Friday, July 12, 2013

Part 134 - Jefferson, the 51st State

In the late afternoon, Swiss Army and I were walking together when I told him I needed to stop and have a bite to eat.  He agreed, and we pulled out our Z-pads and sat down in the middle of the trail While I was opening up my pack to find some peanut butter and jam, Swiss Army asked me if I would like a bagel with cream cheese, Swiss cheese, and pepperonis on it.  I turned and looked at him and asked in a most incredulous manner,

“Are you carrying that kind of food?”

He said he was and he had extra and was willing to share.

I couldn’t believe that anyone would be carrying that kind of luxurious food here in the wilderness, but he did indeed have it.  The bagel was fresh, the cream cheese wasn’t sour, and the Swiss cheese and pepperonis were A-OK.  Swiss Army said that the cream cheese was good for up to four days without refrigeration.  During my entire three months on the trail thus far, this cheese/bagel sandwich was the most satisfying and filling trail meal I had eaten thus far.

There was enough for a second, and I didn’t hesitate for a moment.  After finishing both, I felt as though I had just eaten at a posh restaurant and resolved then and there, that for the remainder of the hike, whenever possible, I would purchase these same food items in an effort to make the whole trail experience a little more enjoyable.

At the end of the day, food was the one thing I had to look forward to as a reward for the day’s hard efforts – and that bagel sandwich was ten times superior to my peanut butter and jam tortilla sandwich.  While Swiss Army and I were sitting on the trail, Storytime showed up and joined us for dinner; he too was treated to a bagel sandwich, and in turn, he shared with us his miniature Oreo cookies that we dipped in chocolate Nutrella. 

Everyone was happy.  Swiss Army and Storytime were delighted to find that they worked for the same electronics company in California, only in different buildings.  They had a lot in common and enjoyed spending the rest of the day together trading stories about former employees and projects worked on.

The three of us walked together for a few hours and then camped on an abandoned logging road.  It was almost dark when we made camp.  Then just before dark, three new hikers showed up:  Blast, Slack, and Orbit (female).  From others on the trail, Blast had heard about my journey on the ocean, so he visited with me for a while.  The camp for the night was at mile 1,644, which left only fifty-six miles to the Oregon border.

Leaving camp this morning, on the abandoned logging road, the trail began a gradual descent towards the Klamath River and the tranquil Seiad Valley, which would be the last resupply stop before crossing the California-Oregon border.  Halfway down the mountain, far in the distance, I could see the distant twin peaks of Kangaroo Mountain and Red Butte.  The trail builders had routed the trail in the notch between the two peaks, and in two days I would be there.

For miles, the trail descended through heavy vegetation along Grinder Creek, crossing it three times on footbridges, and then ending at the Grinder Creek Campground.  Yogi’s guidebook said this was a campground with camping sites, picnic tables, but no trash pickup or piped water.  As I passed through the lower end of the campground, I notice several fifth-wheel trailers that looked like they had taken up permanent residency in the campground.  

The trail builders were unable to build a trail with a more direct route to Seiad Valley due to issues with private property owners and a bridge over the Klamath River.  So, with no other choice, the trail merged for a 6.5-mile roadwalk, first along Grinder Creek and then along the Klamath River.  

In doing so, trail hikers were able to experience two things they might not otherwise have come in contact with.  First, blackberries in great abundance; and secondly, they received their first introduction to the proposed fifty-first state of the Union – the State of Jefferson, which, if it ever came to fruition, would encompass the northern top half of California and the southern portion of Oregon.

The Great State of Jefferson – the Fifty-First State
In the late 1930s, residents of the counties of Northern California and Southern Oregon banded together to apply pressure on their local state governments for increased revenue to shore up their economies by building roads and bridges into the timber-and mineral-rich Siskiyou Mountain.  In October, 1941, after many failed promises from the two state governors, the mayors of the communities in this local region, with the backing of the populace, decided to secede from the Union and create their own state.

A contest was held to determine the name of the new state.  The name Jefferson, as in Thomas Jefferson, was the winning entry, and the contributor walked away with a two-dollar prize.  A flag of green was proposed as the state’s flag, while the seal for the new state was the backside of a gold pan, emblazoned around the edges of the circle with the words, “The Great Seal of the Great State of Jefferson."  Two X's located in the center of the pan represented the double-cross of Sacramento and Salem in stiffing the populous of this region with their failed promises.

John C. Childs of Yreka, California, was elected governor of the new state, and on November 7, 1941, a massive demonstration covered by Hollywood news cameras captured on film locals brandishing weapons for shock effect and displaying signs that read “Jefferson Border Patrol,” stopping traffic on Route 99 south of Yreka, and handing out pamphlets entitled “The Proclamation of Independence of the State of Jefferson.”  It declared that the state of Jefferson was in patriotic rebellion and would secede from the Union every Thursday until further notice.

With film in the can, the news reports were set to air nationally on Monday, December 8, 1941.  Of course, the news broadcasts, which were a big deal at the time, never happened.  On Sunday, December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the movement to secede immediately collapsed.  The populous of this region backed the war effort and eventually roads and bridges were constructed into the mountainous region to extract the vast wealth of timber and minerals. (Erwin)

Swiss Army and I just flopped down on the trail to have a bite to eat. While we were there, Story Time joined us.

After some discussion, Story Time and Swiss Army discovered that they both worked for the same large laboratory in California. They were just in different buildings.

Swiss Army getting ready to share his fancy lunch items with Story Time and me.

Welcome to the wantabe 51st state of the Union - The state of Jefferson.

No comments:

Post a Comment