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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Monday, October 21, 2013

A 93-year-old lives off the land in the California Wilderness

Jack's Santa Lucia Mountains, Big Sur, CA

Days Gone Bye
The 93-Year-Old Legend Living Off the
Land in the California Wilderness

(Editor  -  93 year old Jack English is living the Jeremiah Johnson dream that pulls at the hearts of so many of us.  It brings to mind the Golden State of old before so-called "progress" gave us the gifts of overpopulation, pollution, slums, gang wars and endless traffic jams.)

There’s a man living in the Ventana Wilderness in central California’s Santa Lucia Mountains who has been the fascination of many for years. Why? Because he’s 93 years old, lives alone five miles from the nearest road (the way he likes it) and has a different view of life.

“I’m just different than most people. I’d rather go back than go ahead,” Jack English said in a recent video by filmmaker Grace Jackson. It’s one of several videos and photo stories featuring the man who makes violin bows.
Living in a cabin made from materials off the land, English can go up to two weeks without seeing a single person reports The Blaze.

He said he “fell in love” with the area when he first stepped foot on it, coming to hunt deer at 11 years old. Decades later he learned an isolated parcel was being auctioned and he bought it.
“I think the main thing is that it doesn’t change,” he said of the property. “It seems to be the same as when I first come here.
He had always wanted to set up his permanent residence there, but his wife, Mary, and other responsibilities prevented him from doing so. It was on his last visit to the hospital where Mary was being treated for cancer that she gave him permission to move there after she died. And he did.

“Life has its problems, but it’s like my wife always said, ‘it’s how you contend with those problems that will be the result,’” he said. “I look back and I really did have a good life.”

“I’m different, I know, and this is an individual thing,” he continued. “It’s the kind of life I like, and that’s why I’m here and that’s where I hope I’m going to be ’til the end. Maybe with luck I can make it.”

Jack English
Jack lives alone on an isolated piece of property in
California’s Ventana Wilderness.
(Image source: Vimeo screenshot)

Jack's cabin.
Jack English, a widower in his 80's, owns land in the middle of Pine Valley in Ventana Wilderness. He stays here during the summers, constructing bows for string instruments. The bows are prized by professional musicians around the world for their fine craftsmanship and materials. Jack uses rare hardwoods from rain forests, mother of pearl for inlays and the finest hair for the bowstrings.
Jack invites hikers into his cabin for tea and to share stories. He owns a home in Soquel up Rodeo Gulch. Jack's wife, Mary, who passed away in 2000, started a lovely garden with strawberries and fruit trees, and Jack continues the garden in her honor.

The meadow above Jack's cabin.

A picture of Mary English. We do believe Jack English wrote
“scrumptious” on this photograph.
(Image source: Vimeo screenshot)

Jack's Mountains.
This is what the entire state of California used to be.
Now it is mostly wall-to-wall traffic jams, smog and gang wars.

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