For many years they used to cut a great deal of hay from the nearby meadows. A natural timothy grows, sometimes fully four feet high. A year’s yield would often total fully thirty tons, for which the highest price was paid at the mines.
There was another spring, beside Hunsakers’, about a mile higher up, owned by a friend of the Hunsakers, named Potter. In time he sold this spring to a Mrs. Clark, who finally sold it back to him, when it was bought by Mr. R. Colwell, of Moana Villa. When the Hunsakers grew too old to run their place they sold it to a man named Abbott, who, in due time wished to sell out. But, in the meantime the railroad had surveyed their land, granted by Congress, and found that the springs and part of the hotel building were on their land, so that while Abbott sold all his holdings to Mr. Colwell, he could not sell the main objects of the purchaser’s desire. An amicable arrangement, however, was made between all the parties at interest.
Mr. Colwell is now the owner of all the property.
For countless centuries the Indians of both west and east of Tahoe were used to congregate in the Rubicon country. They came to drink the medicinal waters, fish, catch deer and game birds, and also gather acorns and pine nuts. How well I remember my own visit to the Springs in the fall of 1913. Watson and I had had three delightful days on the trail and in Hell Hole, and had come, without a trail, from Little Hell Hole up to Rubicon. The quaking aspens were dropping their leaves, the tang of coming winter was in the air, mornings and evenings, yet the middle of the day was so warm that we drank deeply of the waters of the naturally carbonated springs. No, this statement is scarcely one of fact. It was warm, but had it been cold, we, or, at least, I should have drank heartily of the waters because I liked them. They are really delicious, and thousands have testified to their healthfulness.
We saw the station of the water company, where a man remains through the year to register the river’s flow and the snowfall. Then we passed a large lily lake to the left,—a once bold glacial lake now rapidly nearing the filled-up stage ere it becomes a mountain meadow—and were fairly on the Georgetown grade, the sixty mile road that reaches from McKinney’s to Georgetown. It is a stern road, that would make the “rocky road to Dublin” look like a “flowery bed of ease,” though we followed it only a mile and a half to leave it for the steep trail that reaches Rock Bound Lake. This is one of the larger of the small glacial lakes of the Tahoe Region, and is near enough to Rubicon Springs to be reached easily on foot.
From a knoll close by one gains an excellent panorama of Dick’s, Jack’s and Ralston’s Peaks. Tallac and Pyramid are not in sight. The fishing here is excellent, the water deep and cold and the lake large enough to give one all the exercise he needs in rowing.
On the summit of the Georgetown road one looks down upon the nearby placid bosom of Buck Island Lake. It received this name from Hunsaker. The lake is very irregular in shape, about a third of a mile long, and a quarter of a mile wide in its widest part. Near one end is a small island. Hunsaker found the deer swam over to this island to rest and sleep during the heat of the day, hence the name.