By Diann Hokanson
The Scenic River is a painter’s paradise. Monet’s Giverney gardens with lily pones and Japanese bridge summoned the Impressionists no less than our Klamath inspires the Realist, Abstract, Representational and Surrealist artist.
The River itself with its deep emerald still places and raging white water rapids, travels both swiftly and lazily through narrow steep rock walls and wide open spaces. Edged with spiky river grasses, the smooth worn river rocks invite the graceful Snowy Egret. Blue Heron and the artist!
The Klamath is fed by bubbling streams and some pretty swift creeks. Down along their banks the temperature can be twenty degrees cooler.
Our own little Ferguson Creek isn’t even on the map. Walking under its conifer, oak and maple canopy is like closing a door, shutting out the noise of traffic from the highway, and opening into a world of quiet, cool and non-electric gurgle of the creek. Huge ferns grow here and moss covers the trunks of the Oaks and old fallen logs. N the middle of all these greens and earth tones are surprising brilliant reds, tiny fuchsia and delicate pinks and lavenders of wild flowers and trillium.
The landscape painter finds scenes of majestic grandeur. In the Wilderness area Ukonom, Sprit, Blue Granite and Cliff lakes, each set like a diamond in the Marble Mountains. Ukonom falls, a mile up Ukonom Creek from the other side of the river, is worth the hike. The beautiful double waterfall is much like the Wiamea Falls of Hawaii. From Greyback, the high country, you can see across thirteen different layers of mountains and hills, each a little fainter as if you could see to infinity. In the spring and fall, mists settle in below and between the mountains, and we feel like the very first human.
Pastoral Scenes are also available; cattle and horses in cattle in golden meadows as well as lovely old barns and cabins. Along Highway 96 are old communities left from the Gold rush. Klamath River, Scott Bar, Hamburg, Seiad Valley, Fort Goff and Happy Camp. We have our old buildings and small town atmosphere. It’s like stepping into a time warp.
The portrait artist is after my own heart. You would think living in all this would be pretty distracting but the closest theater is 75 miles and the closest shopping mall is 110 miles away! What makes our place unique are its people. Do you know a medicine man? Have you seen the expression on the face of the prospector who held two nuggets of gold in hand? I know a 63 year old lady who dredges underwater, A man who can fell a tree in a stand without hitting another, a doctor who came to retire and fish and has never worked so hard in his life, a woman who runs a publishing house, and people who really live off the land with no phones and electricity. There are river guides and wilderness packers who will take you into the wilderness and artists living here. We have lived here fifty years and haven’t made a dent!
Shortly after the Slater Fire some people wrote all about their experience of the fire. Many more seemed unable to dwell on the crisis and instead wanted to go forward. Indeed, it was imperative as meals, shelter and other needs took precedence. Perhaps in the quietness of winter, with a shelter, while not what we would have called “home” last year, is home for now, there is time.
Have you had time to reminisce about happy times in Happy Camp?. If you grew up in Happy Camp, what are your best recollections from your childhood? If you came later to Happy Camp, what brought you to this little town in the big forest? If your family came generations ago, have they passed down what brought them here and what they thought about it in those days.
After a holiday season like no other and entering a new year full of new unknowns doesn’t it seem that connection feels more urgent and vital than ever. Connections with family, friends and neighbors-Connections with Happy Camp!
The best way we can connect with each other is through the simple act of hearing our stories!. We can share our pleasant memories, and our hopes for the future. Take time to cut through the noise of social media and news, to the truth of what brought happiness to the community of Happy Camp, and how we can build and improve on it for the future
We may have different stories and memories, but maybe we will discover how we’re not so different. There is a FB site, Growing up in Happy Camp,you can enjoy reading many old stories. At this time, after what we survived and are recovering from, we need to hear what happy thoughts you have. Thanks for mentioning what memories you feel should be saved in an anthology on Happy Camp, from earliest Karuk culture to this year, which we will remember, and be glad to see end. Email: klamathneighbors @ yahoo.com or send a note to P. O. Box 375, Happy Camp, CA 96039. Thanks for telling your story!
How was your Christmas? That first Christmas wasn’t like any of us had this year, no doubt none of us were living in a stable. We didn’t have shepherds visit us after hearing angelic proclamations, or even wise men traveling from afar.
This year was different for many families, due to COVID-19. It was different for half the families in Happy Camp that are living in new places, most likely a Recreation vehicle or a trailer. My husband and I were blessed to be able to spend time together celebrating Christ’s birth at home, after I hadn’t been able to visit him in a care facility for about seven weeks!. I think we will be eating delicious leftovers for the next few days thanks to friends who brought us a Christmas Dinner. Such an appreciated kindness!
Many in Happy Camp have worked so diligently to promotes the joy and happiness of our town! Almost afraid to mention same of those with such generous hearts, because with all the loving kindness and thoughtful sharing, I’m sure to miss some.
We have been especially blessed by seeing the Community Christmas tree out in front of the Forest Service District Administration Building. That old tree Looks better than it has for years! It was trimmed up with new lights and a big star to top it all off. The Happy Camp Volunteer Fire Department did the work of getting it all together with help from Home Depot and Mountain Enterprises to help make our evenings merry and bright.
There was the Parade with lighted vehicles of all kinds, then for the tree lighting at the Forest Service Parking lot. Then a drive through with Santa and the kids got a number of treats!
One spot in town wasn’t enough! Driving home one evening around Thanksgiving I enjoyed seeing a bright Candy Land themed display at the Goodwin’s log cabin on Curly Jack Road1 It was great! Lifted spirits right away!
It was so heartening, that a group got together offering a $100 cash prize for the best lit home in Happy Camp. They probably didn’t expect the difficulty that they’d have selecting the winner! Many of those who still have homes got busy and decorated in order to lift the spirits of everyone in Happy Camp. It was amazing to see. Then a list was published and families could drive around and view the lights and make their vote.
The winner of the first place decorated home was Phil Parashis with a home on 700 Jacobs Way. Second place was Barb Snider with a home behind the Sub Stations. We’ve always enjoyed Kathy Tolands decorated home in Indian Meadows at 500 Indian Meadows Drive and it was looking great this year too. The Goodwin home of Doug and Jeanne at 1245 Curly Jack Road came in fourth place and was one of a number of brightly lit Curly Jack homes. Another got the 5th place, Betty Gates at 1418 Curly Jack Road.
Congratulations to those that won and to everyone that participated, we wish there was a prize for all of you.All brightened the view for everyone passing. It looked like everyone had fun decorating. You all did an excellent job lighting up our town. Are you looking forward to doing this again next yea– better even then the past.
The organizers wanted to say, “Thank you so much to the Happy Camp organizations, Connor Cardlock and the Karuk Tribe Housing Authority for your generous donations. You helped make this a exciting and fun event.”
There were businesses, like Kingfisher with lights, and Pizza House with painted windows with reindeers sharing pizza and elves and stockings. The Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce would like to add a prize for the best business decorations. We would like to thank the organizers of the event this year, who wished everyone a, “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, stay safe everyone ??”
We’re Lighting up Happy Camp with Love
It was so delightful to see large white flakes of snow falling from the heavens! Sunday afternoon a young buck strutted through the yard. My camera wasn’t ready to capture the moment, and didn’t run to get it. It was so special, just enjoying it with Silent Night playing in the background!
You may have seen a Facebook picture of a young lady shopping along a sidewalk with cheery lights emanating from the decorated storefront windows. Another sign that Christmas is near!
Robyn Eadie shared, “This just brings to mind; who else loved to walk the sidewalk enjoying Christmas shopping the old fashioned way, before online shopping took over…..?
The three shoppers in the photo must have finished shopping late as there aren’t bustling shoppers all down the sidewalk! Only three, properly “social distancing!”
That painting brings back memories of our family and three girls on a Sunday evening before Christmas. We often went down Nicolet Avenue in Minneapolis looking at Christmas windows. They were all decorated and many animated.
We also took an annual photo with Santa, but usually spent a day after Thanksgiving making the photos for the Christmas card Mom sent out!
Our home in Minneapolis was near enough to hear the roar of the crowds and playing of the big brass bands when the University of Minnesota played football. It was just a short way from the St. Anthony suburb where we frequented more economical shops for our own shopping. My youngest sister Nancy could buy all her family presents for a quarter in the five and dime! No one else quite matched her frugality in Christmas Shopping.
After taking a Retail Sales Class in High School, I worked at Power’s Department Store in downtown Minneapolis. I remember mostly being at the jewelry counter as people came to look at the gems for their loving Christmas gifts.
On occasion, I was able to help in the toy department. It was always in need of much straightening and calling for cleanup when kids spilled their popcorn and juice while pointing out to family what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas.
Some Saturday’s I was able to help the “elves” in the adjacent area as they made red and white candy canes for Santa to hand out to the same kids. The two colors confections, white with the red strip, were rolled out and twisted. The candy maker was so skilled and efficient in producing candy canes! It was a rather sticky effort on my part, but fun too!
The little area of St. Anthony has made national news for a different reason lately. A nurse who came home tired from serving Covid 19 patients on the cold dark December evenings, put up a wreath and a string of lights on her home. A neighbor sent her and several others an anonymous letter chastising them for displaying Christmas lights. The anonymous “Grinch” called it a “systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or can’t afford to put up lights of their own.”
The item was reported by Crime Watch Minneapolis. It really surprised me, as it is purely delightful to me to see Christmas Lights on our neighbors homes!
We haven’t put up a great amount of decorating since the first year that we bought the home, which was the Willis home for decades. In 2003 we put up lights, formed lights into a Christmas tree shape at the front porch and had a “Precious Moments” nativity scene on the front lawn. That was the year that Dan’s cancer was discovered by a CAT scan a few days before Christmas and New Years Day we were in Sacramento, awaiting our first of many appointments at UCDavis. We were there when he had two surgeries in February, and then daily radiation and several chemotherapy until May. He wasn’t expected to recover due to the aggressiveness of the SNUC! Friends from church took down the decorations, as we weren’t home for several months.
At that time, we appreciated so very much the prayers and kind thoughts of so many in the Happy Camp community! Dan is still “with us” but still recovering from another brain surgery, this time for an abscess infection in his brain. Again, we are very grateful for all of your kind thoughts and prayers.
In case there are thoughts that Christmas lights are unwelcome, to us they are pure joy! On a cold dark night, what could be prettier than tree lights at the Happy Camp District Office of the KNF that the Volunteer Fire Fighters lit!We are also having a Lighting Contest with $100 first prize, and other prizes of gift cards and gas cards for those who decorate for all our neighbors to enjoy! Thanks to those who decorate! They bring cheer to those driving by. Whether you celebrate the joys of the secular aspects of the holiday, Hanukkah, or Christmas birthday of the Christ Child, there are those of us grateful that you share celebrating, with the entire community!!
Don’t forget to share a little love with everyone you meet today. Give a bit of kindness, a smile or good word!
Judy E. Bushy
Some of my neighbors have brightened up the dark December nights with absolutely beautiful Christmas decorations. Doug and Jeanne Goodwin had their home all lit already with lights all around the porch, Santa and his sleigh around a little stump-house in the front yard, and I absolutely love the giant gingerbread person!! Gingerbread was a favorite from way back but always put off eating it because it was so cute!!
Right across the road from Godwin’s, Greg was out putting out their Christmas decorations this weekend too! After you cross the Elk Creek Bridge down on Curly Jack Road, those two homes are always the most festive and brighten the evening as Christmas draws closer!!
The news said the other day that more people are looking for real, live Christmas tree’s this year. They may have had artificial trees in the past year, but this year the demand is definitely higher sooner than it has been for real tree’s. I know that many of my neighbors were hoping to find real live, still living trees, that they could plant and help to heal our forest. The awful views of blackened trees in the area’s where the Slater Fire cause such a sad scene!! Planting trees is on everyone’s mind!
There was more decorating on the Tree in front of the U.S Forest Service District office for Happy Camp last week as well. Mountain Enterprises and Home Depot helped out in the decorating the tree. With Covid we won’t be able to gather around the tree, but the Parade will gather at Kingfisher about five o’clock. At 5:30 those watching the parade will be parked along the route to the Forest Service where the Tree will be lit. You can watch that from your car as well. Then there will be a drive through arranged so that Santa can talk to the kids, and have something to give them as well.
Many of our activities that bring warm family remembrances! Remember making popcorn balls and watching a television special of your favorite movie. What is your favorite holiday movie? “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”? “A Christmas Story”? “It’s a Wonderful Life?” “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or another Christmas special?
Perhaps caroling would be allowed with 6’ distances outside. Love singing carols, but need a group to cover my voice! Wouldn’t it be fun to have a hayride caroling like we did years ago!! Perhaps the kids can put on a Nativity pageant (on zoom?) They could probably figure it out better than us oldsters!!
Nothing against baking and decorating Christmas cookies, fruitcake! wE CAN DO all sorts of fun things!
What are you planning to celebrate Jesus’ birthday? Let the month of Joy begin!!
Thanks to the Sakota Family for making a Turkey Dinner!! Thanks Nell and all your helpers!
With so many sad things having come about, fire, disease and difficulties,do you remember how many things we have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving?
There is still so much to be thankful for. Even though the losses and grief have been uppermost, don’t forget that despite the difficulty, you have come through it all. You are on your way to recovery and you are a survivor so you can choose to express gratitude for God’s grace this year
The governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves wrote: “It is fair to say that this last week (with two daughters in quarantine) has been the most difficult of 2020—a year we can all agree has by its very nature been tough on all of us.”
His family’s difficulties, have obviously been painful for him and resulted, he admits, “I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to focus on the challenges. Honestly, I wanted to focus on all of what we are going through these tough times. But when he prayed, he realized, “We are going to persevere. We are going to come out even stronger on the other side… Because God is with us and God is our ‘strength and refuge’ (Psalm 46).”
I am grateful to live in America where even political leaders, and everyday people still have freedom to express their personal faith whatever that may be!
I am very grateful for all the lessons learned this year. All the kindness shown by our Klamath neighbors and community to other’s during the tough times!
Although I wish my husband was able to be home right now, I am so thankful that he is in good hands and the physical therapy will make him stronger and able to return home soon.
We can be grateful to have a roof over our head and food in the cupboard, heater to keep warm. Electricity to have a today’s modern amenities. And even Wifi, for wonderful communications with loved ones; near and far!!.
Saturday there was a lot of action and a brand new star at the top of the tree by the Forest Service offices Parking Lot.
Our Fire Chief, Erik Haskell, says, “Thank you Mountain Enterprise for the help, and basically stringing up the new lights! Also for Home Depot for the great discount on the lights.
Remember Happy Camp this is for you!
Don’t forget the fifth of December for the parade and the lighting of the tree. Please come down decorate your rigs, lawn mowers, anything! Just put some lights on and join in the fun. Hope to see ya all on the fifth, thanks again Sincerely Chief 3300”
It is good to see the Christmas lights go up, as Linda Jo Martin said,
“Despite everything this little community has been going through this year [with Covid and the Slater Fire] the star is still going up on our community Christmas tree today. More lights to follow. God still loves us and the future is bright.”
That’s something for a lot of Thanksgiving!!