Buying Acreage in Trinity County, California

Homesteaders buying acreage in Trinity County, California share their experiences, includes tips on gathering water and living without electricity.

| September/October 1977

  • Homesteaders share about buying acreage in Trinity County, California.
    Homesteaders share about buying acreage in Trinity County, California.
    By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

  • Homesteaders share about buying acreage in Trinity County, California.

Information on buying acreage in Trinity County, California and creating a thriving homestead.

Buying Acreage in Trinity County, California

In 1963 my wife (Carol) and I bought 20 acres of wooded land in northern California's Trinity County, near Weaverville. It took us a full ten years to muster the courage to cut our city ties and move to that mountain property . . . but we finally did it. (The decision was easy to make when Carol — who was more than ready for the switch — finally said to me: "Either we move onto that land or we sell it!" Naturally, we moved.)

Our private Eden is a remote tract of :crest located at the end of two miles of dirt road that climbs to an elevation of 3,300 feet. Those "in the know" shook their heads when we announced our intention of establishing a year-round home back in the woods. "Too much snow, poor road, no power, and no water," we were told.

As it turned out, our biggest obstacle — initially — was not the snow, the road, or the lack of utilities, but the building codes. The Powers That Be had laid down so many strictures governing log home construction that I finally decided to sell the raw timber I'd planned to build with and use the money to buy framing lumber for an 800 square-foot chalet.

My father-in-law — a handy fellow who lives in not-too-distant Mendocino — helped me put the lodge up in two weeks' time. (I'm still finishing the inside of it after three years.) As you might expect, 800 square feet of living space isn't a whole lot for four people (my wife and me and the two boys), but when the boys leave home, at least Carol and I won't be the "little old couple in the big house"!

Since moving up to the mountain, we've learned that we can do without most of the things we once thought were necessities. Running water is a good example. For our first two and a half years here, we packed water in from a nearby creek. Now we have a gravity flow water system, the central element of which is a 1,100-gallon concrete septic tank buried on a hillside about 90 feet above the house. (The tank is kept full by a small gasoline-engine pump that — with the aid of about a quart of petrol every two weeks — sends all the water we need up to the tank from a nearby spring.)

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