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.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Last Mineral King Ranger Program

This weekend is your last chance to enjoy a Ranger-led program.  Enjoy!