August 1987 Letter
Michael S. Robbins
Los Angeles, California
22 August 1987
The response to our request for help in installing a new water main was totally unexpected. Rich and I had hoped for half-a-dozen helpers and wound-up with fifty! The weekend turned into a reunion for aging staffmen and an initiation into the wonders of Sequoia for families. Not only did we complete the plumbing, but we painted the lodge and fixed the shower-house floor as well.
As you may recall, this whole project began when the Park Service installed a new, highpressure water system to replace the gravity-flow system they put in during the early sixties. The old line ran through the road triangle where we usually put the camp sign. The new line is buried under the Wolverton road, about two-hundred feet up the hill from the old. The Park Service provided a connection at the point where the camp road intersects the Wolverton road (on the "wrong" side of the camp road, naturally).
Ed Schwartz, an ex-professional plumber who I work with, and Art Brice did most of the serious plumbing, while the rest of us dug holes, painted and worked on the showers. In order to provide water to the campsites in the old pioneering area beyond the garbage rack, we disconnected the existing pipe from the Sixties water system and the original forties(?) line and installed a couple of faucets. We started after lunch on Friday and finished by mid-afternoon on Saturday.
We finished before the Park Service got its act together. Our grubby crew headed down the hill to Lodgepole for showers. There was no water in the Forties line or the Sixties line and the new line hadn't been pressurized yet (our connection is on the side of the pipe, while the only water was flowing along the bottom.
At lunch on Saturday, I saw a young girl approaching me. Same blond hair, same teenage goodlooks. One problem, I am now forty-seven and she hadn't aged at all. After a quick double-take, I noticed her parents, Dennis and Sue (Caldwell) Cox, walking beside her.
The meals in the dining area, the big barbecue Saturday evening and the Saturday night campfire gave everyone a chance to meet and/or to reminisce.
Never one to sit back and let a campfire drag along at its own relaxed pace, I got up to lead a few songs in true Wolverton fashion. Halfway through one stupid campfire classic it dawned on me that the "kids" I was leading were MD's, PhD's, teachers, entrepreneurs, managers, etc., and I broke-up. At another point in the program one of the three trees (you remember the rabbit and the hunter, the babbling brook and the beautiful waterfall?) was carrying his infant seedling in his arms. I hope that everyone had as much fun as I did.
The water is now running and the showers rate a "great" even if you've not just walked in off of the trail. The pressure was so high that water shot twelve feet out of an open faucet. With the pressure set to about thirty pounds and flow restrictors on the shower heads, things are just fine. Incredibly, the wooden plugs which I hammered into leaking pipes in the mid-Sixties didn't blow out.
In the emotion of the weekend, someone suggested that this would be a great thing to do at the beginning of each summer. There sure are enough things to do each year to give us an excuse to drive in from all over the state. Next summer we could reinforce and level the foundation of the lodge, rework the shower house and set up a few tents. We could plan on going up one week later so that all of the kids would be out of school and those families who wished to stay on for a few days, could do so. There would be a charge to cover the cost of food. If it still sounds good, let Rich or me know.
Rich is no longer teaching at Westlake. He has begun his own company, Naturalists At Large, organizing, outfitting and leading outdoor education trips for schools and corporate retreats. His free time during the summer is limited and he needs some help taking care of the camp. This summer, Chris Ishida, Pete Stekel, Art Marquez, Mike and Lisa Smith, and the John Daniels family volunteered their time. How about spending a week in the land of the Big Trees and the cold mountain lakes next summer?
Please update the enclosed roster, if you know of any changes or additions.
Best regards, (signature)