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The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father, Wally Callan, had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek.

The Road to Plaskett Meadows

The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father, Wally Callan, had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek.

The fish rescue crew: Mike Cauble, Paul Martens, Glenn Tibessart, unidentified gentleman, Steve Callan, and Kenny Callan, circa 1964. As the Orland Fish and Game warden, my father had organized this effort to rescue stranded fish in Stony Creek. What fun we had!

Writing the chapter “The Road to Plaskett Meadows” in my sequel, The Game Warden’s Son, was a trip down Memory Lane for me. In it, I described growing up in Orland during the 1960s.

A wonderful slice of small-town America at the northern end of California’s Central Valley, Orland was very much like the community of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith Show. I remember our mayor being the town butcher, people parking in the middle of 4th Street, and Cary Tommeraason running for touchdowns. Mom bought groceries at Graham Brothers, the playground at Fairview School was a converted cow pasture, and the biggest event of the year was opening day of pheasant season.

My greatest fear in those days was being called on in Mr. Valov’s chemistry class. My greatest joys were baseball, basketball, hunting, fishing, exploring Stony Creek, and riding on patrol with my dad, the local game warden.

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. Photo by author Steven T. Callan.

The McCloud River: Relief from the Dog Days of Summer

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. Photo by author Steven T. Callan.

The McCloud River Preserve encompasses 2,330 acres surrounding this iconic mountain stream. All photos by author.

Nothing picks up my spirits like a walk along a mountain stream during these hundred-degree days. The McCloud River is as good as it gets.

I hope these photos from our recent hike through the McCloud River Preserve with the Shasta Land Trust will pick up your spirits during these dog days of summer.

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at a book signing for The Game Warden's Son at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Scenes from a Book Signing: Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Author Steven T. Callan and friends at a book signing for The Game Warden's Son at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival

Kathy and I have always said that the best thing about giving presentations and doing book signings is the interesting people we have the opportunity to meet. Last weekend’s book signing at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 46th Annual Classic Wildlife Festival certainly validated that notion. Wildlife sculptors from all over California and the western U.S. gathered in Sacramento to showcase their talents.

Chico Creek

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek

Chico Creek I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams—above and below the surface—for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth birthday. My fishing buddy, Paul Martens, had heard that some trophy browns could be caught in upper Chico Creek. The only way into this treacherously steep canyon was an overgrown Caterpillar track that hadn’t been traveled or maintained in years. Throwing caution to the wind, I shoved my 1947 Chevy pickup into first gear, gingerly stepped on the gas, and inched down the steep embankment.

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

Rafting and Reflecting on the American River

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

The Middle Fork American River and Ruck-A-Chucky Falls. Photo by Eric Peach.

When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page. “Let’s do this!” I said to Kathy. “I haven’t rafted the American River since 1973, when I was a graduate student at Sacramento State.” I had also worked as a paid intern for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors during that time and learned firsthand about a fledgling organization called Friends of the River. Friends of the River was mounting a campaign to stop the proposed Auburn Dam project. It seemed that certain political heavyweights were pushing to bury the breathtakingly pristine north and middle forks of the American River under several hundred feet of water. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the project was eventually abandoned. Natural treasures like the American River Canyon are never completely safe, however. Like a bad cold that just won’t go away, the plan to build Auburn Dam still rears its ugly head from time to time.

Author Steven T. Callan shares information about The Game Warden's Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and his career in wildlife protection with the Red Bluff Rotary

A Warm Welcome from Red Bluff Rotary

Author Steven T. Callan shares information about The Game Warden's Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and his career in wildlife protection with the Red Bluff Rotary

Sharing information about The Game Warden’s Son; Badges, Bears, and Eagles; and my career in wildlife protection. Photos by Kathy Callan.

Thank you to Tom Amundson and the Red Bluff Rotary for making my presentation yesterday a real pleasure. Kathy and I received a warm welcome and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We were also impressed to learn of all the community service projects performed by this exceptional group. They are truly an asset to their community.