Friday, August 30, 2013

Muir On Forests


quotes from

'Our National Parks' by John Muir - Sierra Club

The American Forests, chapter 10 of 'Our National Parks' by John Muir (1901). ... Even the fires of the Indians and the fierce shattering lightning seemed to work ...

Travelers through the West in summer are not likely to forget the fire-work displayed along the various railway tracks. Thoreau, when contemplating the destruction of the forests on the east side of the continent, said that soon the country would be so bald that every man would have to grow whiskers to hide its nakedness, but he thanked God that at least the sky was safe. Had he gone West he would have found out that the sky was not safe; for all through the summer months, over most of the mountain regions, the smoke of mill and forest fires is so thick and black that no sunbeam can pierce it. The whole sky, with clouds, sun, moon, and stars, is simply blotted out. There is no real sky and no scenery. Not a mountain is left in the landscape. At least none is in sight from the lowlands, and they all might as well be on the moon, as far as scenery is concerned.

There will be a period of indifference on the part of the rich, sleepy with wealth, and of the toiling millions, sleepy with poverty, most of whom never saw a forest; a period of screaming protest and objection from the plunderers, who are as unconscionable and enterprising as Satan. But light is surely coming, and the friends of destruction will preach and bewail in vain.

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed,--chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in the place of the old trees-tens of centuries old-that have been destroyed. It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods,--trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ's time-and long before that- God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools,--only Uncle Sam can do that.


It's a curio, that the Liberal Arts education curriculum all across Colleges and Universities will have courses dedicated to the likes of Shakespeare, Milton, and groups like Emerson and
Thoreau, Poe and Melville, and omit Muir.   I know somehow some of Muir got into Kerouac and the Beats via Gary Snyder, and into myself as well!, but I haven't located that! (but it's likely here:

Poets on the Peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac Paperback

This post came about recalling Muir reporting a Sierra fire back then that was huge and burned unchecked for months.   A notion has developed that Western Forests had a set routine of fires, like every five years, every twelve years, and the LA Times did a piece today about National Park fire policy. 


Let it burn? Yosemite park officials won't say that, but it's policy

Unless a naturally occurring fire threatens lives or structures, Yosemite and other national parks are likely to let nature run its course.,0,5188654.story?page=2

end link

My intention hereabout (my GG, Orange County home), if I can ever get the house squared away!, is to revisit the many hiking spots in SoCal, one on list being Cuyamaca, which is recovering from the 2003 fire in San Diego County...


Cuyamaca Peak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cuyamaca Peak is a mountain in San Diego County roughly 40 miles (64 km) ... In October 2003, the Cedar Fire, the largest fire in recorded California history, ...
end link
In Muir's piece, he gives a brief history of forest management by US, which began with setting aside forests of Eastern Live Oak, and Cedar, for the Navy.   Now, it was the anniversery of one of the sea battles of the USS Constitution a few days back (I follow up often the little 'this day in history' notes posted on web or newspapers,  (it was one such that set me off on the USS Panay--I'm partial to ship biographies!), and preserving the USS Constitution became a dilemma after time, as there were no Live Oaks left!...brb...
Live oak wood is hard, heavy, and difficult to work with, but very strong. In the days of wooden ships, live oaks were the preferred source of the framework timbers of the ship, using the natural trunk and branch angles for their strength. The frame of USS Constitution was constructed from southern live oak wood harvested from St. Simons Island, Georgia, and the density of the wood grain allowed it to survive cannonade, thus earning it the nickname "Old Ironsides". Even today, the U.S. Navy continues to own extensive live oak tracts.[
end quote
A curio I cant pass up, on thinking on these ships, is that the USS Constitution has five sisters...brb...
The United States Congress authorized the original six frigates of the United States Navy with the Naval Act of 1794 on 27 March 1794 at a total cost of $688,888.82.
and the USS Panay had five sisters...brb...
 To accommodate its increased responsibilities on the river, the Navy constructed six new gunboats in Shanghai in 1926-1927 and commissioned in 1928 to replace four craft originally seized from Spain during the Spanish-American War that had been patrolling since 1903. All were capable of reaching Chungking at high water, and two year-round. USS Luzon and Mindanao were the largest, USS Oahu and Panay next in size, and USS Guam and Tutuila the smallest.
end quote
One can look high and low in College and University History curriculums for these sisters, and be maybe lucky, as I have been, to find a 'this day in history...'

5 The frigates

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rim Fire

Now and then updates are added to this post, so scroll down aways for those...

Here' s a site with looks to have begun in the Tuolumne River Gorge thereabout along 120 nearing Groveland, 120 being route I've often rolled along, and visit friends with home thereabout...

and here is where those maps came from:

which is a link I should put on the side sister was photog for Fallbrook newspaper, and this time of year, I'd ride along, or just look down the street, recalling one New Years near run thing!

The Sierra Suntimes does a good on the link and then click on their home button for latest...

a note to my sister after reading that update...

yes...too hot...saw on web rockslide in Kern Canyon...seems they've redirected it north, so Groveland and Pine Lake okay...watched clip at that Suntimes site I linked taken by tanker dropping's burning up around five six thousand, where forest is on Suntimes home button for latest... update, Wednesday... SierraSunTimes didn't have much this afternoon, but the map, posted up above, and that link is just above here, and the second map is from topo site, see link, and it shows the hiking trails that go down into the Tuolumne Canyon, and those familiar with this trail, and with maps, can see from how close the topo lines are together how steep the trail is coming from White's about a five mile downhill hike to Pate Valley, and about a five hour hike up from Pate Valley!...I thought today the fire would be controlled, and stopped at Hetch Hechy, and maybe it is very hard to sort through the media's reports!...after Hetch Hechy, I think the the only fall back is White Wolf and 120, by this I mean where resources can be staged, and a fireline made of sorts...when I was a kid, there were firebreak bulldozed dirt roads all over the local foothills here in Orange County, now a kinda moot observation, as there are homes and roads all over the foothills now!...trying to work on my house hereabout, I can go like twenty minutes before feeling faint, the heat, and my age!, being cause, so my hat's off to the some five thousand fire fighters, it must be a most difficult and trying effort!...often at Last Chance I've seen them come in for dinner and such, the strong scent of pine turpentine smoke in the's link to wed. afternoon map...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Parrots Over Target

Red Crowned Parrots...I have Red Crown pics and clips maybe from Bakersfield too...know Parrots frequent Hart Park, and my nieces Almond Tree, thereabout...brb...
here's link to overview of Parrots in US...


Native to the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa, rose-rings are lovely—and noisy. Plus, they're popular with aviarists. In 1977, when a powerful windstorm blew the roof off a Bakersfield, California, aviary, two pairs escaped. Their descendants have since thrived among the city's imported palms, fruit trees, and backyard bird feeders.


and here at youTube the trailer for The Parrots of Telegraph Hill made in San Francisco..

Monday, August 5, 2013


I happened upon the word, Saturnalia, while reading some desultory things (rense!), which I do now and then...these sites do provoke, but also somehow help me latch on to curios!,  and having been tugged to Saturnalia, I then happened on Pileus... 

I don't for the most part name hereabout Critters with their scientific names (linnaeus!), but since these names are made from long gone languages, Latin and Ancient Greek, the names often have something of those times and cultures...I'm partial to the Bronze Age!...anyway, reading on the Saturnalia, I happened on the word "Pileus", which is Hat, and of course the root of Pileated, or Hatted, and Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus!  See links...  These Hats were worn during the Saturnalia, cone shaped they are,  and referred to as Freedom Hats, and during the Saturnalia some cultural norms were suspended...don't know but nowadays such suspension is year round!

Maybe I can find Dryocopus...brb... The name Dryocopus comes from the Greek drus, an oak tree and kopos, a cutter.

The Granite Monolith beside Nevada Falls is named Liberty Cap, but I don't know if that was because of its cone shape, which it has!


LIBERTY CAP has had four other names, Mt. Frances, Gwin’s Peak, Bellow’s Butte (after a Boston clergyman) and Mt. Broderick. It is the glaciated peak on the north side of the Merced River next to Nevada Fall. When Governor Leland Stanford was visiting Yosemite in 1865, he and James Hutchings visited Nevada Fall. The Governor proclaimed his dislike for all of the names, and, looking at an old fashioned half dollar, supposedly produced by Hutchings, he saw the resemblance between the peak and the cap of liberty on the coin and decided that CAP OF LIBERTY was more appropriate.

well, I lost it, (and found it!:
Ansel Franklin Hall - 1920 - ‎Yosemite Valley (Calif.)
The old register, which dates back to 1871, is in the Yosemite Museum. Liberty Cap (Alt. 7072), which the Indians called Mah'ta or "Martyr Mountain," towers) ...but one site had an Indian name, Ma'hta. or like, which translated to "Martyr", which suggests a story...landmarks were part of stories to the Indians, I'd say, and ancient Greeks as well...

According to German biologist Ernst Haeckel, the question of man's origin began with Linnaeus. He helped future research in the natural history of man by describing humans just as he described any other plant or animal.[133] He was the first person to place humans in a system of biological classification[
end quote

And, I googled google images "liberty cap coin"  and couldn't find the "half dollar" noted, but it was a common motif on early coins, and likely back then, well...brb...

Actually, the Liberty cap as an emblem of liberty was used by the Sons of Liberty as early as 1765. During the American Revolution, particularly in the early years, many of the soldiers who fought for the Patriot cause wore knitted stocking liberty caps of red, sometimes with the motto "Liberty" or "Liberty or Death" knitted into the band. This style of cap was traditional in the North East (having been popular with the French Voyagers) and became immensely popular during the Revolution.

and earlier in text of origin for quote:

I believe the French still call it a Scythian cap (see below). It was one of the most notable items of ancient Scythian costume. After the decline of Scythian power, the Athenians used Scythian police. The Romans kept the Scythian police after they conquered Greece, and that is probably how the cap entered European consciousness. How the cap cropped up in 18th century France, I don't know. (But I'm curious.)
end quote

Comes to mind here, is Pileated Woodpeckers red Topknot!  And wearing such a cap at Saturnalia, insomuch it was what the Scythian Police wore (a speculation), makes a fit with the 'reversals' of norm at Saturnalia...

And the Liberty Cap resembles the Phrygian Cap, which I learn from this forum thread, is what the Trojan Paris is depicted thread...

And here I find the coin!

The cap's last appearance on circulating coinage was the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which was minted through 1947 (and reused on the current bullion American Silver Eagle).
end quote

and this in that passage too...

In 1854, when sculptor Thomas Crawford was preparing models for sculpture for the United States Capitol, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later to be the President of the Confederate States of America) insisted that a Phrygian cap not be included on a statue of Freedom on the grounds that, "American liberty is original and not the liberty of the freed slave". The cap was not included in the final bronze version that is now in the building.[12]
end quote

hmmph...statue needs Cap....
File:Freedom 1.jpg