Growing up in the mountains is the best. We climbed high up into the treetops, built forts, rode motorcycles to friends’ houses taking the backroads, collected and dried flowers, played at the lake for entire days, had intensely fast and steep sledding hills and appreciated feeling the seasons. It also meant that there was an ever present and very rational fear of forest fires.
The Gault family has been a part of the Central Sierras for 70 years. It started with my father-in-law, Wayne Gault, who came to this area as a young boy with his parents. He attended Big Creek Elementary School in 1949 and 1950. His parents purchased a cabin in Shaver Lake to use as a vacation home.
Monday, September 7th 2020, 3:30 PM: As flames raced south across Jose Basin, very few residents remained on Cressman Road before evacuating. Those of us left were either scrambling to pack up the last of our irreplaceable items or trying to prepare properties for the inevitable.
The Shaver Ranch on Pine Ridge has been in the Shaver family for 100 years and was left in ashes by the Creek Fire one year ago. It is difficult to recognize. The devastation has removed landmarks, but there is the creek and meadow, the familiar curve of the highway, the rock wall, and the Shaver Ranch sign at the entrance.
We had long yearned to have our own slice of heaven in the Sierras. A place where we could create a homestead, raise our two kids, and enjoy our lives under the canopies of the large sugar pines, firs, and