Friday, August 31, 2012

Fozzie Completes the Appalachian Trail

"Fozzie," one of many thru hikers I met on the PCT in 2010, just finished the Appalachian Trail this week. Here's a video he recorded from the top of Mt. Katahdin, the northern terminus located in Maine.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last of the Old Growth Redwoods

Footage from the 1960's...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Man and Technology

I've been reading for the second time "From the Redwood Forest" by Joan Dunning, and a particular observation of hers has been running through my mind the last couple of days. In the book she writes:

"Perhaps men cannot help clear cutting. The technology is too new to have been tempered by natural selection. And the drives that propel men-to provide for family, to be the biggest, to conquer the most-are perhaps too old to be easily corralled. Technology has put powerful tools in men's hands. A Fish and Wildlife biologist overheard loggers, unaccustomed to being asked by their superiors to clear cut, stand back and survey a wasteland of their creation.
     "Wow, can you believe we did that?"

This is such a profound insight in my opinion. The power of technology and it's consequences has yet to be fully understood at the moment, especially when placed in the hands of men who are simply acting on their natural instincts. On a related note, I have to wonder whether or not we as humans are used to thinking about the big picture when we "work." I know I'm not. Just the other day, I was in the office and I had a list of chores to get done. My mind was focused on the job at hand. I was trying to finish the job as quickly and efficiently as possible. Yes, there were forces in the back of my mind at play, supervisors and bosses to keep in good standing. I simply wanted to honor the task at hand and do a good job. It wasn't until I was almost finished that the thought popped in my mind to consider all of the resources I was using, where they came from, what it means to be using them, just to complete a few tasks.  I was using far more resources than I usually do on a given day. Everyone in the office simply felt relieved that the job was done for the day. We simply don't think about the big, big picture and what it all means.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

222 Redwoods Confirmed Over 350 ft!

Check out this amazing list on the Native Tree Society web forum. It has just been completed by Michael Taylor and his team of tree measuring scientists and naturalists. I was hiking in Montgomery Woods this morning pondering the difficulties one must encounter to measure these trees. The windows are so limited it seems just to be able to view the top. These guys nail it time and time again, confirming the tallest trees in every remaining grove. LIDAR has been used recently, which is a form of laser technology deployed from a plane in order to find the tallest trees. It's pretty spectacular that Michael Taylor and Chris Atkins discovered and measured the tallest redwood before LIDAR was ever used.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Redwood Therapy

I took a quick hike in Montgomery Woods this afternoon for some redwood therapy. It was very warm in the grove today. Mostly felt thankful and received some clarity for direction and purpose...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Earth First! Blocks Sierra Pacific Sawmill Entrance

Here's a recent article from the Earth First! website. Old growth logging continues. These are your forests America... -Mark
old growth trees in an SPI clearcut plan 2012, Mattole watershed, Humboldt County, California

Earth First! Blocks Sierra Pacific Sawmill Entrance
Manila, Ca. – 30 Earth First! activists protesting Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) logging practices rallied peacefully outside the gates of SPI’s Arcata mill on Monday, demanding a stop to the company’s logging of old-growth.
“We’re here to expose SPI’s destructive logging” said Jeremy Jensen. “They claim to be sustainable under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative label but SPI intensively clear-cuts and logs old-growth forests all over California.”
Demonstrators blocked the logging truck entrance to the mill, holding banners reading “SFI is a scam” and “Stop old-growth logging.” They stood in front of a truck trying to enter the mill, disrupting logging traffic for half an hour.
In addition, three activists delivered a list of demands directly to the administration office at the mill stating in part that EF! Humboldt wants “Sustainable, light, selection logging, restoration of wildlife habitat and a rate of harvest that restores rather than depletes the forest.”

Earlier in the day, an activist was handcuffed and detained by police in Arcata while hanging a banner on an overpass that read “Sierra Pacific Logs Old-growth”. He was later released with a warning.
The activists cite two examples of SPI’s clear-cutting and old-growth logging plans in Humboldt County. One, a 245 acre logging plan in the Mattole River and Bear River watersheds, and another in Redwood Creek totaling 241 acres. Click here to view photos.
In the 21st century the remaining old growth forests have incalculable value and these private timber corporations are stealing them from under our noses.  Forests like this need to be protected, and clear-cut logging needs to stop,” said Elise Gerhart.
The SPI timber company owns 1.9 million acres, making it the second largest private landowner in North America. The bulk of this land lies in the forests of northern California.  The company’s logging practices are certified sustainable by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
SFI is one of the largest certifiers of logging operations in the country. It was originally created by the American Pulp & Paper Association. For more information click here.

Earth First! is an international movement dedicated to using direct action to protect threatened ecosystems from runaway resource extraction.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

 I spent more time this weekend exploring Humboldt Redwoods State Park. I've wondered how many days it would take a person or person's to explore every nook and cranny of this park. Thankfully, visiting about once a month, there is still plenty of land to explore and trees to visit.
 Climbing rope tied to branch extending into the tree's canopy (above)
My trip began Friday afternoon after working on the coast. After stopping in Ft. Bragg for dinner and groceries, I slowly made my way up the coast. It was a real treat to make my way towards Humboldt Redwoods State Park in the late afternoon, instead of the morning like I usually do.
 I arrived at my destination just before sunset and backpacked to my usual stealth camping spot. It wasn't long before I heard the sounds of the frogs croaking in the creek. I watched bats flying over the creek eating insects, executing some incredible feats of flight in the process. After quickly setting up camp, the sun went down and I began drifting off to sleep. For some reason, there seemed to be a lot of things falling. Leaves, twigs, small branches. I kept waking up to the sensation of debris falling from above onto my tarp. I'm beginning to wonder if it's even possible to have a restful night's sleep in the redwoods.
 For the most part, I did sleep pretty well. At one point in the middle of the night, I woke up to a full moon rising above the creek. I had to wonder how often the full moon can be seen in these woods, with no fog to block the view. The redwoods were glowing in the moonlight, especially the trees with the light toned bark. It  looked really cool. It almost looked like someone had a spotlight in the woods, shining the light upwards into the canopy. If only my camera could capture the moment.
 I began my day around 6:30 am and began exploring the forest for big trees where I left off last time. The largest tree of the day was a 46 foot cbh (circumference breast height) tree that I found around noon. A spectacular tree. Above, is a 48 footer, but since it's two trees mashed together, I don't count it. A fantastic twin though.
 The weather was a little peculiar Saturday. At points, it looked like it was going to rain, and it was really warm and humid in spots. After lunch, I had a raging headache, I think due to straining my neck and looking up in different directions all morning. I made sure I was well hydrated, so I knew it wasn't dehydration.
 This particular section of forest had a lot of visitors. I found that somewhat amusing. To me, this place seemed more remote or mysterious than other places I have been where I have not seen anybody all day.
 I was visited by the late afternoon blues on Saturday. I was planning on spending another night, but decided to call it a trip. Tick and poison oak fears had entered my mind, and I was craving a shower and a good night's rest. Besides, I'd rather have more territory to explore for next month's trip.
Just a couple of observations: I heard someone recently compare the silence in the redwood forest to the woods after a snowfall. I think that is a very good comparison. The hushed silence in the redwood forest is one of it's endearing qualities. It is very much like the woods after a snowfall. I noticed it on Saturday when I was hiking along the trail 75 feet or so above the forest floor. As the trail began to descend onto the flood plain, the hushed silence took over and was more noticeable.
Also, where I was hiking, there doesn't tend to be a lot of automobile traffic. However, from time to time, there are trucks that make their way down the pot hole covered road. The banging sound from these trucks is incredible. In the redwoods, the sound carries and echoes as if the trucks were driving in a concert hall.
I have no idea what these trucks look like, but the sound is the same every time. It just sounds so different in the forest.
 Founder's Grove (above)
 Eel River looking towards Founder's Grove (above)
Part of me wonders if there ever will be a day when automobiles are banned from the "Avenue of the Giants." Imagine only being able to walk, hike, bicycle, or ride a horse into the groves. Perhaps a periodic shuttle bus. Then the silence could be restored.

Overall, another memorable redwood experience.