Kenneth Roxroth was a poet, essayist, translator, painter, and radical philosopher. Although he gained prominence during the Beat movement in San Francisco, his work was not limited to that period.
In 1928, while hiking along the ridges and valleys of Marin, Rexroth discovered a cabin near Stairstep Falls. It was a small structure, less than 10 feet square with a fireplace built from stone: "The door was open, there were pots and pans, an oil lamp, some old quilts hung up out of the way of mice and wood rats, and a primitive shower bath built over the stream. In the still autumn twilight, with the yellow maple leaves falling over it, cabin, clearing and waterfall looked just slightly ominous, like something in a fairy story."
Later on, a more substantial cabin was built in the next gully. "It was considerably larger and stood directly over the confluence of two cascades, like the retreat of some Japanese Buddhist saint. . . . Whenever I had some thorny literary job to do, I would go over and work in solitude until it was done. Then the property became a State park and I was evicted."
The cabins are no longer there and the remnants have long since been removed. Several years ago a number of people in the community worked on putting up a marker to honor the location. Unfortunately, this was not successful and this cache is the only recognition of Rexroth's stay in the Gulch.
I walked about 1.2 miles to the cache location. You can take the fire road most of the way, but the trail along the creek (conveniently marked as "trail") is highly recommended. During spawning season, you may be able to see Coho, although the numbers that Rexroth described in some of his poetry have long since diminished. Even at other times of the year, the watershed provides its own beauty -- when I placed the cache I did not see any salmon, but a blue heron was just off the path.
This cache is not placed at the site of the cabin, but at a location overlooking where Rexroth might have hiked. For most part, it is a very easy walk, with a short uphill section at the end. Please return the container exactly as you found it and make sure that it is hidden.
The cache contains a book of Rexroth's shorter poems that should be left in it. Some other books were originally included in the cache – including works by Gary Snyder, Peter Blue Cloud, and Nanao Sakaki. Please trade only for comparable books that Rexroth might have appreciated; note what you have traded in your online log.
For a longer hike, the trail continues into GGNRA land -- with some beautiful hills and ridges beyond and the excellent Call of the Crow at the fringes of the state park.
For more information about Rexroth, be sure to visit the Bureau of Public Secrets or a Modern American Poetry biographical summary.