The Day the Mountain Melted

No one can deny that Southern California’s 2018 Monsoon Season has been one heck of a lalapalooza. When retired school principal Tom left his home in the high desert on July 12, 2018 to visit his adult son at his other home in Big Bear City, he had no idea he would soon face nature’s fury on State Highway 18.

It was cloudy, especially towards the top of the mountain, but Tom wasn’t concerned as it wasn’t raining yet where he was. However, a stationary thunderstorm cell was dumping over Big Bear City and Baldwin Lake for over an hour.

After Tom passed by the Mitsubishi Cement Plant on his right at about 12:30 p.m. and followed his well-beaten path, he was suddenly confronted with an astonishing sight. A surreal wall of mud and debris careened down the road toward him…

Take a short walk on this quiet mountain trail, surrounded by pines and open spaces, and you see it up ahead. White crosses in a semi-circle, around the gnarled truck of a tree. So, what have you stumbled into here? Well, give us a minute or two and we’ll tell you about the mountain town that refused to live.

Here, just above the highway, are about 25 marked graves in the little cemetery that served the town mining town known as Doble. The names of those interred here, except for one child, are a mystery. crosses were placed here by Boy Scouts during the 1940s.

Before it was Doble, the place was known as “Bairdstown.” It came to life after the brothers Carter filed four gold mining claims in 1873, on the mountainside that now wears their name. The utterance of the word ‘gold’ was usually all it took, and the rush was on, probably before the brothers finished unpacking their picks and shovels…

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