Monday, December 18, 2006
I've landed. I'm in Jawbone Flats, the center of human activity, the heart of the canyon. My friends are here and my... but this IS a gorgeous place. The "street" of Jawbone is a gravel road lined on both sides by cabins that are nearly seven decades old. Sided with board and bat, the cabins are the faded grey that all wood left outside will get after some time and all cabins have metal roofs. Heating is provided by wood burning stoves. Electricity is generated by hydro-electric with a Pelton wheel which drives a 20,000 watt Westinghouse generator. And towering above camp on all sides are the mountains; every inch covered with the green that makes the Northwest such a treat for visitors.
Pretty cool... I'm off the grid. (Thats not a first for me... in hanging out with Grandfather Semu Huaute at his inter-tribal cultural center Muhu Tasen - Red Owl - down in Central California, we cooked with propane, heat was provided by wood stoves and there was no electricity). I'm getting ahead of myself here... this initial visit is just that - a visit. I'm here to see if I actually want to live and work in this run-down, isolated, backwoods burg.
I've been given cabin #4 as my temporary home. A small building that rests close to the edge of the Little No. Fork of the Santiam River (which by the by, is the result of the combining of Opal Creek and Battle Axe Creek) with sparse furninshings and a bare bulb ceiling light it is a humble place and smells like wood (which is not a shock as it is entirely built of lumber). This time of October the days are still warm but the evenings up here in the mountains (Jawbone is at 2500' elevation) get cold. I eat with the others and after a bit of meandering settle in for the night. I'm a fair hand with woodstoves and when done getting mine started I grab a book, lay down on the bed and crawl into my sleeping bag. With the sound of the river running quietly in one ear and out the other and the book merely a distraction, I am asleep in minutes.