Asa Camp was long and lean.
He knew ambitions’ burn.
My granddad said he wasn’t mean,
But his countenance was severe, his manner stern.
He headed west in ’49,
His goal, the mother lode,
And though great fortune wouldn’t shine,
He bowed his neck and held fast to his road.
The trail to Hangtown took a toll,
Leaving many defeated and numb,
But Asa’s shoulders let it roll.
Old Asa would prevail and not succumb.
He panned along the south fork,
On the American’s rugged banks,
Till his bones grew stiff from overwork,
But he finished each day with thanks.
Despite long hours and frugal means,
He sought success in vain.
Surviving on sourdough and beans,
And whistling as he smiled through the pain.
Undeterred, he took up freighting,
And hauled among the camps,
Through summers’ devastating heat,
And winters’ dews and damps.
Freighting through the choking dust,
And through the deepest mud,
Till Asa won the mountain’s trust,
And the High Sierras coursed within his blood.
The mountains were his challenge.
The mountains were his prize.
The mountains were his confidant,
And the wild Sierras shone from Asa’s eyes.
At last old Asa took a wife,
And settled on Reservoir Hill,
Where he raised a family free from strife,
And ruled by an iron will.
His daughters wed, and birthed a brood,
To populate the West,
But Asa cherished solitude,
And spent his days in the mountains he loved best.
Asa was Granddad’s granddad,
And my hope, as you may surmise,
Is to live my life as Asa lived,
And die with the wild Sierras in my eyes.
January 28, 2013