Coast to Coast Update 12-21-10

Greetings Yana Folks – That might be how you were greeted if you too had emerged from the foothills of Lassen Peak 100 years ago. A fellow named Ishi, (the last remaining member of the Yana people) did just that.

Ishi (ca. 1860 – March 25, 1916) was the last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people of California. Ishi is believed to have been the last Native American in Northern California to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture. At about 49 years old, in 1911 he emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland in the foothills near Lassen Peak.

Ishi means “man” in the Yana language. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber gave this name to the man when he discovered Ishi had never been named. When asked his name, he said: “I have none, because there were no people to name me,” meaning that no tribal naming ceremony had been performed. He was taken in by anthropologists at the University of California, Berkeley, who both studied him and hired him as a research assistant. He lived most of his remaining five years in a university building in San Francisco  before dying at age 54 of tuberculosis.

By the way, Ishi would have been a “C” masters rower and we passed through his country on this leg of our journey!

Our rowing/erging journey this week has taken us as far as Merced, California. Leaving Grants Pass, Oregon, we traveled 652K, which is a lot further than last week, thanks to the efforts of all. On the way to our destination, we left Grants Pass, drove through Ashland, and entered the 51st state of the union, the State of Jefferson. What, you didn’t know?  Some pretty interesting history below about this area at the link below. Coincidentally, the “State of Jefferson” was one of the few places in the continental USA to be the subject of an attack during World War II, when Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs on the Oregon Coast near Brookings on September 9, 1942. He returned years after the war to promote peace and good will.

Below is a map of our journey.

More on the State of Jefferson.

Leaving what might have become Jefferson, we continued south through the Siskiyous and in to northern California. This is a region where a great deal of “big timber” logging was done many, many years ago. I grew up in a logging family and spent several college summers earning tuition money in this industry (although in Oregon) so anyway, these old time photos have a special appeal to me. You don’t see ‘em like this anymore!

Along the way we pass Mount Shasta—one of John Stacey’s conquests. Another John, last name Muir, made the same climb 130 years ago but was caught in a storm near the summit. To survive the storm, he and his climbing partner laid down in the mud and steam produced from the volcanic vents and broiled one side of their bodies while the other nearly froze. This went on for 17 hours before the storm passed and they made their way down the mountain. Mr. Muir was known for several other “adventures” including climbing to the top of a 100 foot tree in a severe windstorm—just to see what it was like. Look him up for more exciting reading.

Heading south, we traveled through Gold Country on our way to Merced. I really didn’t think we’d make it this far; you surprised me! My next report will include a few “nuggets” on this region. Bet you can’t wait!

In the meantime, keep on erging, rowing, biking, skiing, just keep on doing it!

Dave Horton


Posted on December 21, 2010, in Training and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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