"I went on several hunting trips that fall . The strangest thing happened on that trip. When we arrived at the pack station late that night, for some reason, instead of going into the cabin and sleeping, we all slept in the trucks. About three in the morning a loud roaring noise woke us up. All of us sat up in the back of the truck to see the cabin completely engulfed in flames. Just like that, it burned to the ground in minutes.
We were so confused by what happened. We counted heads and couldn't find Jim Slaughter. After several frantic moments, he came out from under the big rig. We were all present and accounted for. None of us had been inside that cabin. Since it hadn't been used in a couple of weeks, what had started that fire? We will never know.
In reality it was the beginning of the end for John and the pack station. The Forest Service had revoked all the leases and was making plans to turn that whole National Forest area back into wilderness. I felt so bad for John. His whole way of life in those mountains was coming to an end. John, the man who turned my life around. The man who meant everything to me.
Unbeknownst to us, the Forest Service was planning on burning down all of the cabins up in the high country. There would no longer be shelter for hikers, campers, or riders to take refuge in if bad weather stranded the. Gone forever would be all of the history engraved on those cabin walls. There were names and dates of hundreds of visitors spanning over seventy-five years. Grand, sturdy log cabins built by Sam Lewis and others in that wild country, gone. They didn't care. I couldn't imagine it.
There was one more trip after that to take in a last group of hunters and pack up all of our belongings. With an immense sense of sadness, I relished every moment of what I was sure was my very last pack trip. If only I had known then that they were going to burn all the cabins down, I would have taken many more pictures, but on that last trip, I didn't even have my camera with me. So I had to make sure the images were imprinted forever in my mind.
I rode to all of my favorite places. I spent time in the high cabin at Deer Mountain thinking about all of my secret times there with Jim and later with my husband.
I rode all of the secret trails where I had heard spirits sing to me. Their voices still sang to me. They were happy for me, wished me well, and whispered that my life now had meaning and not to be sad about leaving this place. It would always be deep inside my heart. This way of life I cherished would fade from my memories, but never completely be extinguished.
I rode back to the cabin that last evening, unsure of what the future held, but knowing it would be wonderful. I had been told it would be by all of my friends in the spirit world. They had all been part of my growth during those seven years.
The Ancients, the Sierra Lady Pack Station, and a man named John Slaughter."
Roni Goss at Dutch John Flat