Life was simpler then, three miles from the nearest road, on the banks of the north fork, Feather River. Home was a rehabilitated miner’s cabin, inset into the hillside, with a plastic sheet over a roof of found boards. An old Franklin stove, found abandoned along side the river, was a source of heat and the cooking surface.
The bed was made of driftwood and old fire hose found upstream, topped with a down sleeping bag. A driftwood table, driftwood chairs and shelving at the rollup windows rounded out the décor.
Two walls were stone, covered in moss, and two walls were driftwood with large rollup windows. The floor was dirt with a large woven rag rug in the center.
A large pot of beans on the stove and some fish from the river kept the tummy happy. The solitude and oneness with nature kept the soul happy.
The hike in and out was rugged. In places the trail clung to the face of a cliff where one false move could be deadly. In other places you were in a position to be excellent cougar bait. Several times deer were found in the middle of the trail, victims of a large cougar that roamed the area. This discouraged frequent trips out to the van which was a good thing since trips out to the van meant trips to the bar.
Evenings were spent reading books by oil lamp, rolling Bugler cigarettes, watching for the skunk that would come and visit or just sitting outside in the dark listening to the river. At times one’s mind would play tricks and you would think you were hearing voices in the river as it echoed off the cliffs.
Days were spent exploring the hillsides and fishing for the next meal. Music was provided by my guitar. My dog, Pepper, was my constant companion and never complained about our living arrangements.
Once a month, a trip out to town would restock the dry beans and rice as well as a fresh supply of yeast and flour for bread. A chicken, some eggs, a slab of bacon, some fruit and veggies would provide a welcome change of diet for several days. Dried salami and a block of cheddar cheese would keep for at least a week.
Oh to be young and carefree again!