Black Bear Ranch
The Mythical State of Jefferson Permanent
Somes Bar, CA
Mile 102, Malcolm Terence
Black Bear Ranch

THIRTEEN OR FOURTEEN OR WHATEVER HOURS INTO THE FIRST DAY, on the other side of the first appalling tall climb—at the top of which climb, FTR, some of us visited Black Bear Ranch Commune which it as it turns out  was a disappoint on several levels, like for example hygiene—while riding along the California (Cal) Salmon River in the last hour or so of daylight, we randomly-but-for-seriously-serendipitously came upon a venerable MSOJ-looking man out for a walk with his daughter and her Labrador. Malcom Terence we come to find out was also a co-founder of the aforementioned Black Bear Ranch—no comment regarding our hygiene observations. After a dusky riverside chat, Malcom suggested to Cole that he walk back to his truck parked just down the river a bit in order that he could give Cole a copy of a  book about the early days of the commune he happened to have in the back seat of his rig. Malcolm doesn’t visit BBR any more. According to him, it’s not quite the same as when it was founded with funds now primarily coming from the entertainment business and a large LSD deal. But he still lives in the area just down the mountain, alongside the river.

Thirty of us survived that first intense Siskiyou County winter and were swollen with rural bravado. We invited up all the extended family from the Bay Area and beyond. One day Richard Marley, who I always thought of as the founder of Black Bear, called us together to plan for the expected onslaught of visitors. What preparations would be needed? Where would folks stay. That kind of thing. We talked passionately, if inconclusively, around the circle for an hour or more and finally agreed that things would take care of themselves. No planning necessary. People used to think that way in the ’60s.”- Malcom Terence




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