Happy Camp Is Like A Fish Bowl

A View From My Hill

Wild flowers at Wingate River Access

Happy Camp Is Like A Fish Bowl

By Linda Martin

Happy Camp is a small town and there’s no bad side of town. Every side is just about like any other. And this causes some people discomfort.

You see, if you’re used to being able to live on the good side of town in a larger community, it is a step down to come to a place like Happy Camp where we’re all together – the good, the imperfect, and whoever comes to live with us.

We’re deep inside the Klamath National Forest – a group of less than 1500 souls. Some were born here. Some have had family here for many centuries and others for more than one century. But many of us have no idea where our ancestors came from. We were born in this country which is not our ancestors’ native land, and we struggle to find a place we can call home. We’ve been drawn to this remote mountain community either by the hand of fate or the will of God, where we learn that Happy Campers are all like one big extended family. We’re together here, deep in the most remote part of the forest, trying to make the best of it.

So if you’re reading this website thinking you might want to move here as many have done before you, consider this. In Happy Camp we’re not just talking about the unity of mankind. We’re living it. There are no bad people here, but there are plenty of imperfect ones and if we’re going to be honest we’ll admit that everyone is imperfect. There are those who let it show and those who try to hide their imperfections, but in general we’re all pretty much alike.

Though there are no bad people here, there are bad drugs that cause some of our citizens to act in ways others consider to be irresponsible and immature. And in a larger town most of those people would be living on ‘the other side of town’ – forced by economic necessity to rent places that we can not see or be bothered by because we never go there.

Well in Happy Camp, we don’t have that type of luxury. There’s no bad neighborhood. All neighborhoods are pretty much alike with both good and troubled people in them. And though we may complain about our neighbors, they are still like our cousins, brothers and sisters, and they’re probably not going away any time soon. So like any big family there are sometimes petty arguments, then we usually get over them because that’s what people in families do.

So if you’re used to luxury living, it is possible Happy Camp isn’t the place for you. True, you could buy a home outside of town and only drive into town to get your mail and groceries, but then you’d miss the true beauty of Happy Camp. By true beauty I mean the friendships and comaraderie you find by associating with all classes of people here. Yet this apparently is not for everyone.

As editor of this news site I have met people who learned about the town from this site and came here to buy property. Please consider this your warning. Though Happy Camp is a beautiful and isolated community in the middle of a gorgeous national forest, we’re not all upscale and if you find that bothersome, you may want to look for other lodging.

However if you love humanity, care about people, and want to join together with all classes to help and find new kinds of friends, this is a great fishbowl to be in.


Linda Martin is the editor and publisher of Happy Camp News. She writes novels in her spare time. Her writing website is at http://www.lindajomartin.com.

Is This Freedom?

by Linda Martin

Can we have freedom while standing on territory safeguarded by killing of innocents? Aren’t we losing a part of ourselves, when we allow innocent people to be victims of our warring governments? I feel so sad whenever I hear about people suffering because of the war. Just like in World War 2 when thousands of innocent Japanese civilians were killed by US bombs, I am distressed to know that children have died in Afghanistan during this conflict. Even hearing that the ten year old son of one of the Taliban leaders was killed distressed me. I don’t care who his father was – I do not want children to be cut down before they even get a chance to live. I have a young son about that age! I guess I lost my enthusiasm for this fighting at about the time the wrongful killings began.

I was reading an article in the SF Examiner yesterday about children – about 450 of them – in an orphanage in Kabul, Afghanistan. Most of the children had at least one parent, but that parent didn’t feel able to feed their child. So – there was a picture of little boys with smiling faces, eating plain rice for dinner. Is that all? Just rice? It was the only thing on their plates. It seems like the USA, land of prosperity, could do something to help those poor children return to their families with food in hand. How tragic for the people there, to be so destitute that they think their child will eat better in an institution.

What kind of freedom is this? I will never be free of the memory of these starving and dead children.


by Linda Martin

This was written for the April meeting of the Klamath River Writers. We were to bring something we had written about renewal.

“I don’t have time for renewal,” I told myself a million times in the last month. Nonetheless, springtime happened all around me. Flowers appeared and the buds of new fruit showed up on Manzanita and plum trees alike. The meadow outside my window turned green and eventually I took myself outside into all that beauty and found a comfortable spot for morning journal writing.

“No time for renewal,” I continued to protest, and yet my life was changing, reworking itself, morphing into something unlike anything I’d done before. I was swept up by the tide of my friends’ and neighbors’ enthusiasm and enrolled in a business class, then an EMT class — then… online… an Artists Way group, design group, and so much more.

My email program crashed this last week, ending my access to the last year of stored email, and though this seemed at the moment to be a disaster, in reality it was a blessing — I was forced to let go of the past and at the same time felt the joy of being released from it. An added bonus — my computer now runs better.

This email release started me over with a fresh, clean, new program, just like all good renewal does. Finally I went outside to the meadow, ready to write about renewal, and at that moment, the spring rain began to fall.

Good news versus bad news

by Linda Martin

Happy Independence Day! It seems like a good time to introduce this new page to our website. Our country is 225 years old – not a long time, but enough time to really muck the government up a bit. Still, the foundation is solid, so hopefully things will get better in the future rather than continuing to deteriorate.

I know we at the new Happy Camp News should be reporting all the news, both good and bad, however since this is a new venture, I don’t want to tackle the controversial topics too soon. Part of me would like the whole world to think that Happy Camp has no problems. It is one of the most remote towns in California, a village of 1100 deep in the Klamath National Forest. We live seventy miles from the nearest California city, which is only about 7,000 people. To the north, we’re forty miles from a small town in Oregon.

I would like to think that people can go to a remote town in the forest and live a crime-free existence, with only good things happening. But reality is that even here, there are problems every now and then. Why, back in the seventies, there was even a bank robbery according to an old news article I read at the Siskiyou Historical Society Museum in Yreka. I can just imagine the robbers trying to make a “get-away” on the Klamath River Highway! How far did they get, anyway?

My plan for this online news service is to report on the good news to begin with. There’s plenty of that going on here, especially with all the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the founding of Happy Camp. Later, once I’m used to news writing again, I’ll probably feel motivated to report bad news too. Let’s just hope that this summer there won’t be anything “too” bad, that can’t be ignored.

My main news writing experience comes from working for a Libertarian newspaper in the Central Valley ten years ago. I have never been a member of a political party, so I’m not planning to feature any one political ideology over another, but I liked the newspaper’s philosophy of printing all the news, including news that the major dailies are afraid to print. Naturally here, I’m not selling advertising as the print newspapers must do, so I won’t be constrained by worries about losing my major advertising income if I say the wrong thing. Also there’s no corporate interests owning this news service, dictating what I can or cannot print. I like that.  [Happy Camp News started as a public service venture.]

I have my issues I would like to write about, but am holding off, in large part because I know they are not your issues. I would like for the website to reflect the many opinions of the people in this forest, and hope some of you will feel motivated to write something for your neighbors to read here.