Monday, October 13, 2008

I first met Russell in January of 2003 after being on his North Fork Trail email list for a few months. For me it was the start of an incredible journey exploring this fabulous canyon we call the North Fork. With Russell leading the way with his vast knowledge of the North Fork's trails, history, geology and more, it was like I had jumped aboard the North Fork Express. I'm amazed at how much of the North Fork I visited with Russell in such a short time. There is no need in me trying to tell you about these great adventures as Russell has chronicled them well on his blog.

Exploring and hiking the High Old Upriver Trail through Giant Gap was one of the adventures I really enjoyed. Many long day hikes in and out of the canyon to find, follow and clear more of this incredible route through Giant Gap. Here is Russell at the tunnel through the spur ridge of Lovers Leap. The other end of the tunnel opens out onto the shear wall of a gully.

Here is Russell, with his trusty Fiskars loppers (and Lucky!), at the blasted out overhang along the route.

It was amazing that Lucky follow us all the way to the point where a little climbing was required.

Russell was obsessed with the waterfall in New York Canyon. He did nine hikes trying to see and seeing this tall waterfall tucked in New York Canyon, I accompanied him of 2 or 3 of these hikes. Here is Russell when we approached the fall from the river on our April 2004 trip down the Royal Gorge.

The previous year we had done a trip into the Royal Gorge with Greg. Here are Russell and Greg at one of the waterfalls.

This was a neat little place to visit. Russell had been tipped off about this place by a friend that called it the “Railroad in the Sky Mine”. After Russell made a trip out to see it he called me as would sometimes do saying “Ron! You just got to see this!”. Thanks Steve!

With Catherine on the Tadpole Cliffs above the Iowa Hill Ditch.

In Big Valley.

Truly some of my best hiking experiences have been hiking and exploring the North Fork with Russell. I miss him dearly.

[posted by Ron Gould]


Gay said...

I love these photos Ron, THANKS. You and Catherine had a special, irreplaceable relationship with Russ through those years, and your photos give the rest of us more of a sense of the magical experiences you three shared. It was a special and wonderful period of his life.

Shellie said...

This blog is the best thing I've seen the internet used for... Ron, the pictures are beautiful. Thank you so much.

Karen said...


Remeber we talked about hiking out there next spring when the waterfalls will be at their prettiest. I hope we can plan on that adventure, along with my husband, Barry, and whoever else may wish to come along.

I love the pictures and your sharing. Thank you so much.


Remembering Russell Towle said...

Karen (and others),

Please let me know when you would like to visit the NYC waterfall or any of the other places in the North Fork. It would give me great pleasure in sharing these places that Russ so kindly shared with me and others.


Cliff said...

Ron, The commonality of the Canyon has led me to this page. I am sad that the wilderness has lost a spokesperson. My sadness is also that I did not take the extra steps to share the experience of meeting him. My only memory of him was in the 70’s and I was going down to Green Valley with a young boy to introduce him to backpacking and get him out of a bad environment while his parents “sorted things out”. I knew that Green Valley was a good place to just hang for a couple of days. As we climbed the hill from the road to the trailhead, I was amazed that someone had in fact built a deck across the trail that I had taken since I could remember. I noticed a foot trail leading off a ways to a camp. Wishing not to disturb anyone we went back crossed the deck and jumped onto the trail as it emerged into the berries and continued. I wish then I had met him. Later friends told me it was the Towles. For the past 30 plus years, as I hiked and skied the North Fork, I kept hearing his name mentioned and kept meaning to meet him. I am deeply saddened for his family, his friends, the community, and our environment. They have lost a gifted mind and noble human being. Rick Ramos