Sunday, March 8, 2009
THE LONE WOLF OF THE SIERRAS
For many years after Monte Wolf's disappearance, his main cabin was kept in repair by a group of interested citizens from Calaveras County calling themselves The Friends of Monte Wolf Society. The trail to the one remaining is difficult to find, but Monte hasn't been forgotten. People still remember him, his haunts and wonder what could have happened to him? No trace of Monte was ever found.
Harry Schimke (pictured above) made a point of trying to find out what could have happened to Monte. He voiced three credible theories:
When the Lindord's went looking for Monte, they found his lower cabin door ajar. There was a dead cat inside, all skeletonized. The cabins were about 7 miles apart deep in the Stanislaus canyons. At his upper cabin was another dead cat. His furs were still hanging. He hadn't shipped them. It was obvious he meant to come back. Fred Day, and others, believed that Louis Bauer made good on his promise to kill him. Day put the question to Bauer at the Camp Connell Store. "What happened to Wolfe?" Bauer answered, "I'll tell you what happened to Wolfe..." but someone came in the store and Bauer clammed up. People who knew Bauer gave that theory some weight.
But the most plausable theory is that he went fishing. Others who knew him said his fishing creel and his favorite pole were missing. In April when the snow is melting, the runoff in those streams can grind you up and tuck you away. The turbulent water would be filled with boulders and pieces of broken timber. But why would Monte stop in the middle of breakfast, (there were bisquits drying on the oven door) and suddenly go fishing? Unless he was called away from his meal by someone he knew, Bauer? Slim Hinton, who knew him claimed he had an efficient fish trap on the river and a dozen log bridges across the river where he crossed frequently and hung out. He knew better than to tangle with a melt swollen creek.
"Monte was in the process of building a new cabin," explained Harry. "Harold Lombardi and my brother Art ran into it one time on horseback. It was already head high and sitting on a beautiful flat spot next to the river around Grouse Creek. Monte's tools were still laying around the site. After Monte disappeared Bill Lunsford and I went on foot looking for that cabin. from Grouse Valley, to Camp Irene and down river to Grizzly Ski Area, every flat possible. The spot that Harold pointed out as the new cabin site sat below a 200 to 250 foot bluff. The river sits in front of it. Trees become airborne and are sheared 75 to 100 feet in the air. At the foot of the bluff is the debris typical of avalanche. Avalanches are common there. I think he could have been trapped by an avalanche.
No one knows what killed Monte Wolf, but his exploits are still talked about today.
To be Continued...