In the News - Friday,
april 30, 2004
This week’s unseasonable daytime temperatures in
the 90s caused some early-morning tumultuous water flow in the main fork
of the Kaweah River. For residents living on or near the Middle Fork,
the roaring river can be deafening, especially between the hours 2 a.m.
and 5 a.m.
The precise time of the nightly meltdown is dependent
on how far all that snowmelt must travel. This past week, the snow was
melting at elevations above 9,000 feet.
From the higher elevations of the Kaweah drainage,
it can take melting snow more than eight hours to reach Three Rivers.
Pre-dawn readings at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ gauges behind
the Chevron station recorded flows in excess of 1,500 cubic feet per second
Whitewater-rafting companies were caught off-guard
by the earlier than usual melt, but hope to extend the current season
at least through May. Last Sunday, to celebrate the excellent rafting
and kayaking opportunities of the season, Kaweah White Water Adventures
launched the Kaweah Whitewater Challenge.
Three rafts, escorted by a fleet of kayaks, paddled
some of the Kaweah River’s best-known rapids from the Gateway Restaurant
near the Sequoia Park entrance to Slicky, across from Three Rivers School.
The Cabin’s entry finished first, Petit Pinson’s Wild Women
raft ran a close second, and The Gateway's vessel followed in third place.
“We hope this race will become an annual tradition like the old
tube races,” said Frank Root, local guide and race organizer.
All that water under Three Rivers bridges means that
the Lake Kaweah basin is beginning to fill. On Wednesday, April 28, the
mean inflow at Lake Kaweah was measured at 1,117 cfs (cubic feet per second),
the highest to date of the current season.
Though much of the visible snow in the nearby mountains
appears to be diminishing rapidly, there is plenty of high-country snow
that still has to melt.
“I doubt whether we have seen the peak flows yet,” said Phil
Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah’s park manager. “The current elevation
is at 669 feet [above sea level] so we still have to go to 694 to reach
the old spillway level.”
At that level, Horse Creek Campground and the second boat
ramp will be out of commission, Deffenbaugh said.
“Our biggest challenge will be Memorial Day weekend when we must
face the busiest part of the season with pre-1995 facilities,” Deffenbaugh
said. “The only boat ramp in service will be at Kaweah Marina.”
Deffenbaugh said that Three Rivers residents and all
motorists should be very careful when approaching the marina.
“We will probably have vehicles parking on both sides of Highway
198 in the vicinity of the marina and pedestrians trying to dart across,”
Deffenbaugh said. “Prior to the busy weekend, Caltrans and the California
Highway Patrol will advise as to how the extra parking will be permitted.”
Deffenbaugh said, in general, everything happening
this season at Lake Kaweah is running as expected. On Tuesday and Wednesday,
CDF firefighters will be conducting training exercises near the newly
acquired houses below the new take-line at the lake’s inlet.
An official dedication of the new fuse gates at Terminus
Dam will be held Monday, June 7. More details of the event will be made
public as they become available, Deffenbaugh said.
have next go-round with County
On Wednesday, April 28, on the heels of the biggest Team Roping
in the 54-year history of the local event, the Three Rivers Lions Club
had another hearing before the Tulare County Planning Commission.
At stake is an application for a special-use permit deemed
necessary by county planners if the club wants to continue to stage fundraisers
and other community events at Lions Arena.
The purpose of Wednesday's proceedings was to address concerns
by neighbors of the arena who claim that events like Jazzaffair and the
Team Roping generate noise, offensive lighting, and parking problems.
No persons among the dozens who attended the Visalia meeting spoke against
the Lions being able to hold such events in the future.
“I think we made progress [today] and were able to present more information
about the easements and some of the plans for the property,” said Cal
Johnson, who is acting as Lions liaison with the county.
The Lions “rodeo ground,” as described in the application, is a
5.78-acre parcel. For larger events that include overnight camping, the
Lions have a cooperative agreement to use the adjacent site of the former
Three Rivers Airport, now a part of Sierra View Catfish Farm, owned by
Tom Chess of South Pasadena.
Johnson said it was obvious from the number of persons who attended
the hearing that the Lions have plenty of support for their application.
Ed Dias, a planning commissioner, attended last weekend's Roping at Three
Rivers and said he was impressed at how the event was managed.
Dias also said he didn't feel that the noise of the announcer or
the crowd was excessive. Cal Johnson requested that Lions be permitted
to stage a minimum of five or six “amplified” events annually.
The Planning Commission will now consider new information from
The Lions application will next be on the agenda of the commission's
Wednesday, May 12, meeting, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the Tulare County
Resource Management Agency building across from Mooney Grove Park in Visalia.
Inquiries may be directed to Beverly Cates, county planner, 733-6291.
Calendars on sale
been a major fundraiser for the seventh-grade class at Three Rivers School
and a community fixture for 35 years. They list birthdays, anniversaries,
and other important dates for everyone in the community, but the only
way to get listed is by ordering one.
Community Calendar orders will be taken throughout
May. All proceeds go to the class’s San Francisco graduation trip
Watch for students selling the calendars door-to-door and at the Redbud
Festival. They will also take orders at Village Market on various dates,
and orders may be placed at the TRUS office anytime during normal business
A calendar may be purchased for $7, which includes
four free listings of the buyer’s choice. Additional listings may
be purchased for 50¢ each.
Each calendar is graced with a color photograph of
the current seventh-grade class, surrounded by advertisements by local
businesses. A local business or individual also sponsors the photo each
year and, in doing so, has their name listed beneath the photo.
Currently, a local business, group, or individual is
needed to sponsor this year’s class photo. The cost to sponsor the
photo, which covers processing and developing, is $150.
The calendars will be delivered in late August and
cover the 12-month period based on the current school year, September
2004 through August 2005.
For information, to place an order, or to sponsor the
class photo, call Heidi Crouch, 561-3363, or email her at email@example.com.
1906 ~ 2004
Norma Doris May Lovering Hardison, 97, of Three
Rivers died Friday, April 23, 2004. A service will be held Saturday, May
1, at 5 p.m., at the Church at Kaweah on North Fork Drive.
Norma was born June 30, 1906, in Anaheim to Nell Weaver Lovering
and Bob Lovering. When she was 2½ years old, the family traveled
by wagon to relocate to the South Fork area of Three Rivers.
Norma attended the old Three Rivers School (located at the
present-day intersection of Old Three Rivers and Blossom drives in the
building that is now the McCoy home). She graduated from Fullerton High
School, which is where she met her future husband, Arthur “Sonny”
A. Hardison. They were married Dec. 1, 1926.
Throughout her lifetime, Norma resided in Sonora, Mexico;
Houston, Texas; El Dorado, Ark.; Grover Beach; and Southern California.
Norma was preceded in death in 1982 by her husband of 56
years, Sonny and, in 1984, by her grandson Earl McKee III.
Norma is survived by her son, Roy Hardison, and wife Frances;
daughter Gaynor McKee and husband Earl of Three Rivers; five grandchildren;
nine great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; and nephew Martin
Lovering of Three Rivers.
1929 ~ 2004
Eleanor Jeanette Stewart of Three Rivers died Tuesday, April 20, 2004,
at Kaweah Delta Hospital. She was 74.
Eleanor was born May 26, 1929, in San Diego to Oscar and
Lulu King. She resided in Southern California until moving to Three Rivers
in 2002 to be near her daughter.
Eleanor is survived by her three daughters, Nancy Schneider
of Arkansas, Betsy Goldman or Corpus Christi, Texas, and Suzie Nichols
of Three Rivers; one son, Darby Alben of San Bernardino; two brothers,
Franklin and William King, both of Washington; 10 grandchildren; and six
Online condolences may be sent via www.smithfamilychapel.com.
1923 ~ 2004
Billie Dale Bates of Three Rivers died Wednesday, April 21, 2004. He was
A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 1, at 2 p.m.,
at Church at Kaweah on North Fork Drive. The private family graveside
service was at the Church at Kaweah cemetery.
Dale was born in New Mexico on May 10, 1923. He moved to
California in 1966.
Dale is survived by his wife of 55 years, Evelyn; two sons,
Bill and Jack; and four grandchildren, Matthew, Eric, Kristin, and Kyle.
Condolences may be sent via www.smithfamily-chapel.com.
by Sarah Elliott
This is the
sixth installment in a continuing series about a family backpacking trip
in the Sierra during July 2003. Previous installments may be read at
DUE NORTH: Mineral King to Kings Canyon.
— DAY FOUR —
In the meantime, however, having finished our hardtack and raisins,
we poured about two spoonfuls of whiskey over a cupful of snow and solemnly
christened this place Elizabeth Pass, after Billy. —THE
July 22, 3.5 miles— We lounged in our tents and watched
the sunlight illuminate Castle Rocks, then creep up the Kaweah’s
Middle Fork canyon toward the granite bench where we had made camp. As
the sun finally rose over 11,400-foot Elizabeth Pass and its warmth washed
over us, we were reminded of our purpose for the day — to head up
and over this saddle along the Kings-Kaweah Divide.
The rain that occurred the night before was a distant
memory. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the exposed granite
ridge on which we had made our camp was barely damp as we set about preparing
breakfast and packing.
My motivation for exploring the Elizabeth Pass area
was a favorite book of mine that I have, so far, read several times. Published
in 1906, The Pass was written by Stewart Edward White about a summer-long
Sierra expedition he took with his wife, Billy (Elizabeth); friend Wes;
and their mounts, pack-stock, and two dogs.
The eventual goal of their excursion was to find a route from north to
south, from the Kings River canyon to the Kaweah canyon, over a ridge
today known as the Kings-Kaweah Divide.
Somehow the names fascinated me — Roaring
River, forking into Cloudy and Deadman’s Cañons, beneath
Table and Milestone Mountains of the Great Western Divide. It is a region
practically unvisited… —THE PASS
The book details the exploration from north to south;
we were now in Stewart Edward White country, but traveling south to north.
No matter; we still imagined what life must have been like during that
first journey over Elizabeth Pass 100 years before.
At 9:30 a.m., we began our 1,000-foot climb toward
Elizabeth Pass while I told Stewart Edward White stories. This invoked
the pioneer spirit in our son who decided to forgo the tedious switchbacks
on the final ascent and instead took off cross-country through the talus
on what we dubbed “the Stewart Edward White route.”
We slid down a rather steep and stony ridge at
right angles to the main system, turned sharp to the left across its shoulder,
and so gained a shallow ravine. All this was over shale, stones, and angular
rocks the size of your head, not to speak of half sunken ledges, down
which the horses had to slide or jump. But for all that, the going, as
granite country runs, was neither dangerous nor too difficult…
In 45 minutes, we gained the top of the pass,
which is also the boundary of Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks. Passes and
peaks are special places and, as has become the custom in our family,
there’s always a surprise treat in a pack that is reserved for such
We hiked up the east ridge a ways and found a granite boulder on which
to sit. As we were taking in the view and munching on our sweet treat,
we viewed the surroundings.
Moose Lake was the most talked about feature, mainly
because we had been waiting to see it. The lake is due west of Elizabeth
Pass and is the largest lake in the region, although accessible only via
cross-country routes beginning at the terminus of the Alta Trail from
the south or the Lakes Trail to the north.
As we were savoring each and every distinct Jelly Belly
flavor, our son spotted something out of place near the trail on the pass.
He went to examine it and found it to be a metal box that contained weather-worn
papers that were the trail register.
We cached a screw-top can in the monument. It contained
a brief statement of names and dates, named the pass, and claimed for
Billy the honor of being the first woman to traverse it.
It was disappointing but not surprising that we weren’t
in possession of the Whites’ “screw-top can,” but we
did each sign in on a piece of notebook paper. We carry paper and an extra
pen for such occasions and restocked the trail register with both.
In reading the entries contained within this metal
box, it is always revealing to learn how many people are totally out of
their element in the backcountry. The complaints were many — mosquitoes,
cold, rain, snow, wind, lack of food, sore muscles, sunburn, and sheer
exhaustion. Weather, the one thing that can’t be controlled, was
the number one gripe.
Here we were — healthy and strong, happy and
together — sitting atop this historic pass and looking down on some
of the most beautiful country on Earth in front of us and behind us and,
try as we might, we couldn’t think of anything about which we would
possibly want to complain. Sure, we had experienced thunderstorms for
two out of the three nights thus far on our trip and the sky was once
again looking ominous, but we couldn’t be happier.
And, thus, we shrugged into our backpacks and started
our downward leg of the day’s journey. Although less steep on the
north side of Elizabeth Pass, the terrain takes some serious concentration
so as not to twist an ankle.
After negotiating a snowbank immediately below the
pass, we embarked on dozens of switchbacks that would take us 1,000 feet
down on a trail literally blasted out of solid rock. It was the residual
pieces of this blasting that created the trail’s surface.
Stewart Edward White and party did not have the luxury
of a trail crew to forge the way for them, but they did have miners. Looking
east along the ridge beyond Elizabeth Pass where granite meets red metamorphic
rock were the distinctive tailings of an old copper mine.
The old trail to the prospect holes part way up
the mountains we found steep and difficult, but not dangerous… —THE
We left the all-granite zone, meeting up again with
actual vegetation at a creek-crossing. Due to the proximity of the stones
to be used to keep our boots dry being within a mere body length of a
75-foot waterfall cascading down a slick rock slab, there was no room
for a single misstep.
Being the most wobbly in the family with a pack on
my back, I crossed the creek first then kept on walking without looking
back while the kids crossed. There are some things that are just better
for a mom to not watch.
The rest of the family hopped across without incident.
At this point, as we started down a trail beautifully overgrown with wildflowers,
the view down Deadman Canyon was dramatic, lined on each side by sloping
We camped that night in the very last grove at
the timber line. —THE PASS
As did we.