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Beneath the Window

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Offline sstrong42

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Beneath the Window
« on: March 24, 2009, 04:59:29 PM »
Anyone who's hiked the OML or been to Oak Creek Canyon or heck, has ever seen the Window, needs to read this book.  It's written by Patricia Wilson Clothier, the daughter of Homer Wilson.  The short collection of her writings chronicles life in the Big Bend prior to the park being created.  It tells the story of Homer Wilson and the Wilson ranch in great detail up until the time of Wilson's death.  Having read this book, hiking any of the former Wilson property will take on a new life.  There are also tales of Sam Nail and his family.  It's a great story and an easy read.  Clothier's writing is good and she keeps it very interesting.  This book gave me new found appreciation for the people that surrendered their land for the benefit of those of us that go out there to enjoy it.

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BigBendHiker

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2009, 05:48:22 PM »
Indeed.  It is a great book.  Thanks for sharing.

BBH

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Offline DJ

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2009, 07:16:40 PM »
Having read this book, hiking any of the former Wilson property will take on a new life. 

I just read the book and agree that it is great. I was in BiBe last week and had the book in hand as I went to Oak Creek. I lined up the pictures of the mail order house with the mountains and determined that the house was right at the leaning oak tree.

I hiked the Dodson Trail from Blue Creek and could not help but to think about Patricia climbing Signal Mountain. A new life, indeed.

DJ
Tranquility, solitude, serenity...

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Ray52

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2009, 07:53:02 PM »
One of my favorites also.  I recently read (probably somewhere on this forum) that the Homer Wilson ranch house has been partially restored by the park.  Is that true and if so, does anyone have a picture of it before the restoration?

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2009, 10:00:27 PM »
One of my favorites also.  I recently read (probably somewhere on this forum) that the Homer Wilson ranch house has been partially restored by the park.  Is that true and if so, does anyone have a picture of it before the restoration?

You're probably thinking of the Blue Creek Ranch site, which is seen and reached from a pull-out along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The pre-fab house the Wilsons lived in "beneath the window" was removed decades ago.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2009, 10:02:41 PM »
agreed -- an excellent book.
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Ray52

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2009, 11:04:07 PM »
One of my favorites also.  I recently read (probably somewhere on this forum) that the Homer Wilson ranch house has been partially restored by the park.  Is that true and if so, does anyone have a picture of it before the restoration?

You're probably thinking of the Blue Creek Ranch site, which is seen and reached from a pull-out along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The pre-fab house the Wilsons lived in "beneath the window" was removed decades ago.

Yes that's the one I'm speaking of Jeff.  I've visited it twice and most recently 2 months ago when I hiked the OML.  It's in remarkable shape and was a cool place to rest before I walked back up to Ross Maxwell and my truck.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 02:51:21 PM »
Just a started this one and so far it looks good.  :great:

I wonder if there are larger-sized copies of the hand drawn maps available?  :eusa_think:

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Offline kevint

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Beneath the Window
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 05:42:58 PM »
The book also gives an interesting view of the ecological and economic forces that contributed to the formation of the park.

I also found Pateicia's commentary at the end regarding her opinions (positive and negative) of how the park has been managed interesting.

-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2012, 08:22:57 PM »
Yes, not just her comments, but the comments of others she knew as a girl, gathered years later when she wrote the book. For example, the young CCC man that hiked 27 miles in one day: Out the window from the Basin, southward past Oak Creek, Cattail, Ward, then over the foothills to Blue Creek below Cedar Spring, then up Blue Creek to Leguna, then on down to the Basin.

I am going to have to read this book a second time and make some notes of the places she mentions that I would be interested in trying to find sometime. The area around Oak Creek and Cattail may need to be revisited for sure.

I now wonder if the pipe crossing the trail to Cattail Falls was one of Homer's pipelines he installed. Before I assumed it was part of the NPS water system, tying to the line from Oak Creek to the Basin.

Update: The book mentions that the pipe over to Cattail was in fact installed later by the NPS.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2012, 10:11:23 AM by Flash »

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Offline Flash

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Re: Beneath the Window
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2012, 09:43:55 PM »
From the photos and Google Earth, I think I located both Double Mills and the Shearing Pens in the Ward Spring vacinity that are mentioned in the book. The shearing pens, the windmills, and the water wells were, I am guessing, about 0.7 miles south of the current Ward Spring trailhead. From aerial photos, there appear to be foundations on the west side of the road and the pens, were they still standing, would now straddle the road. I am attaching a couple KMZ files of where I am guessing these were. When I used Street View in Google Earth, I was able to line the mountains as seen in the photo on the 2nd unnumbered photo page past page 122.

 


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