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The Ishi Trail & Marker with Beverly Ogle

July 12, 2014 - SOLD OUT


Join the Sierra Institute's Center of Forestry for this most interesting tour as we travel on part of the Ishi Trail with noted historian, Beverly Ogle to the Ishi Marker. Ms. Ogle, a writer on the Yahi Yana and Maidu peoples, will lead this tour and share her knowledge of the man called Ishi.

For 2014, our tour will focus on the Repatriation of Ishi's ashes back to his homeland.  There are secrets that will never be told about this, but there are stories to be heard.  Beverly Ogle was there and will tell the stories that she can tell, share the photos that she has, and offer us her books on Ishi: The Spirit of Black Rock.


Watch a short video of Beverly Ogle at the Marker
(turn up your volume)


Ishi, the last of the Yana people

Ishi (ca. 1860 – March 25, 1916) was the pseudonym of the last member of the Yahi, in turn the last surviving group of the Yana people of California. Ishi is believed to be the last Native American in Northern California to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture. He emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland in the foothills near Lassen Peak.

Prior to the California Gold Rush, the Yahi population numbered approximately 400. In 1865, Ishi and his family were victims of the Three Knolls Massacre (40 killed from which approximately 30 Yahi survived.) The remaining Yahi escaped but went into hiding for the next 40 years after cattlemen killed about half of the survivors. Eventually Ishi's mother and other companions died, and he was discovered by a group of butchers in their corral at Oroville on August 29, 1911.


June 9, 2012 - Meet Joe...The Man who remade the Marker.

Each year, we lead a group with guide Beverly Ogle through the Ishi Wilderness to the Ishi Marker, situated above the Narrows and below Bruff's Camp.  Last year, as you'll note from the article below, we arrived at the Marker only to find that it had bee defaced with bullets.  However, through a series of press releases, telephone conversations, donations, and planning, the Ishi Marker has been refurbished and this year when our tour group went to the Ishi arer, not only did we get to see it being installed refurbished, but also we met the man responsible for the wonderful work accomplished.

Joe Vondracek from Paradise California worked with the Pitt River Tribe, the Redding Rancheria, and Beverly Ogle in getting this job completed.   The newly refurbished plaque was installed June 9th, while we were out there touring.  Joe joined us for lunch and talked to us about the work he did.

Though you can see the scars, the Ishi Marker is now up and looking great thanks to all who were involved.  Though all of our efforts we were able to "bring Ishi back" to The Narrows.

June 18, 2011 - What we found at the Ishi Marker

We met at 10:00am Saturday morning in Chester at the Lassen National Forest Ranger Station, where participants boarded a bus and continued to Potato Patch Campground for morning refreshments, introductions, and to pick-up participants from the Sacramento and Chico areas. From there we drove to Highway 32 and the turned off to the Ishi Marker. As we drove through Deer and Mill Creek Canyons, Beverly shared a little with us about the various botanicals growing in the area which were used by the Maidu in the past and are still used today.

When we arrived at the marker, there was an audible gasp. Someone had been there before us, had used their guns to deface the marker,and left spent casings, along with empty beer bottles and cans. Beverly Ogle, who was one of the responsible persons for placing the Marker, was in tears. Several of those visiting picked up the trash, photographed the damage for Beverly to be able to share with the Redding Rancheria, also a responsible party for the Marker, and small donations were made on the spot towards the refurbishing of the monument. There were many conversations that day about the disrespect for history and those who came before us.

The day didn’t end there, however, as Beverly still took the time to give us a welcomed presentation on Ishi, the repatriation of his bones and brain to the area, and the steps taken that led to placement of the Ishi Marker.

Lunch was served at Bruff’s Camp, where Beverly continued to share personal stories of her ancestors and growing up in Mill Creek canyon. She shared photos from her childhood and historical photos of Ishi, and brought along her books, Spirits of Blackrock and Whispers of the Maidu, of which many were sold. Also visited was the Alford-Cameron historical marker, located by the Bruff’s Camp marker, and denoting the locale where four men were crushed during the night when a large oak tree landed on their tent.

Though the tour was marred with the defamation of the Ishi Marker, the day couldn’t have been more perfect with hazy skies, warm weather, good company, and the many stories shared by Beverly Ogle.

An Update on the Monument

We're happy to report that through the many press articles, telephone conversations, and donations work on refurbishing the monument has begun and installation is scheduled for March 2012.  Thanks to all who were involved in bringing this project to fruition.

Drawing by Bruff of his Sierra Nevada camp.

Bruff's Camp

Joseph Goldsborough Bruff was born on October 2, 1804, in Washington, D.C. He attended West Point, 1820–22. From 1827 – 1836, Bruff traveled and worked as a topographical engineer, mostly at Gosport Naval Yard in Norfolk, Virginia. Upon his return to Washington, D.C. in 1837, he worked in the U.S. Bureau of Topographical Engineers, 1838- 1849. Bruff organized the 64-member Washington City and California Mining Association which he led to California, during the California Gold Rush. He was associated with Peter Lassen and followed what came to be known as the Lassen Trail of the California Trail.

An amateur artist, Bruff spent two years drawing pictures of the mining camps and the Mother Lode country. His pen-and-ink sketches were illustrated in his journal. His few months spent in the Sierra Nevada were fraught with challenges and perils. At Bruff's Camp is another monument for four men who died after a tree fell on their tent. And there are many more stories of heroism, delusion, and death.

In 1853, Bruff returned to Washington, D.C. Bruff spent his final years in the office of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. He died on April 14, 1889.

Activity level: Easy


Here's what past participants had to say about this tour:

"Meeting Beverly Ogle and hearing her stories was so interesting! I learned so much from her!"
—2010 Tour Participant

"Seeing the Ishi Monument and traveling up to Bruff's Camp with Beverly Ogle sharing the history of the area made this the best tour I've been on!"
—2010 Tour Participant

"The whole tour was fascinating...but the scenery in Deer & Mill Creek valleys is beautiful
and well worth the ride!"
—2010 Tour Participant

"It was very sad finding the Ishi Marker defaced. But I was pleased to not only be a part of the small clean-up but also to be able to donate towards the refurbishment." -2011 Participant

"Beverly's stories are captivating and her photos growing up and of Ishi were wonderful" -2011 Participant


Tour Itinerary

9:00 am
Meet at and leave from Sierra Institute Offices: 4438 Main Street, Taylorsville, California. Travel to Lassen Ranger Station - Chester, CA.
9:45 am
Chester, CA - Pick-up tour participants and guide, Beverly Ogle
10:30 am Potato Patch Campground for Morning Refreshments
11:00 am
Begin drive to Deer/Mill Creek valleys to Ishi Marker
12:15 pm Ishi Marker - Stop for short lecture
12:45 pm Drive / Walk to Bruff's Camp - Lunch, Photo sharing, more talking with Beverly
1:30pm Drive out of Deer/Mill Creek valleys - to Chester, CA
2:15pm Potato Patch Campground - Facilities use
3:00pm Arrive Lassen Ranger Station-Chester, CA
3:45pm Arrive Sierra Institute - Taylorsville, CA

What Do You Need To Bring?  Don't forget your camera!

Be sure to bring you camera! Good walking shoes/boots are always recommended on our tours. There is an option to walk up to Bruff's Camp (about 1.5-miles) from the Marker.  In the interest of the environment, we always encourage our participants to bring their refillable water bottles, which we can refill during the tour. Thank you!

Register Today!

This tour always sells out as it is so popular.
We recommend you reserve your space as soon as possible.

To register for this tour, call us at 530.284.1022 or contact Lauri Rawlins-Betta directly with your questions: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 19:37