December 4, 2013

Required Reading: Log of a Timber Cruiser

Writer William Pinkney Lawson spent several months on the crest of the Black Range measuring trees for the nascent Gila Forest Reserve, today's Gila National Forest, circa 1912. He turned the experience into a book, The Log of a Timber Cruiser. It was published in 1915.

Though Lawson spent most of his time in the woods high in the Black Range, he writes about a murder in Hillsboro, his observations of an abandoned Kingston, and about some of the personalities he met along the way. Founder of the Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, called the book a "real record of real things."

Some of those real things including being treed by a mountain lion, facing the harsh elements, catching Gila trout, and getting cleaned up for a fandango and meeting girls at ranch on Black Canyon.

This is a must-read for a look into life a century ago. You can read the book online. Be sure to type in some local place names in the search box to read what Lawson saw. If you want a copy of your own, try Hillsboro bookseller, Aldo's Attic.
--Craig Springer