By Vicki Wells Larson
A trip to the River will be one of the optional activities on our BTL weekend, so late Sunday afternoon, Peggy, Richard, and I searched out our favorite Mokelumne River hangout location on Hwy 26, aka Red Corral Rd., found the bridge over North Fork, walked down to the water, looked, and remembered.
You can still see a rope dangling down the side of the rock across the river, and another hanging from a high tree up river.
Is the dam (below right) the one we built (below left)? Those rocks are huge!
Notice the carved steps in the rock? Our spot is now a designated end point for a Class III+ whitewater river run known as the "Tiger Dam Run, Mokelumne River." How cool is that??!!! Bring your kayaks, and let's go!
I remember running to the dorms to put on swimsuits, cramming as many as people possible into whatever cars were available, a hot drive on a long winding road, parking at the bridge, slathering on the Baby Oil (girls only), stretching out on large granite slabs to "catch some rays", sometimes with a paperback book, jumping off rocks into the deep clear river, and splashing in the water to cool off on a scorching hot summer afternoon. The most courageous (or crazy) among us climbed behind the very high rock wall, up into a tree, and dove into the deep pool, while those watching screamed and waved.
Then and Now, I love this place!
By Julie Leigh Domeny
There is no doubt everyone remembers the ice cream shops of our youth; Fenton’s, Edy’s before it became Dreyer’s. The Sweet Shop! And then, during our Lodestar summers, there was also The Jug and Rose ice cream shop in Volcano, CA.
It is easy to recall those hot, dusty Camp Lodestar days of toil. Which will you chose; the river or the pool? And, as the sun settles into the trees and the chores done… time to...head to Volcano to indulge your sweet tooth and cool off inside the semi-climate controlled environments in semi-civilization. It was an ice cream shop, for goodness sakes. We anticipated there had to be some level of coolness there!
The Jug & Rose Cafe was built from the ruins of a stone building originally located in Upper Rancheria, one of the gold camps of long ago. At some point after it was an ice cream shop, the Jug and Rose operated in Volcano as a bakery serving a breakfast and lunch menu until as recently as 2012. Although it received five stars on Yelp, sadly, it is no longer in business.
Today, there is a 7.7 mile Jug and Rose Run foot race and walk to benefit the local high school drama department (yeah). This year’s on September 2nd will be the 44th Amador High School Performing Arts’ annual event. So let’s do some math. The inaugural race was held in 1973.
By Peggy O'Connell
All this Lodestar ‘remembering’ must have unleashed a treasure-trove of memories. For, I recently had a crazy, nonsensical dream. You know – one of those silly ones that you awaken from only to remember the last scene; and this scene left me laughing out loud. And still does when I think about it.
And, you Lodestar campers were the stars! The dream ended on movie night. We were in the Lodestar Lodge, the projector was running – an old reel one – and the last of reel was running, numbers flashing by, as the light came on. Back in our former camper days, as the lights came on, our eyes would readjust to the light, couples clinched hands would drop apart, heads and shoulders would separate, and we would jump up to head to our respective dorms.
Fast-forward 50 years, and in my dream, it was movie night again, the end of the reel was flashing, and the lights came on. This time, hands didn’t separate, head and shoulders stayed together, and no one jumped up. Instead, all you former Lodestar campers were slumped in your seats, head and shoulders holding each other up, soft snoring sounds could be heard, and not one set of eyes needed to readjust to the light.
Will this dream come true?
Come Back to Lodestar to refresh, renew and rejuvenated those eyes!
Come Back to Lodestar to see if you can stay awake for the whole movie, or not.
Come Back to Lodestar; and who knows, maybe just go for a moonlit walk sealed with a …
Lodestar Kitchens ‘heretofore’… By Julie Leigh Domeny
The MiWuk Original Nation went through so much to survive. Not only did they have to catch, hunt, or gather their food, they also had to prepare, preserve, and store it.
Then, the old kitchen crew is ‘ready to serve’ in the good ‘ole days of Lodestar. Peggy and Buzz are preparing a campfire meal at Silver Lake.
And finally, we have the beautifully rebuilt professional kitchen which will produce our meals in October.
LODESTAR: a NOUN
‘the book he read was his intellectual lodestar’
‘she was his intellectual lodestar’
Origin: Middle English: from lode in the obsolete sense ‘way, course’ + star.
I was poking around search sites trying to find any information on how the old Camp Lodestar Lodge burned down and when for a blog on the old, new, and historic kitchens of Lodestar. And while finding nothing, I kept coming upon articles referencing 'Shakespeare' popping up in my ‘Lodestar’ searches.
I followed the link to find, interestingly, The Complete Shakespeare Concordance is an electronic reproduction of a library book that was digitized by Google as part of an ongoing effort to preserve the written word so as to make information accessible, worldwide. Apparently, the 832-page concordance shows that Shakespeare’s works is one of the first times we find the word ‘lodestar’ used in the old English style. Maybe you already knew this, but page 452 documents that William Shakespeare used the word ‘lodestar’ to describe 'lodging', a ‘bed’, or ‘state of bedding down’, and also 'lode-star' as 'the leading-star, pole-star' in lyrical prose.
Please forgive my own ignorance, for I had no idea! The name 'Camp Lodestar' is so perfect for this place... a place which provokes the gift of our own, individually unique, 'lodestars'. A place to empower your heart and soul. A place which brings you closer to the things that matter in the midst of other distractions.
Myself, with more experience in musical theater, have found that Shakespeare has to grow on you – as it did on me, when I was fortunate enough to be immersed in its mysterious, intriguing ways as costume/props/set piece designer alongside Producer/Director Robert Kelly of Theaterworks (Palo Alto) to produce two shows. They were for one of the very first Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals in 1995. We did ‘Two Gents of Verona’ and ‘A Midsummers’ Night’s Dream’. Dear Lord, what fun… they were also the last productions I worked on before I started fundraising. I was on my feet 24-7 hours a day in those days - pounding the pavement and stage floorboards.... No wonder they are now riddled with arthritis! (hand flip) ... And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(lodge fire update: Jeff (camp manager) only knows the new lodge which replaced the burned lodge is approximately 20 years old)
Link to Shakes' Concordance:https://books.googleusercontent.com/books/content?req=AKW5Qad1kaG-SzZiEtZOCD1eSFKxDpdN-1SMY9Nb9ebrZG1LhAFKK57RX02BKKQojbOWwjdu655WR5c1J4syvLH0wa5cHjDv5_PSgEDbJwDRF1i_l12JvJR4fbJn1X-t91pmkRgFrcQ0ELAY7PmVJ3NSZY-YPoM7jW4BlPq4yp-5IQCZnUWV3xp_qMKUr373bKcleXnUNXUxJixq_8g-h62nlHbFj8a4yMHUEBgK7JHIeIt_JP5eaydtw_WNK4oFNpUbo0EZOgKuGBAjuFqrXqn7paEa57EiQb7rY2snarW4_pfnZPGYTII
Early Italian pioneers frequently built stone ovens for baking bread. This oven was originally located on the old Ratto family homestead near Calaveritas. It was dismantled in 1995 under the supervision of an archaeologist. The stones were labeled as to their position in the intact oven, and then carefully transported to the Calaveras County Historical Museum in San Andreas and reassembled.
Today, the Calaveras County Historical Society fires up the oven to bake bread, spareribs, and pizza for special events.
By Julie Leigh Domeny
Inspired by Lynne's track recognition at our planning meeting last February, I found the poster above, which I decided I wanted to share on the Lodestar blog page. But, I would be remiss to not find a few things to say. So, I decided I would research what critters and creatures we might see in October at 2,500-2,750’ in Calaveras County. After a little investigation, I discovered the CA Department of Fish and Game, California Wildlife Habitat Relationships (CWHR) Program website catalogs an amazing breakdown of mammal, reptile, birds, and amphibian research.
I found we can look for the tracks of American crows, rattlesnakes, raptors (owls, hawks, eagles, osprey, and falcons), badgers, foxes, mule deer, skunk, weasel, porcupine, and raccoon; ringtail, coyote, black bear, and mountain lion. But, we can also look for the tracks of a mountain beaver by the river, or even a rare American Mink. We might see the tracks of Bobcats – much smaller than mountain lions, which thrive in mid-elevation habitats of conifer, oak, riparian, juniper forests, and all stages of chaparral. We might even be so fortunate as to see the tracks of a rare Red Fox.
We'll probably find tracks of a Least Chipmunk, the most common chipmunk in North America. Now, we hope these chipmunks don’t run into an American Badger, because they eat chipmunks, rats, mice, and especially ground squirrels and pocket gophers. Then, we have the rabbit-like American Pika, the Snowshoe Hare, the rare White-Tailed Jackrabbit, and the Black-tailed Jackrabbit. There’s the Douglas’ Squirrel, the Western Gray Squirrel, and the Fox Squirrel. And, not to be forgotten, are the Striped Skunk and the Western Spotted Skunk.
The most common tracks of all will be all versions of rats and mice - most likely we'll see tracks of the Deer Mouse - common throughout California in virtually all habitats as the most ubiquitous mammal in California and North America. Less common are Hermann's Kangaroo Rats, which have legs looking much like a kangaroo’s. Then there’s the Bushy-tailed Woodrat, the Dusky-Footed Woodrat, and the Big-eared Woodrat abundant in chaparral and forest habitats.
Bats don’t make tracks, obviously, but we might see some on our night walk. The Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat, Silver-Haired Bat, Townsend's Big-Eared Bat, Small-Footed Myotis, Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat- California Myotis, Canyon Bat, Long-Eared Myotis, Long-Legged Myotis, the Yuma Myotis, and the Hoary Bat, the most common in North America – all surviving on insects.
Finally, according to my research, and they don’t sound all that exciting, we could see voles, moles, weasels, ermine, marmot, or shrews.
Saying it out loud, or even thinking it quietly, the name Lodestar conjures up powerful memories and reflections. And meaning.