Sunday, November 11, 2018

Dale Jones (1944-2018), Silver City Resident

From Forrest Jones:

Dale Gordon Jones – passed peacefully on Friday night.

Born in 1944, he was known for his engineering work, and dynamic projects.  To each, we will remember him differently.

I remember:  snow on the ground, sitting on plywood, rowing a 5 ton come-along as we moved the garage that was built in 1989. We were able to pull it slightly when we hooked 3 trucks to it, but it was too awkward.  We burnt out 3 electric winches on the truck, but driven as he was, with a sharp mind… he saw the completion and we rowed.

I remember:  watching as his vision of a bridge truss threw him into a rock twelve feet away.  He didn’t let that stop him, even though a full pallet short of concrete, he lead Mike Groves and Rudy Witschie and they carried a full pallet of Portland concrete mix up to avalanche creek to build the platform for the hydro tank. He pushed to finish the decking, mount the new hydro unit, and even today it still runs.

After his years working on removing NO2 from coal-fired power plants, he worked on commercial patents on consumer items. Today, 18 patents are attributed to him.

The list of projects, ideas, and incredible solutions continues. Remember history, grow from the thoughts, and move with that knowledge to the future.

Silver City and Mineral King were often mentioned as his “spiritual home”, and after his bouts with cancer, and the radiation he had to have on his brain, I know he missed what we get to experience every year. The friendships, the challenges, and the location give us the most unique community of friends and vibrant life experience.

Arrangements will be made for a get together in the future.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trip Report, October 30

From Jana Botkin:

Today Michael and I drove to the Conifer Gate so Michael could replace the worn out padlocks. (Combo will be the same as last year). 

The first photo is the Eden Creek fire. We talked to John Ziglar, a chief in the fire world of the Park (I dubbed him Chief Smoky Feather) who said they want it to burn about 200 acres to thin an area that has never been burned in the time records have been kept, but they are watching it to make sure it doesn’t move toward Case Mountain (west). 

Next photo, some of the black oaks are quite beautiful in the Conifer elevation.

Michael also replaced the lock on the lower gate with a new one, same combo again. Our lock is recognizable by the red tape.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

End of Season

At this time, the water to West Mineral King, Cold Spring campground, and the Ranger Station has been drained and shut off for the winter.  Both Mineral King road gates will be closed and locked on Wednesday, October 31.  Please remember that the locks aren't there to inconvenience you!  They help ensure the security of our cabins and Park property, as well as for the safety of the public. It your responsibility to securely lock each gate behind you if you drive up the road to access your cabin.  Thank you for your help.

I had a cabin owner ask about homeowners insurance for his cabin to cover liability, theft or vandalism, and fire or damage.  He is having a hard time finding a company to write a policy.  I was told Nationwide issues homeowners policies for cabins but with an endorsement excluding fire.  Other companies may be willing to do the same.  Lloyd's of London (and perhaps another company) will issue fire policies, but for premiums of $3,000 - $4,000 per year!. Unfortunately, the massive fires throughout California have spooked all of the carriers, and that is not likely to change any time soon.  But if anyone knows of an insurance carrier whom they can recommend, please let me know and I will pass along that information.

Thank you, and here's to a good, long snowfall this winter!


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wintery Trip Report

Our photographer friend, Steven, sent me this trip report from last weekend, and included photos of their snowy time at the Mosquito Lakes. Click on the link below and enjoy!

"We wanted to go up to Mineral King in the summer, but it didn’t work out.

"Then this Friday evening, spur of the moment, we went up to Cold Springs (very foggy drive) then to Mosquito Lakes for a night. So much for 20% chance of snow, it stormed for three hours, with an amazing lightning show and about 6” of snow.

"Then Sunday the sun came out and it became a sparkling fresh day."

Click here to see his photos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Cabin Thoughts

Cabin Thoughts, Part 3
by Jana Botkin (

Mineral King cabin folks come from cities, suburbs, small towns and out in the country; we live in mansions, estates, apartments, and even a few normal houses. We are artists, bankers, equipment operators, janitors, teachers, farmers, administrative assistants, engineers, retirees, dental hygienists, sheriffs, lawyers, doctors, day care workers, musicians, optometrists, veterinary assistants, physical therapists, moms, Park employees, physician's assistants, and those are just the first ones that come to mind. We come from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, New York, Hawaii, Florida, South Dakota, and Egypt. (Probably more places that I can't remember. . .)

Our Mineral King cabins, AKA "small, poorly constructed huts in the woods," are great equalizers.  Every one of us, regardless of our backgrounds, livelihoods, economic, educational or political status, is thrilled to have a small, poorly constructed hut in the woods. Every cabin has a barely adequate kitchen, a laughably tiny (or no) bathroom, maybe one or two or even no bedrooms. Every single cabin user must figure out how to deal with unreliable water, peculiar propane appliances, old stuff that may or may not work, and the definite lack of a maintenance department, hardware or grocery store. There is a terrible road to get there, rodents, spiders and other wildlife that may or may not be appreciated, and all sorts of unexpected situations. (Who left this chair and what happened to my flashlight?? Who forgot the tonic water? Does anyone have any birthday candles? What do you mean Skin-So-Soft isn't mosquito repellent? Are you kidding that I can't blow-dry my hair?)

Every single cabin that is owned by multiple families has its conflicts, whether decorating, cleaning, maintaining, or scheduling. The cabins without partnerships must bear the expenses, decisions, maintenance and cleaning without benefit of sharing the load.  Those who have complicated lives in fancy places might view a cabin as a mixed blessing: a family tradition, a repository of memories, and a bit of an inconvenience, but a treasured shabby shack in the mountains.  Those who have simpler lives in simpler places might also view a cabin as a mixed blessing: a family tradition, a repository of memories, and a huge treat, a treasured place of one's own in the mountains.

In my 32 years of cabin ownership, I've observed cabin folks' conversation topics go from "How can we save these cabins?" to "How have you been?" We have fought together, helped one another, hiked together, learned one another's family trees, and through it all we have built friendships weekend upon weekend, year after year after decade after decade. And I am just a newcomer. . .

A small, poorly-constructed, primitive, one-story hut in the woods where everyday life is distant and we gather to laugh with family and play board games while a fire keeps us warm. (If you have a giant log mansion on a lake somewhere, then you will have to edit this description to fit your idea of what constitutes "cabin.")

About the Author:
Jana Botkin is a full-time artist and resident of both Mineral King and Three Rivers.  She is currently working on a new book, “Mineral King Wildflowers: Common Names.” Subscribe to her blog and newsletter at for updates.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Another MIneral King Pioneer Lost

James N. Parks
1932 - 2018
James Norman Parks (WMK Cabin #6) passed away peacefully, Sept 4th in Visalia, CA. surrounded by his Family.
Jim was born, Sept 28th, 1932 in Long Beach, CA. to James L and Virginia K. Parks. The family moved to Visalia, CA. in 1936.
Jim Graduated from Visalia High in 1950, College of the Sequoias in 1952 and Humboldt State University in 1955. He earned his master's degree from Fresno State University in 1960.
While attending Humboldt State Jim met the love of his life, Suzanne K. Watkins. They were married in Eureka, CA. the following year. Together they had 3 children, Terri, Suzie and Jimmy.
Jim started teaching in 1955 and for the next 40+ years had a positive influence on countless young students and teachers that he had the privilege to either, teach or serve as principal for.
Jim and Sue spent most of their lives in Hanford CA. where they raised their 3 children. After retirement in 2004 they relocated to Los Osos. After Sue's passing in 2014 Jim continued to call Los Osos home until moving back to Visalia in 2018 to be closer to his family.
Throughout his life Jim's contagious smile, gift for telling stories about his adventures and hobbies had a significant positive impact on others' lives. Jim loved his Family, traveling, outdoor activities and antiques.
Jim is survived by his 3 children, Terri Fishbough (Bill), Suzie Azevedo (Mike) and Jim Parks (Marcy). He is also survived by his Sister, Virginia Hopper (of Silver City), 15 Grandchildren, 22 Great Grandchildren and numerous Cousins, Nieces and Nephews.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held Sat. Sept 29th at noon in Hanford, CA. at the Sierra Pacific High School cafeteria, 1259 13th Avenue Hanford, CA. 93230
In lieu of flowers a donation in Jim's name can be made to the Mineral King Preservation society (P.O. Box 286 Exeter, CA. 93221). A place very near and dear to his heart.
He will be missed dearly.
Published in Tulare Advance-Register & Visalia Times-Delta on Sept. 15, 2018

Friday, September 7, 2018

Cabin Sketches Available

Jana Botkin is "cleaning house" and is offering to sell the leftover drawings she did for the 1998 book, "The Cabins of Mineral King."  Please take a look and see if there is anything that interests you, and contact her directly.  Photos of these drawings are on her blog, in two parts.

Also, as a reminder, the scheduled date to turn off and drain the WMK water system is Wednesday, October 10.  Road gates are scheduled to be locked on Wednesday, October 31.  Subject to weather, of course.