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Coming Home to the Sierras: “Feels like far.”

Places I’ve lived…

  • Paradise
  • Sacramento
  • San Jose
  • Davis
  • Berkeley
  • San Francisco
  • Litchfield
  • New York
  • London
  • The Algarve
  • Aix-en-Provance
  • Paris
  • Villiers-Cotteret
  • New York
  • Boston
  • Southport
  • Brooklyn
  • Laguna Beach
  • Seattle
  • Paradise

Bear Claw and Jeremiah Johnson meet for the last time after not seeing each other for a long time.

Bear Claw: You’ve come far, pilgrim.

Jeremiah Johnson: Feels like far.

Bear Claw: Were it worth the trouble?

Jeremiah Johnson: [painfully] Ah, what trouble?

Bear Claw: You cook good rabbit pilgrim. Cold up here.

Jeremiah Johnson: What brings you up so high?

Bear Claw: Grizz!

Jeremiah Johnson: Uh, Grizz.

Bear Claw: Avalanche took the cabin, lost my mule. We swum out of it. No matter, there weren’t no Grizz left anyway.

Jeremiah Johnson: You wouldn’t happen to know what month of the year it is?

Bear Claw: Why no, I truly wouldn’t. I’m sorry, pilgrim. Winter’s a long time going?

Jeremiah Johnson: [exhausted] Ah.

Bear Claw: Stays long this high.

Jeremiah Johnson: March. Maybe, April.

Bear Claw: March maybe. I don’t believe April. March is a green muddy month down below, some folks like it, farmers mostly.

You’ve done well to keep so much hair when so many’s after it.

I hope that you fare well.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mike Austin December 31, 2021, 10:45 AM

    I have seen “Jeremiah Johnson” maybe 50 times. I showed it to every class I could in my 27 years of teaching. My first wife didn’t like it. She said, “Too cold. Too many Indians.” She lasted a year or so.

    Places I’ve lived:

    1. Glendale
    2. Portland
    3. Tulsa
    4. Lackland AFB
    5. Sheppard AFB
    6. Big Spring
    7. San Jose, Costa Rica
    8. Buenos Aires
    9. Oklahoma City

    • KCK December 31, 2021, 10:55 AM

      San Jose, CR. I was there part of one and all of the next summer. Very beautiful. Portland, OR – only for a short summer as things didn’t work out there. Congratulations on your time with the USAF.

    • John G Condon December 31, 2021, 2:45 PM

      St Paul – East Side
      West St Paul
      South St Paul
      St Paul Highland Park
      St Paul – Near Campus
      Wheeling West Virgina – Book Sales Door to Door
      Minneapolis x4 all near the campus

      Good to see you’re still around Scipio

      • Mike Austin December 31, 2021, 3:43 PM

        And it is good to be around, John!

  • Anonymous December 31, 2021, 10:54 AM

    You wouldn’t happen to know what month of the year it is?

    -a point arrived when wondering if I belonged anywhere was solidified as fact that I didn’t.

    Why no, I truly wouldn’t.

    • Mike Austin December 31, 2021, 3:45 PM

      Since I retired two years ago I lose track of the days. I have to check my wall calendar to find out.

      • John G Condon December 31, 2021, 4:03 PM


        “What are Weekends?”

        Glad to see you made your escape.

        • Mike Austin January 1, 2022, 12:05 AM

          “What is a weekend?” Well, I now refer to my life as a “lifetime of Saturdays.” And the first day of the New Year is a Saturday. That is a good omen.

      • gwbnyc December 31, 2021, 4:20 PM

        same, two years last march.

        at RETIRED +.0001 I never wanted to work again.

  • Rob De Witt December 31, 2021, 11:54 AM

    Springfield Il
    Booneville Mo
    San Antonio
    Winfield Ks
    Pampa Tx
    Biddeford Me
    San Francisco
    Eugene Or
    Santa Rosa Ca
    Rohnert Park Ca
    Sebastopol Ca

    Not home yet. But I have become a Catholic, and that’s pretty close.

    • Bruceph December 31, 2021, 12:02 PM
    • Mike Austin December 31, 2021, 3:45 PM

      Welcome home. There is no place like it.

    • Brian_E January 2, 2022, 12:46 PM

      I second our friend Mike’s comment – and also welcome you.
      I was born into a family that were practicing Methodists – but found my way home to the Catholic Church as an adult. Remember that those that inhabit the various offices of the Church are only men, and as such are imperfect – some more than others. This doesn’t diminish the value of the Church, nor it’s deposit of faith.

      • Mike Austin January 2, 2022, 1:18 PM

        So very true. The Magisterium, the Dogma, the Traditions and the Teachings are true whatever the spiritual condition of those that claim to lead the Church.

  • Dirk December 31, 2021, 12:06 PM

    I lived in the Sierra’s atop Donner Pass, grew up between Rocklin and A family cabin at Soda Spring/ Norden.

    My childhood friends, me would wander for miles and miles, in every direction, a magical place. Right below the cabin,,,,, lay a huge meadow, about 1/2 water, summer time, history tells us that it was that meadow, that the trappers of old, and the Native Americans would meet yearly and trade. Seem to recall was a two week annual event. A historical marker is present, it’s directly across the street from Soda Springs Ski area.
    Remember a few years where in college archeology students their Profs, would spend weeks gridding and cataloging artifacts. Strangely I’ve never felt the need to pick old stuff up. I’ve walked past many an arrow head, not there, but Modoc Wars battle sites. I’ve been to all of those sites.

    Anyway living in the mountains is special for me, we’re at 4200 here, would really like to live above 6000, keeps the retards away.

    If your not comfortable in extreme cold, or extreme snow, not the place for you.

    If you couldn’t handle snowed in for a week or two, if your don’t store lots of extra food, firewood, if your not willing to shovel snow,, it’s simple don’t come. Mountain living is special,,,,,,, gods gift to the hearty.

    Great read, one of my favorite movies aswell.

    Speaking of movies, watched “ Don’t Look Up” the movie, fantastic. We also watched BELFAST, the movie recently. Ireland when the troubles were starting Catholics Protestants. Another move mimicking life. Both were refreshing.


  • Joe Krill December 31, 2021, 12:24 PM

    Y’all have me beat by a country mile. Western Pa., Pasadena and the Central highlands for 15 months.

    • Snakepit Kansas January 1, 2022, 5:53 AM

      Thank you for your service. My wife and I spent about five days in Saigon in 2003, but of course it wasn’t a two way shooting range then.

  • downeasthillbilly December 31, 2021, 12:25 PM

    Summers in Appalachians
    Summer in Canadian bush
    Green River
    Rock Springs
    On the Green River
    Green Mountain
    Short Gap
    Fort Ashby
    But my home is my wife

    • Mike Austin December 31, 2021, 3:47 PM

      Now that is Romance! Well done sir!

  • Kevin December 31, 2021, 1:24 PM

    Places I lived in reverse, adding states
    Hendersonville, NC
    Murrieta, CA
    Menifee, CA
    Beaverton OR
    Tigard OR
    San Diego, CA
    Parsippany, NJ with a stop in Philly for 1 yr of college
    Redmond WA late 70s before MS
    Denver, CO
    Plattsburg, NY
    Ft Worth, tx
    Marysville, CA

  • ghostsniper December 31, 2021, 2:38 PM

    I live in the deep forest now.
    Where I lived before doesn’t matter.
    I have come far pilgrim and here I’ll stay.

  • Doug December 31, 2021, 2:43 PM

    New York City
    Santa Barbara
    Fort Macleod
    Tower Hamlets
    Eureka (MT)
    Cranbrook (BC)
    Silver City
    Saint George
    Frederick (MD)

    • Doug December 31, 2021, 2:45 PM

      Selah (WA)
      Newark (OH)

  • Vincent Frodl December 31, 2021, 3:33 PM

    I’ve lived,
    Edinburgh Oh
    Mosherville Mi
    Deerfield Oh
    Mosherville Mi
    Princeton Ky
    Roanoke Ind
    Francesville Ind
    Deerfield Oh
    Napoleon Oh
    We lived outside these small towns, managing
    large hog farms. Until the hog crisis of ’98-99

  • Mark Perkins December 31, 2021, 4:24 PM

    Concord, CA
    Stockton, CA
    Azusa, CA
    Buena Park, CA
    Quantico, VA
    Ft. Knox, KY
    Houston, TX
    Denver, CO
    Papara, Tahiti, French Polynesia

  • Daniel K Day December 31, 2021, 6:09 PM

    Portland, OR
    Seattle, WA
    Renton, WA
    Aurora, CO, alternating with Boulder (during university years)
    Dotsero, then Gypsum, then Eagle, CO (summer job)
    Aurora, CO, alternating with Boulder (during university years)
    Renton, WA
    Sapporo, Hokkaido
    near Portland, OR

  • OutbackMike December 31, 2021, 6:56 PM

    Chula Vista
    College Station

    Good memories at all of them. Bad memories too. But right now I’m happier than I’ve ever been. God has blessed me and my wife, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. Retiring in 2023 from public school teaching. God will have a great plan for me.

    • Mike Austin January 1, 2022, 12:12 AM

      “Good memories at all of them. Bad memories too.” You just described life in one sentence.

      I retired from public school teaching in 2019. Have not been better. Also have not cut my hair in 3 years. I just about live on my Surly bicycles. I cry when I watch dog videos. I laugh when I read the news. I can’t remember the last time I was angry. Life is good.

  • BillDaytona December 31, 2021, 8:55 PM

    Washington Heights, NYC
    Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
    Toms River, NJ
    South Orange, NJ
    Bridgeton, NJ
    Cranbury, NJ
    South Philadelphia
    West Philadelphia
    King of Prussia
    Palmerton, PA
    Daytona Beach

    • Snakepit Kansas January 1, 2022, 6:09 AM


  • Snakepit Kansas January 1, 2022, 6:06 AM

    Marietta, Bellbrook and Xenia OH
    Handful of small towns around Wichita KS
    Spent a ton of time with family around Cross Lanes WVA
    Muntinlupa City, Philippines
    Wichita KS

    Semi-retirement in ~3 years, depending on where my two moneys go to school.

  • jwm January 1, 2022, 6:18 AM

    Hmmm… well, uh…
    My folks moved us from Trenton, Michigan to La Habra California in the winter of 1963. When we got here it felt like heaven.
    Still here, and I don’t regret it. For all its faults, this place still speaks “Home” to me, and I love it. If I had wanted to leave, I would have left. Never wanted to leave.


  • steveaz January 1, 2022, 6:20 AM

    Here’s mine:
    Perth, W. Australia
    Duri, Sumatra
    Ahwaz, Iran
    Bahrain, whatev’
    Rastanura, Saudi Arabia
    Port Angeles, WA
    Seattle, WA
    Forestville, CA
    Canby, OR
    Cornville, AZ
    Flagstaff/Williams, AZ
    Willcox, AZ
    Payson, AZ

    What a long, strange trip it’s been!

  • Will_in_CA January 1, 2022, 7:08 AM

    Carmel, IN
    Greencastle, IN
    Northfield, MI
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Novi, MI
    Troy, MI
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Lake Forest, IL
    Concord, CA
    Danville, CA
    Clayton, CA

    I do not miss much in the Midwest (long, dark, cloudy winters with no sun for six months) and love CA weather but fear I must leave this state once and for all to escape the mask Nazis and never ending lockdowns. I read about life in Florida and it seems those folks are living in a completely different country than Kaliforniastan. Must be nice to live in a free state.

    • Mike Austin January 1, 2022, 8:32 AM

      It is. Oklahoma is about the freest state in America. Best gun laws too—which makes it the freest state in America.

    • ghostsniper January 1, 2022, 8:53 AM

      If you like screemin hot humidity FL is your daisy. I lived in southwest FL for 40 years and left there 15 years ago cause I just couldn’t stand the heat any more. I’ll never go back.

      Oh yeah, it’s crowded as hell too. I’m not much of a people person.

      • gwbnyc January 1, 2022, 9:14 AM

        I’m not much of a people person.

        …man, I had to clutch my pearls.

      • Mike Austin January 1, 2022, 9:16 AM

        You? Not much of a people person? Say it ain’t so, Ghost! Actually, neither am I. I enjoy solitude more and more. I could make the argument that I’ve been mostly alone since I was a lad. But I have never been lonely—not once, not ever. Never been bored either. Or depressed. Or pessimistic. Or nostalgic. As far as I can remember, I’ve never been sad.

        I have been deliriously contented though. Like today!

  • Joel January 1, 2022, 7:46 AM

    I lived in California for about seven years; that’s where my life as Mr. Suburban Man completed its apparently appointed task of falling to pieces. Marriage, career, what remained of my self-respect. Couldn’t wait to leave, hung on there until my daughter was grown and gone and then I vanished like a soap bubble.

    Now I live in the Arizona high country, with an asshole Anatolian mutt in a cabin I built myself. I miss the California weather sometimes, when I think about it, but I don’t miss the noise and all the demands. Seems like what I thought was a proper life was nothing but other people telling me what I owed them, when they never seemed to owe me a thing. In the high desert there’s quiet, and it turns out I really needed that. I won’t be leaving.

    • Mike Austin January 1, 2022, 8:37 AM

      Nor should you. You paid your dues in California. Now you reap their rewards in Arizona. Good call.

  • Jeffrey January 1, 2022, 8:17 AM

    Saginaw, MI
    Lathrup Village, MI
    Pensacola, FL
    Corpus Christi (Padre Island), TX
    Kingsville, TX
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Jacksonville, FL
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Lemoore, CA
    Arlington, VA
    Lemoore, CA
    Arlington, VA
    San Diego, CA
    Arlington, VA
    Virginia Beach, VA……

    • Dirk January 1, 2022, 8:49 AM

      Jeffery, clearly a Navy man,,,,my guess,,,,, an Airedale. Right on.


      • Jeffrey January 3, 2022, 11:46 AM

        Looking at my list, I had to chuckle at the predictability – and I reflected on all of those moves with a growing family over the years. It was a lot to ask of them.

  • Dirk January 1, 2022, 9:01 AM

    Gone thru this three times now, amazing really, seems to be a bunch of “ Rolling Stones”. Nice!

  • G706 January 1, 2022, 9:17 AM

    I’ve been a lot of places, but I still live on the Willamette Valley farm where my Grandparents moved to in 1942, two miles from where I grew up.

  • gwbnyc January 1, 2022, 10:13 AM


    in the film there is a brief discussion of JJ’s rifle being a .32 caliber, Bearclaw remarks a larger caliber a wiser choice. I have read the guns were rebored and rifled when the trappers were done for the season and back in a larger population. Blackpowder residue and moisture are highly corrosive.

    I’ve seen a fair amount of flintlock and percusson “woodsmans” rifles with .75-80 bores, and many smoothbored.

  • H (science denier) January 1, 2022, 12:09 PM

    Doug has me by one. 29 different addresses, that I can think of offhand, might be more but that’s near enough. Ten states but only one foreign country. That one was a doozey, though. It’s just a string of names, so I won’t bore you or myself with listing them.

    Only a couple I’d want to go back to for any length of time.

    Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again.” Who’d want to, I wonder. If it was all that great, you’d have stayed. Sometimes you just got to go.

  • James ONeil January 1, 2022, 12:25 PM

    First twenty one years, lower forty eight; Ohio, Florida, NYC.
    Next sixty two and to date; North Pole and Fairbanks, Alaska.
    Enjoying travel (Should’a said enjoyed, ain’t gonna mask, test, vax to the max to do it now.), usually a month or more at a time. Mostly around the Ring of Fire, the Pacific rim, from the Russian wild, wild far east down to OZ, Bangkok to Puerto Vallarta, Rarotonga to Unalaska, -but always glad to get back up above the 64th parallel.

    T’ain’t for everybody but most definitely my home, sweet, home.

  • MIKE GUENTHER January 1, 2022, 2:17 PM

    I reckon it depends on length of stay.

    San Diego for 16 yrs
    Spent a summer outside Boise ID.
    Lackland AFB for 8 weeks
    Keesler AFB for six months
    Germany for a couple of years
    Back to WNC
    Six different areas of Atlanta over an 8
    year period
    Back to WNC
    Salem, Pickens, Six Mile and West Union, SC, where we reside now.

    But during the last 8 years, I traveled all over the country for work, staying several weeks at a time. Do those count?

    Walnut Creek,CA
    Billings, MT
    Indianapolis, IN
    Shelby, IN
    Washington DC
    Alexandria VA
    Arlington VA
    Silver Springs MD
    Hagerstown MD
    Tampa FL
    Punta Gorda FL
    West Palm Beach FL
    Pompano Beach FL
    Charleston SC
    Virginia Beach VA
    Basically a year all over Connecticut
    Chester NY
    About 7 weeks all over Tennessee
    Santa Fe NM
    Houston TX
    San Antonio TX
    Austin TX
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Des Moines IA
    Lee’s Summit MO
    Kearny MO

    Too many places to remember all the names.

    • Snakepit Kansas January 2, 2022, 6:54 AM

      DAMM MIKE!!! What the hell were you selling?