WHISKEYTOWN, Calif. - Dick McDermott knows these parts as well as any man can. But McDermott says he's never laid eyes on the nearly 400-foot waterfall that park officials recently discovered in a remote corner of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, 43,000 acres of wilderness in northern California.
The 92-year-old used to earn a meager living mining the creeks that meander through the deeply wooded hills. He has slogged through the brush and hiked overgrown logging roads, hunting deer and gathering wood for his homemade fiddles.
"Sure, I was surprised," he said from his home in the park, where he's lived for more than 70 years. "I've been all around that place, I never seen 'em."