Tommy Tucker Cave
There is a great road bike ride along the Skedaddle Mountains out to the Nevada state line. Years ago riding along the range Jim Chapman pointed out the Tommy Tucker cave. This came back to me when I was looking for a Memorial Day subject to write about. Tommy Tucker was a Maidu, as a young man he was gifted in music and athletics, he also excelled in his studies. He enlisted for service in World War I and was killed in action in France. He was the first Susanville resident to die in WWI. I still have no idea what his connection was with the cave that is named for him. if anyone out there knows give me a call 257-5136, I’ll do a follow up.
I asked LoCaL Historian, Tim Purdy, how to get there. Our bookkeeper and my new best climbing buddy, Heather, lives out that way so she agreed to be my guide. Trust me when I tell you this IS a climb and not for anyone who’s afraid of heights. Though we saw the trail from the road we totally missed it on the way up and made our way up the rock draw. When we reached the area where we thought the cave should be we found the trail. Sure, now we find it.
Guess what? There were 2 people there. And not just anybody but an Archaeologist from BLM, Marilla Martin and an Archaeologist that specializes in rock conservation, Jannie Loubser. The pictograph at the entrance to the cave had been vandalized with spray paint, which we had heard about BUT they had just finished the removal and restoration. THANK YOU to everyone involved in this project. *These caves are sacred to the local Native American tribes, vandalizing them is no different than vandalizing a church.
We were so lucky (blessed) to see the pictograph with these archaeologists. Jannie Loubser showed us the pictograph on his phone using an app that enhances the image. According to BLM “Native American people used pigment derived from minerals to paint the pictographs onto the cave walls within the last 500 years. They are the only known pictographs in the region where petroglyphs, images pecked into rock surfaces, are the more common form of Native American rock art." What an amazing experience.
It’s up to us to protect these historical sites for future generations. Please be mindful of their delicate nature.
Thank you to Tommy Tucker and all for past and present service to our Country on this Memorial Day!