The Mountains

As a boy, Lester's family had a hard time keeping him in school. All he wanted to do was hunt and fish. As an adult, his love of the outdoors and the natural life continued. Vacations were usually spent exploring the local mountains, prospecting for gold, and hunting.

Each year, beginning around 1890, he and five or six others would visit the mountains for several weeks, hunting and camping. They traveled via a two horse wagon, through Soledad Canyon to Acton, and then up Aliso Canyon. It is likely that during these trips, Loomis became friends with George and Bill Blum, who later would help provide supplies during the building of Loomis Ranch. The trail to Aliso Canyon passed directly through the Blum homesteads.

Lester's first trip to Alder Creek was in 1891. He and his companions, which included Harry Snyder and Lester's brother Ira, camped near the Monte Cristo mine, and went hunting in the Alder Creek area. There was nothing there are the time; Tom Clark later built a cabin in the area. Near the end of their vacation, the Captain found an interesting looking rock and put it in his pocket.

Upon returning to camp, he hammered up the rock and found it full of fine gold – one of the richest pieces he ever saw come out of that part of the country. Little did he know that that rock would shape his future, and he would not be leaving Alder Creek.

He went right back the next day to trace the rock, but was unable to find any sign of a vein or ledge. Each year after that when taking a vacation he would go hunting in the area and search for the source of the gold. While Lester was away in Alaska, his brother Ira continued the hunt.

Lester continued to vacation in the area, camping, hunting and prospecting. As the area developed, he was able to travel by rail to Acton. They traveled from Acton by wagon team for some fourteen miles, before continuing on burros to Alder Creek.
Captain Loomis with daugh
As his daughters got older, they began to accompany him on his vacations. During one trip in August, 1909, Lester, Anna, and Hazel bagged three deer, two by Hazel. A Los Angeles Times article on August 24, 1909, proclaimed this a record for a woman. Hazel spotted the first buck early in the day, but could not get a clear shot until she had tracked the animal for five miles. After following the big buck for two hours, she crawled to within 200 yards of the animal. Her first shot brought him down.

A few days later, Hazel and Lester both fired at a two point buck and missed. Hazel, first to reload, brought him down with a shot through the neck. A third animal was bagged by Lester a few days before the end of the trip. A very successful hunting trip for a father and his daughters.

For another account of Hazel's hunting prowess, see the story "Hazel the Huntress" by Elsie Lenton Corwin.

[Initial Version: 02/01/07]
[Sources: Lester Loomis Journals, LA Times articles, The Elsie Corwin Stories, interview with Elizabeth Blum Billet]