Sep 23
Holden Lake

Holden Washington Trails Association Volunteer Vacation 15-22SEPT2018

I try to include 7-10 days/year as a volunteer for the WTA working on trails. I love to backpack, and certainly have not done it as much as I’d like over my lifetime, yet I still feel that a few days “pay-back” for all the hard work that goes into building and maintaining a trail is worth it. Even on national lands, much of the trail maintenance is performed by volunteers, and it is hard work, so I feel that I can afford to do some trail work each year. I had already spent time with the PCTA on a Goat Rocks work project, and a long weekend on Mt. Rainier with the WTA. This trip was originally full, but when an opening came up, I quickly signed up, in that I had never been into this area, save for climbing Glacier Peak 40 years ago with Hannes Zuercher. 

Holden Village is not reachable by vehicle. Either one must backpack in, or take the boat ⅔ the way up Lake Chelan to Lucerne, and then be shuttled in 9 miles to the village. It was started as a mining camp in the 1930’s, the principle focus being copper from a mountain in the vicinity. The village was abandoned in the late 1950’s and then purchased by the Lutheran church as a retreat center. Later, it was discovered that iron leachings from the tailings were leading to a 2 mile section of Railroad creek not having any fish. $600 million later, and much further destruction of the area has led to a possible recovery of the Cutthroat trout in the short creek segment, but uncertainty remains about long-term viability of the entire project. We were not at the village to help with mine remediation, but to fix and clear the trails that run into and out of the village.  Our focus was to brush the MonkeyBear trail and the Holden Lake, Hart Lake trails, while building a culvert/turnpike on the Hart Lake trail. The work was a success, though much was still left to be done. Our leader was Jackson Lee, who was incredibly delightful to work with, probably one of the better leaders that I’ve had to work under, and very motivated at the task at hand. 

In mid-week, I did a 16+ mile hike to Holden Lake and then to Hart Lake, a stupendously beautiful venture of breath-taking quality. Holden Lake sits right under Bonanza Peak, the tallest non-volcanic peak in Washington. Hart Lake was on the trail up to Cloudy Pass and the PCT, and currently used as a bypass for PCT thru-hikers owing to an Agnes Creek fire just north of Suiattle Pass. The other Ken and Carol were close behind me. On my way back from Hart Lake, I got to walk out with 3 thru-hikers who have stayed together since departing Campo. 

Holden Village is run by the Lutheran church. They have Vespers every evening for 30 minutes, starting at 19:00. I usually attended. The services were quite different from traditional Lutheran liturgical worship that I was familiar with, having a focus on personal therapy as religion and worship of  the “happy feel-good eco-artsy-pacifist-inclusive-of-everything-god”. The staff were all very nice, and it was a joy to get to know them. Most of the workers were also volunteers. The closest thing I could think of to describe Holden Village was “The Village” portrayed in the tv series The Prisoner starting Patrick McGoohan, best known as the secret agent man. 

The first work day had heavy rain, and then we had sunny weather until Thursday, when it was cloudy but without rain. Departure on Saturday had more rain. The boat ride out was late in the afternoon, and I was able to make it home by 21:15 that evening.  Photos of the trip follow…

Tam on the trip in
The boat docked in Lucerne, headed up to Stehekin
Our crew gets a shuttle bus ride up to the Village
My bed in the Village
Our cabin in the village
Mountains surround the village
More of the village
The mine remediation project
Mine remediation structures
Ditto
Iron rich crud from the runoff collected downstream and then dumped upstream in this giant basin.
Drain runoff Woman hole (gender inclusive)
Attempt to reforest tailings
Eager beaver workers waiting to play in the dirt.
The turnpike crew, with a thru-hiker included on the far right, and forest service person in yellow.
View from the village
Our day packs are dropped, tools properly placed by the trail, and work commences
MonkeyBear Falls, site of Tuesday’s lunch stop 
The beginning of the turnpike/culvert
Rod, playing in the mud, digging drainage for the culvert
The turnpike filled in with rock followed by dirt using burrito-roll technique
Day hike up to Holden Lake
Higher up to Holden Lake, Bonanza Peak in the center
Holden Lake beside Bonanza Peak
Holden Lake, glaciers hovering above the lake
The other Ken at Holden Lake
Carol and Donald arriving at Holden Lake
Wild Ken in Wild-erness 
Hart Lake from above
The completed turnpike

Culvert running under the turnpike
Drainage beside the turnpike
Completely exhausted trail workers, barely making it.
Departure at Lucerne Landing, the boat arriving in the distance
Very happy trail workers, including Jackson, Elaine, and Pat
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Sep 23

The Founding Brothers, by Joseph Ellis ★★★★

This book provides vignettes in several chapters of various events and characters from the founding period in USA history. It starts with a chapter on the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, works through a chapter on discussions regarding slavery, and then discusses various interactions, ending with the struggles and resolution of those struggles between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. I can only presume that the author’s intention was to illustrate the disharmony of the founding fathers. He is quite successful, yet in many ways fails in his intentions. As an example, I am left very curious about the true details in philosophy that led many, including Aaron Burr, to so despise Hamilton. 

In spite of its flaws, I appreciated the book for several reasons. First, Ellis brings out a side of the founding years of our nation that isn’t commonly discussed, in that the founders were real people behaving among each other like real people. The characterization of the Continental Congress that a strong sense of unity and concurrence existed is a total myth, which should not be taught. Ellis also is a very fluent writer, making him quite easy to read. There were a number of quotable quotes in the book, and each page compelled the reader on to the next.  It’s a book that I could easily recommend others to read.

The Quartet, by Joseph Ellis ★★★

This book is a sequel to The Founding Brothers, offering glimpses into the founding of the constitution. Ellis’ theme is that if it weren’t for 4-6 people, the quartet being George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, perhaps also including Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, there never would have been an effective constitution to bind together the 13 states. The articles of confederation were a temporary measure to bind together the thirteen colonies in their struggle for independence, but were highly ineffective in that regard, in that each of the states failed to contribute adequately to the struggle for independence, leaving large unpaid war debts. The chronicles of how these four men led the charge of the federalists for a union that included a strong central government is a fascinating story to behold. Most demanded from many of the states was the expectation for a bill of rights, feeling that the constitution in and of itself was inadequate for the task at hand. It was a close call that many states, including New York and Virginia, had very strong opposition to a central government influencing their decisions. 

Ellis did not shine as well in this book as in the Founding Brothers, though it still is an interesting read. In this book, Ellis’ prejudices are revealed. First, he definitely has a strong feeling against the then contemporary notion of divine providence leading to the acceptance of the constitution by the thirteen states. In Ellis’ defense, even if the constitution did NOT go through, would it not have been divine providence? Secondly, Ellis always falls on the side of the federalists, and fail to give the arguments against a strong central government and the alternatives as provided by the “anti-federalists”.  Thirdly, Ellis uses the issue of much dissension to the constitution and a short statement by Jefferson (who stood strongly AGAINST the constitution), as representing the constitution as a “living” document. Jefferson suggested that the constitution should not be “too sacred to be touched” and that institutions (the constitution) must be kept in step with the times. So be it, yet Jefferson would absolutely have been appalled by the thought of 9 judges on the bench deciding that words mean something totally different from what was plainly written. It is shear balderdash to use the historical context and disagreements to the constitution to make the constitution an illegitimate document save for contemporary “feelings” about how the government should be regulated. Whether or not one was a federalist, there was a fear in 1789 of too strong of government, and why the “living document” advocates would essentially allow for a yet stronger central government who may interpret the principle law of the land and act without a common understanding of constitutional control, remains perplexing to me. The founders provided a means of amending the constitution, and it was NOT via the supreme courts. 

So, Ellis provides a very inadequate story of the history of the constitution as formed between 1783 and 1789. He writes well, but while succeeding as a literary agent, fails miserably as a historian.

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