Happy 4th of July: Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Family Camp

July 4th, 2016 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Family Camp Weekend at Watson’s Walking “G”

People Photographs: Memories of Independence Day, July 4

In the United States of America, we celebrate Independence Day in the heat of summer. The heat causes thirst, which is quenched with alcoholic beverages more often than not. July 4 is the “fun” holiday. For a quality American 4th of July, also mix in hours and days of sunbathing slathered in tanning oil at the old swimming hole, complete with cool mountain stream swims.

Yet, when you are with old friends, the perfect holiday is not as much about the beach, sun or water as the conversations. This blog post is more personal than usual, but this is not the first time I have made such a post, especially on a major holiday. Different from what I typically write for this blog, it is an indication of one aspect of blog posts to come in the future.

Near the home where I grew up and now live again, at places like Indian Falls or Spanish Falls, giant rocks tower above deep river pools and make for good jumps, somersaults, dives, flips, gainers and belly-flops into Indian Creek or Spanish Creek. Here in Plumas County, we prepare for a 4th of July trip to our woodland beaches and creeks by getting overheated at the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, or at the 4th of July Parade and Taylorsville Silver Buckle Rodeo.

On other days around July 4th, for fun we go fishing, camp out in a tent or under the stars, eat rainbow trout for dinner, or crayfish, BBQ steak, chicken, baby back ribs, roasted bell peppers, BBQ Corn in the husk, salads, dips, chips, watermelon, sandwiches or pizza. Later after badminton, basketball, gin – rummy and gin – tonic, hearts, dingbat, zip line, horseshoes, bicycles, steal the sticks and rarely showers, we drive three miles to the Grange Hall, which has a bouncing wood dance floor. We dance like Mick Jagger at the cowboy two-step dance. Still later we venture out on a moonlit four wheel drive tour of Grizzly Ridge or Mount Hough. Anything for pure craziness with hilarity while following our bliss.

Most of the fun in Taylorsville happens at a private Family Camp next door to my house that carries on all hours of the day and night. The Watson’s Walking “G” Camp for over 40 years was a boys and girls recreational Summer Camp, but in the first 16 years after the official camp ended, the more informal Family Camp took over for one long weekend a year. The last time, Family Camp included around 140 guests tent camping and celebrating the 4th of July. Of the 140 people involved, about 95 were children. Family Camp at times has resembled either an amusement park, a quiet resort, a riot, or all three, depending on the moment. The following photographs may begin to portray some of what can happen…

…At Summer Camp when people let go of having a dream and step into dreamtime…

Many thanks to Robert and Brenda Watson for their hospitality, love and care for all at Summer Family Camp. Thanks also to all those who allowed me to make their photograph. I’ve progressed significantly since 2009 and appreciate having the opportunities to develop.

Apitizers, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Camp, Summer Family Camp, Plumas County, Northern Sierra Nevada, 2009 by David Leland Hyde.

Appetizers, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Camp, Summer Family Camp, Plumas County, Northern Sierra Nevada, 2009 by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical Practice of Tent Camping, Watson's Walking "G" Camp, Summer Family Camp by David Leland Hyde.

Historical Practice of Tent Camping, Watson’s Walking “G” Camp, Summer Family Camp, July 4 by David Leland Hyde Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Morning Already? Family Camp, July 4, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde.

Is It Morning Already? Family Camp, July 4, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Customary Walking and Smiling at Walking "G" Camp on July 4th, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde.

Customary Walking and Smiling at Walking “G” Camp on July 4th, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Badminton Bliss, Family Camp, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde.

Badminton Bliss, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Uncle Sam, Family Camp, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde.

Young Uncle Sam, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Crayfish Hunters, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Salty Crayfish Hunters, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welles and Brando, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde.

Welles and Brando, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrecking Uncle Sam With A Ping Pong Ball, July 4, Family Camp, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

Wrecking Uncle Sam With A Ping Pong Ball, July 4, Family Camp, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burford's Swimming Hole, July 4, Family Camp, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

Burford’s Swimming Hole, July 4, Family Camp, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beach Hangout, Burford's Swimming Hole, July 4, Family Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

Beach Hangout, Burford’s Swimming Hole, July 4, Family Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young Boy Still Fishing After Suddenly Outgrowing Vest, July 4, Family Camp, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

Young Boy Still Fishing After Suddenly Outgrowing Vest, July 4, Family Camp, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde. (To See Larger Click on Image.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tough Women of the Woods, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Tough Women of the Woods, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cowboy Taking Break From Tavern Indian Wars, July 4, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Cowboy Taking Break From Tavern Indian Wars, July 4, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering Australian Cowboy From The Outback, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Wandering Australian Cowboy From The Outback, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maestro of the Bistro, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Maestro of the Bistro, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom's Hands Shrivel After Peeling 1000 Ears of Corn, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Mom’s Hands Shrivel After Shucking 1000 Ears of Corn, but luckily her sister can peel at least 2000, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parade Clowns Planning to Smuggle Margaritas Into Mexico, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Parade Clowns Planning to Smuggle Margaritas Into Mexico, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattooed Biker, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Tattooed Biker, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Camp Crazy Chaos Before Dinner, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Family Camp Crazy Chaos Before Dinner, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pitchfork Carrying Carnivorous Chef and Wicked Meat Feast, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Pitchfork Carrying Chef and Santa Maria Style BBQ Feast, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bar-B-Que Awe, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Bar-B-Que Awe, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chair Photo Sobriety Test, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Chair Photo Sobriety Test, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Camp Laughter and Friendship, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Family Camp Laughter and Friendship, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 4 Dinner Was So Late We Thought It Was Breakfast, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

July 4 Dinner Was So Late We Thought It Was Breakfast, Family Camp, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Only Moment of Quiet Reflection, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

The Only Moment of Quiet Reflection, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spreading Rumors and Gossip, Family Camp, July 4, Watson's Walking "G" Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

Spreading Rumors and Gossip, Family Camp, July 4, Watson’s Walking “G” Summer Camp, Northern Sierra, California by David Leland Hyde (Click on Image to See Larger.)

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12 comments

  1. Mark says:

    A bit of wildlife photography I see… 🙂

  2. Ha. Thanks Mark. Wild life photography, or wildlife photography, either way you want to say it. It’s a lot wilder than Genesee usually gets.

  3. Josh says:

    I stumbled across this post after talking to my brother tonight about our time as campers there. Thought I would search for whatever I could find, and this popped up. Thank you for the wonderful photos! It was great to see the place still in use. Gorgeous spot, and wonderful people.

  4. Thanks for your comment. I remember quite a few Josh’s during Camp history. I’m sure you and I at least met each other. Glad you have found memories of your time at Camp. Doris and Bobby G. Watson and other staff were great inspirations to many. I recently reconnected with many old Camp people on Facebook.

  5. Alan Tirrell says:

    I was a junior counselor there in 1969. Where the heck did all those years go? When I heard about the fires going in the area I had to see if the camp was still there and came across the photos. Seeing the pictures of the dining hall brought back all kinds of memories. I hope everyone in the area stays safe. Things are going to look a lot different in the future. I remember warm summer days at Indian Falls. So sad to see the pictures coming from there now. Be safe and give my regards to all the former staff and campers.

  6. Hi Alan, I backdated this reply because we were in mandatory evacuation when you wrote your comment. I was four when you were a junior counselor in 1969. I don’t necessarily remember you, but I do recall your name and people from the Walking G Boys and Girls Camp talking about you and other campers and counselors from back then. Glad you’re looking to see if we made it. The Walking G did survive the Dixie Fire. We were very fortunate, the fire did not even come into Camp or cross Genesee Road. The firefighters saved Bobby Bruce Watson’s main house that Bobby G. Watson built up by the road in the late 1990s and my home as well. For more info on how close a call it was see: https://landscapephotographyblogger.com/dixie-fire-update-on-philip-hyde-studio-and-archive-and-david-leland-hydes-safety/

  7. Jennifer Osburn says:

    OMGosh! Thanks for putting up the pictures. I was a camp counselor there in 1970-1971

  8. Appreciate your comment, Jennifer. So many people have such great memories. The 1970s were epic, as were the 1980s and 1990s. Hope to hear more about your time at the Walking G Summer Camp at some point. I also backdated this reply because you made your comment the very day that most of Greenville burned in the Dixie Fire. Very sad. We will miss our beautiful little Gold Rush town as it was before and wish them the best and help as best I can as they rebuild.

  9. Wendy Logan says:

    I went to Walking G in the summer of 1972. It was owned by Bobby and Doris Watson. The best camp I ever went to. I remember the Saturday night dances, homemade ice cream, Saturday walk to Indian Market to get a candy bar or ice cream, swimming at Burfords, horseback riding every day and the ocassional water ski trip. Also a drive in movie where we saw Bullit. Now many decades later I’m so glad so see photos of it and that it is still in business although owned by other individuals.

    If anyone reads my post, please write back and share your memories. Walking G Forever!

    Hoping the fire doesn’t destroy the greatest camp ever.

  10. Thanks for writing, Wendy. I was as old as the youngest campers in 1972. The Camp is still in the Watson family. It is owned now by Bobby and Doris’ two kids, Bobby Bruce Watson and Judy Ann Watson. The Family Camp people are all Bobby Bruce’s friends from San Diego and elsewhere in Southern California, as well as Bobby’s wife, Brenda’s friends, and her sister Jennifer and Ralf Venne’s friends from Marin County. I am backdating this reply as Grizzly Ridge above Camp was still on fire when you made your comment. The Dixie Fire was not 100% contained until the end of October and our mountain above Camp was some of the last fire line to go from red to black on the incident map. The Grizzly Spot fire jumped all over the mountain and even spotted once right across Indian Creek and upstream from the big diving rock at Burford’s Swimming Hole. However, most of the flame damage is up high on the mountain, or hidden by green surviving trees, out of sight from the Walking G Camp. Signs of the fire, dead trees and burned areas where the fire came down Mt. Jura, can be seen from the Dining Hall and cabins in Camp, but if you squint, it almost seems like nothing has changed. To read more about how our neighborhood was threatened three separate times over the three months of the Dixie Fire go to: https://landscapephotographyblogger.com/dixie-fire-update-on-philip-hyde-studio-and-archive-and-david-leland-hydes-safety/

  11. Kim Schaff says:

    Wow this is so cool !! I as well was a camper as well as Dores’s kitchen helper and laundry girl ! Two of my aunts were a big part of camp back in the day . Jane Schaff was horse instructor and Lori Schaff was water ski instructor . Big Bobby was my drivers training teacher at SM high school . Judy Ann was a girl friend of my brothers Mark Schaff. I’m here in Portola visiting a friend Dec 2021 so cool to see Spanish and Indian falls and all the surroundings. Was Devastated to see what’s the fire had done to Greenville but in the out of all of the buildings that survived the laundromat was still there LOL haven’t driven up to Taylorsville yet but shall do that soon hope it’s still there ! I could go on and on !! Thanks for sharing Kirin

  12. Hi Kim, kind of you to say something here. I remember you. You were not always nice to me at Camp, but I’m sure I deserved it, no doubt, when you weren’t. The Schaff family was a big part of the Watson’s Camp. Jane was a horse wrangling legend and you were much better as Doris’ Helper than I was. I still hang out with Bobby Bruce and his family and I saw Judy Ann in 2019. I know you have treasured memories and are fond of Camp and the area as many are who spent summers here. Hope you get a chance to see Indian Valley. The Dixie Fire destroyed a lot of our beautiful forests of Plumas County, as well as a number of towns including Indian Falls, Canyon Dam, Greenville and a few others. However, Taylorsville was very fortunate. The wind changed at just the right times to save us from as much damage as other areas. The entire town, Rodeo Grounds and campground were spared, mainly due to last minute moderation in the weather as the inferno approached, good firefighting, brave, informed and prepared residents and bulldozer line around all of it. Depending on when you get here, I am home and Morgan, Bobby’s son, will also be here with a few of his friends from San Diego. You are more than welcome to stop by my place, or I’m sure, also welcome to drop by Camp as well.

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