Family Summits – Rangers and rich people

Sugar Pine - Pine Lodge

We’re on the backside of Family Summits. As Hannah said, “Only two more days. I’m sad.” It’s a bit of a fantasy land here, with more activities than I could do in a month, great meals and fantastic weather. I was supposed to go on a tough hike but it was so tough that the leaders decided to leave here at 7 A.M. I couldn’t push Hannah out the door that early – though there is childcare. Ask the birders; there’s childcare 24/7. So I switched to a history walk.

Range brian bartonHannah and I had “breakfast with a ranger.” Brian Burton, a high-level California state park ranger, talked to us about the challenges of being a ranger today. He’s a law enforcement and interpretive ranger; he does it all. He talked about too many problems of the city are brought into the park. Not enough money for staff and ranger program. But he was still very enthusiastic about his job.

Hannah asked him what all the gadgets around his belt were. Brian described all his stuff but somehow overlooked the gun. Brian (and the rest of the California state park rangers) has a “baseball card” with his picture, his qualifications and interests.

I went on the Sugar Pine Point State Park field trip.Pine lodge  bedroom The park has a summer mansion built by isaah Hellman, a banker from San Francisco. Hellman was the quintessential German Jewish immigrant. He emigrated from Bavaria at 16 and became the first president of Wells Fargo bank. Dave, a park aide, was a wonderful park guide.

Park aide  DaveEvery successful rich family of the times needed a summer home, so Hellman bought land on Lake Tahoe and built a house in 1903. The Hellmans entertained a lot and had an army of servants. This story is almost exactly like that of Moses Cone on the Blue Ridge Parkway. By the third generation, the family no longer wanted the estate, so they sold it to the state park system in 1965.

I wonder how many homes we have in the various park systems – of course, Carl Sandburg home and in Death Valley.

Hannah had a hiking trip to a view. Now she’s watching a live animal program – beaver, owl and turkey vulture by Wild Things.

I don’t approve of all these animals kept in captivity and being shown like in a circus but the kids love the program


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