out the sign at the entrance

Really neat A Frame bridge

Informative sign about the Pomo

Look at the size of this downed one

Is this the tallest tree?

Lots of the visitors having their pics taken in front of this one

Great adventure.


Caspar Lumber Company Inclines at Whisky Springs on Route 20 between Fort Bragg and Willits

Our website has this to say about the Caspar Lumber Company inclines:

The first two inclines (shown in yellow) on the map above belonging to the Caspar Lumber Company were just up one side of a hill and down the other side of the hill. The logs were pulled to the top of the hill and then lowered down the other side. The picture below shows the Caspar Lumber Company incline in operation.

The Caspar incline at work

What the website page does not say is when and exactly where it was built. That “mystery” was recently solved in the “blast from the past” section from the local rag::

It is reported that the Caspar Lumber Co. is to work up all of its timber in the Little North Fork of Big River into ties. It will be necessary to build a tramway (incline) from the head (end) of the railroad on the South Fork of the Noyo (River) over the divide at Whisky Springs to get the ties out.”

And the date – January 24th, 1917.

And where is Whisky Springs? Here’s a map I bagged from Google:

Another small piece of the jigsaw that is the history of logging along the Mendocino Coast.

Heroines at Sea – the sailing schooner W. H. Talbot

This blog entry starts with an e-mail I received from Philip Brown, “You have a story on your website titled “Heroines at Sea” Philip is absolutely correct. It’s worth repeating here:

“Year: 1910 Headlines in San Francisco Papers: 16 and 19 year-old Heroines Help Save Sailing Schooner “W.H. Talbot”

The story:

In April 910 the schooner W.H. Talbot was crossing the Pacific Ocean from Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia to San Francisco. She was under the command of Captain Andrew Knudsen. Knudsen was the father of Agatha and Sylvia who were making the voyage with him.

In mid-Pacific Captain Knudsen became very ill and was no longer able to assume command. About the time that he was confined to his cabin a tremendous storm overtook the vessel such that it seemed the sea was trying to hammer the schooner into submission in his absence. Shipping giant seas the vessel took an unmerciful beating.

The crew were wet to the skin and tired and worn from endeavoring to keep the ship into the wind. No hot food could be cooked and sleep was out of the question. The wind snapped the jib-boom and sprung the mainmast and for a while it seemed that the Talbot was doomed.

The girls were very apprehensive. They tended Captain Knudsen in his illness but knew that he was far too ill to come on deck and take command. The young ladies were also aware that the short-handed crew had been worked to the point of exhaustion just handling the ship. Urgently needed repairs had gone unheeded.
The situation seemed hopeless when Sylvia appeared on deck in her dad’s sou’wester, oil skins and sea boots. The crew for a while were sure that the girl had taken leave of her senses. Sylvia insisted on relieving the man at the wheel so he could be of use in helping repair the ship’s rigging. Sister Agatha, not to be outdone, alternated with her sister handling the helm around the clock.

For several days the young ladies tended the wheel at the mate’s guidance and kept the tempest–tossed schooner on course. The extra help was the shot in the arm needed to keep the crew going.
The Talbot eventually made it to San Francisco. Captain Knudsen recovered and the two girls became the toast of San Francisco waterfront. The storm-battered schooner got a face-lifting at a local shipyard and went on to many years of hard sailing until she was broken up on the Chinese coast in 1924.”

Philip’s e-mail continues: “Sylvia Knudsen is my Grandmother. Moreover, I have the painting of the W. H. Talbot. Would you like me to mail you a photo of the ship?” Would I  !!!!!!!!!

Philip’s second e-mail added a bit more background: “Here is a photo of the painting of the W.H. Talbot handed down to me from my grandmother Sylvia Nyberg. She married a Norwegian from Stavanger, Norway, the hometown of her mother and father. Sylvia was born in Brooklyn, New York where her parents met and were married.”

And the photo of the painting? Here she be:

W.H. Talbot

Philip, I cannot thank you enough.


CWR (California Western Railroad) Railbus M300

M300 in the woods

She sits, sad and forlorn, on a track between the building that houses our layout and the Skunk train depot in Fort Bragg. Visitors to the layout frequently ask, “Does she run?” The answer is, “Yes.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that she does not go backwards so she cannot run the Pudding Creek Express as there is nowhere for her to be turned around for the return journey. Once the railroad between Fort Bragg and Northspur is in operation she will be back in business as she can use the wye at Northspur to “about face.”

M300 was built by American Car & Foundry in 1935, Order #1432, as Seaboard Air Line RR 2026, part of a three car order, 2024 thru 2026. She was sold to the Aberdeen & Rockfish as 106. In 1951 and was purchased as Salt Lake Garfield & Western M.C.3 to replace their electric cars. Finally, in 1963 she became part of the CWR roster where she was numbered M300. So (in 2017) she’s 82 and still rolling along. Not bad eh?

Here’s a bunch of pics of her taken over the years:

Caspar Lumber Company’s Little Red Schoolhouse at Camp 20 on the road from Fort Bragg to Willits

I first visited Caspar Lumber Company’s Little Red Schoolhouse at Camp 20 soon after we moved to Fort Bragg in 2000. The kids were curious as to what an “olde worlde” schoolroom looked like. So we packed lunch and off we tooled.

The schoolhouse is on the south side of the road beyond the Camp 20 meadow toward Willits and is the bright red redwood building.Cross over the footbridge to the east of Camp 20 and look to your right – the old camp schoolhouse stands waiting to be preserved. In its early days it was known as “Woods School”. It first opened in 1915 at Camp 1, moved to Camp 19 and then to its present location. To move the school it was cut into three pieces and mounted on skids. Each third was loaded onto a flat car. Upon arrival it was “stitched back together.

This is the picture that I took in 2001:

2001 photo

As you can see it was not in great condition but still repairable. That, sadly, is no longer true as these photos, taken last summer attest:

What a bloody shame that NO-ONE cares.

Great Blue Herons along the Mendocino Coast

The Great Blue Heron is my favorite bird. I have watched one hunt gophers in a field of a million gopher holes. Now, how did that heron know that there was a gopher down THAT hole. They are tall. They are very graceful. When they land they remind me of a 747 landing. Breathtaking.

In the sixteen years we have lived here I have seen quite a few but, until very recently, have never had a camera to hand when one hove into view. That changed when I was on the beach and I espied one on a rock just beyond the surf:

Seaside Beach north of Inglenook

It ain’t the greatest photo but ……..

For the technically minded this is what Wiki has to say about the Great Blue Heron: The great blue heron is a large wading bird in the heron family, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North and Central America . as well as the Caribbean and the Galapogos Islands. These two pics are by pros:

Vids are hard come by. This one is the one I like best of the few I have found:

I really like the music that accompanies the vid.

Anyone got better pics?