Tag Archives: trees

Pictorial Highlight: Humboldt! #2

Roosevelt elk mama

Forest Reflection, Gold’s Beach, Praire Creek.

Young baby elk in April 2009.

“Na-na-nana-na, you don’t have antlers!!”

There is magic even in the tiniest of organisms; this is just the fruit, the reproductive organ, of a vast underground network of mycelium…and fungi are closer genetically to animals than they are to plants. Ponder THAT one for a minute!

Joie de Rikki, Gold’s Beach.

The sun drops below the horizon, painting the sky with its light-brush from millions of miles away, and the chill ocean breeze picks up and it lifts mist from the crest of each wave, and you feel like every moment is rife with possibility, with the awe of being alive in such a beautiful place, with the responsibility to do something that learning to love such things places on you.  You feel inspired.  The night flings itself upon you.

Sitting on a beached log, of which there are countless here…

There is something ultimately primordial about the temperate redwood rainforests of northern Humboldt and of Del Norte Counties.  Not just the size of the trees, but the density, the fecundity, the lushness; it can take you 10 minutes to travel 30 feet off-trail in these forests; you step on what looks to be solid ground, and then sink waist-deep in foliage and plant matter and rotting wood!  You expect to see Brontosauri here, munching on the leaves of old-growth redwoods, whose branches don’t even begin until about 90 feet up.  The amount of LIFE here is staggering, staggering, and 96 percent of the northwest’s old-growth forests have been logged, poisoned with herbicides and fungicides and diesel fuel (so the poisons stick–for awhile, until they eventually runoff into the local watershed), turned into lifeless deserts or genetically-modified monocrop tree plantations or moonscapes; that is “PROGRESS”–desert behind, forest in front.  That is growth for the sake of growth, the ideology of the cancer cell.  That is industrial civilization, and it must be stopped before it kills everything.

Banana slug!

Redwood textures and colors. Disproving Reagan’s adage that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all. Each is an individual.

This is the Arco Giant, technically located in Redwood National Park; it is the 10th largest coast redwood by volume.  I see a face, complete with green hair, on the right side of the tree–see it? The bottom of this picture is about halfway up the main trunk, where it splits–redwoods are prolific in their growth of “reiterated trunks.” Basically when the top of the main trunk is damaged, it sprouts a new “trunk” that then rockets toward the sunlight. The most architecturally complex tree in the world is Illuvatar, located somewhat near this tree, with 220 (!!) reiterated trunks.

One of the most amazing books ever created (it is not just writing, but pictures and fantastically skilled drawings by the author) is Forest Giants of the Pacific Coast  by Robert Van Pelt.  Very highly recommended!

Another darling baby elk and his mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictorial Highlight: Humboldt! #1

One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been, Humboldt County and its neighboring areas (Del Norte County and Trinity County) helped make me who I am today.  I feel a deep connection to those jaw-dropping redwood forests and the coastal environs that tend to accompany them.  I spent much time there in my crucial early days as a budding radical environmentalist, and the area’s majesty (and connected devastation) was extremely influential.

Usually I just let the pictures speak for themselves, with no introduction save for that like above.  But I want to remind everybody of something.  All these MARVELOUS, SPECTACULAR natural features, and the mesmerizing animals who live among them, of California that I try to convey to you–these are mere fragments of what once was.  At least 96 PERCENT of the old-growth redwoods have been logged, ravaged, clearcut, moonscaped.  96%!  Millions of acres, and it’s not “just” trees–think of all the animals killed and left homeless and resourceless through all that habitat destruction!  These are whole ecosystems of unfathomable fecundity, being wholesale holocausted.  And it’s still going on.  Can you imagine what it would’ve been like here before the conquest of the “civilized” (e.g. white Europeans) and the death-march of industrial civilization?  Here and in the rest of California, and the rest of the west, and the country, and the world?  Just something to think about.  Enjoying these places is not enough.  We have to realize what we have lost, what used to be–and what could be again if we act in accordance to principles of compassion, if we fight those battles that truly need to be fought.

A few books I’d like to recommend that are spectacular and that will educate and inspire you, and help you appreciate even more these amazing forests:  The Wild Trees by Richard Preston and From the Redwood Forest:  Ancient Trees and the Bottom Line (which features 50 pages of breathtaking photography) by Joan Dunning and pictures by Doug Thron.

Without further delay….

Roosevelt Elk.

The Stout Tree, whose “owner” wanted to cut down in the 1950s to make a dance floor on the flat stump top.

Great white egret in flight, collecting some twigs for her nest! So majestic and graceful…

Not great picture quality, but I wanted to capture the utter strangeness of this one, whom I call the CGI Tree. It looks painted, or digitally enhanced! Such strange patterns of color and texture!

Valley with some fall foliage on the eastern edge of Humboldt/western edge of Trinity County as you go into the Coast Range mountains.

Same valley–from almost the same position!–later that evening.

Butterfly chillin on the trail! ❤

Clam Beach wind-swept sand.

Rikki takes a moment to collect her thoughts =)

Gorgeous furry caterpillar in an area of wetlands.

These horses in their pasture are just too beautiful to not include. Sometimes you’ll see the Rooseveldt hanging out among the horses, both species just eating grass, minding their business.

The biggest sitka spruce I’ve ever seen, although there are ones much, MUCH larger (mainly in northwestern Washington and southeast British Columbia)

Part 2 coming next week!

Travel Theme: Silhouette

This week’s travel theme on Ailsa’s terrific blog   Where’s My Backpack  made me think of some nice nature (of course) silhouettes I’ve taken in the past.  Here are a few of them, hope you enjoy!

This was taken from my porch when I lived in Mendocino County in a tiny, middle-of-nowhere, off-the-grid cabin; my favorite place I’ve ever lived!

This is in far northwestern California; when I parked at the side of the road to sleep in the back of my pickup, I saw these lovely painted clouds with silhouetted trees in the foreground.

Joshua Tree National Park; one of my very favorite pictures I’ve taken (which is why it’s my RewildWest avatar!!)

This is an unmodified shot from the Marin Headlands looking down into the Golden Gate; something about all the red of the bridge and lights tinted the fog that color! It was dark out, so my shutter stayed open for about 6-7 seconds. I like how the natural silhouettes of tree and cliff contrast with the man-made bridge and boat!

Derrick Jensen’s Thoughts?

 

Saw Derrick in Berkeley the other night and came home to see a picture I took with this expression, and just had to meme-ify it  🙂

Highlight of the night (aside from his hopping up from the book-signing table to give me a big hug and say how happy he is that I’m free!) was when he said (paraphrased):

A lot of people tell me they can’t imagine living without the internet, or cars, or take your pick of industrial technologies.  But when was the last time you heard someone say, “I can’t imagine living without polar bears.  Or salmon.  Or migratory songbirds.  Or a livable planet.  When was the last time YOU said something like that?

So very powerful, so very true.

 

Testify! Eco-Defense and the Politics of Violence

This is probably the best overall documentary I’ve seen about the environment; it is uncompromisingly militant and very entertaining to boot.  It is available in 9 parts on You Tube.  Here’s part 1.  I cannot more highly recommend it.

 

I’ve also transcribed the video in English, in case anybody wants to subtitle it in their native language; I did this for a friend in the Czech Republic and he then added subtitles and showed it at hardcore shows!  Let me know if you want a copy of the transcript.

Sonoma Coast and Synchronicity

A couple days ago my fiance Rebecca and I took a half-day trip to explore the northern Sonoma coast; what a majestic place it is!  We started off from the 101 by driving through the towering redwoods and past the Russian River, following it all the way to its mouth.  Then we turned north and climbed the coastal bluffs and the scenery became more and more stunning.  Wildflowers were abundant on the shoulder and the hillsides:  California poppies and their almost-psychedelic oranges and yellows, purple and white lupine, the brilliant red of the occasional Indian paintbrush…

Lovely pine tree in its earliest stages of development.

The cliffs are rugged pastiches of gray and black and auburn and sandstone, rocky and jagged from the ceaseless slicing hands of wind and sand and wave.  I stared for miles and miles into the azure distance of the open ocean, feeling so very free and liberated, the total antithesis of the ceaseless, manic, cruel and loathsome mental condition forced on the incarcerated.  I thank Earth every day that I am a free man–free from prison, anyway.

We stopped at a beach and threw a stick for our American bulldog and pit bull mix Rikki; she and I jogged through a stream (from which Rikki and I both took cool, sweet sips–to Rebecca’s ire–but I can’t help but taste real water, when it’s from what appears to be a safe source) that led into the ocean and through the rocky surf.  Rikki also is an unquestionable symbol of freedom.  To see her bound along on the beach is to truly know ecstasy and unadulterated joie de vivre.  If only we humans were lucky and smart enough to capture and maintain that kind of attitude.

On the way home we had an interesting and profound interaction with some other humans, one of those serendipitous events that wouldn‘t have happened if not for the perfect collusion of random choices.  Rebecca pulled us into a turnout so we could take Rikki to pee.  An older man and woman pulled up in a silver van and got out.  Rebecca and I were both immediately struck with how much the man resembled an older version of her dearly departed father, Bob.  He had the same fine, combed-back white hair that Bob had toward the end of his long and courageous battle with cancer and other ailments.  His lips were soft and drawn down in the way that those with few or no teeth are–just like Bob without his dentures.  So adorable!

Some of my most interesting moments on the road have begun by striking up conversation with strangers, so I approached the couple.  Turns out they’ve lived in the New Orleans area their entire life.  The woman had never even left Louisiana!  I told them about my volunteer relief work with Common Ground after Hurricane Katrina, and about how intensely profound an experience it was.  They told us how wonderful a time they were having in California already on the very start of their three-week trip.  I recommended several places they just had to see along their route.  Rebecca and I were both stunned further by the resemblance between the gentleman and her father:  he had the same goofy sense of humor; and his name was also Bob!  It was eerie, and our subsequent discussion confirmed that we both felt the same vibes pulsing off the sweet old man with his lovely N’awleans twang.

This is not the place for me to wax philosophical on synchronicity–because I could, for pages and pages–but it is something to think about.

I told the couple how to avoid a three-hour clusterfuck on their drive from there to Humboldt, then shook hands with Bob and his wife and I hugged.  I wish them the best, and am so grateful that our respective orbits entwined for a brief stretch.

People come from all over the country, all over the world, to California, because it is the Wild West; it is one of the last areas with large unbroken tracts of wilderness in the lower 48.  It is a place of magic and incomprehensible beauty.  But soon it will all be gone–logged, decimated completely of wildlife, poisoned, “developed,” and plowed for agriculture to feed the growing overpopulation of humans (GET A VASECTOMY, guys!); unless, that is, we build a serious resistance movement to the destruction of the west and the planet.  Let’s Rewild the West, and All the Rest!

Deaths by Tree Spiking

I saw that a recent top search on my blog was “How many killed by tree spiking?”  There’s this industry-pushed-and-funded misinformation in mainstream media that tree spiking is an attempt to harm old-growth tree murderers; this is completely untrue and has no basis in reality.  Every single known environmentally-inspired tree-spiking was anonymously announced to the timber company and, where appropriate, the Forest Service–done solely in order to avoid worker injuries.  NO PERSON HAS EVER BEEN KILLED BY A TREE SPIKE.  The case of George Alexander, which I discussed in my prior entry, is the ONLY KNOWN EVEN INJURY TO OCCUR AS THE RESULT OF A TREE-SPIKING, and that particular instance was not performed by an environmentalist.  The industry of course demonizes these sorts of actions as violent, homocidal, and immoral.  And yet they of course do not mention that timber cutting (aka forest killing) is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, with mortality rates FAR higher than the average.  People are killed by shitty equipment, falling trees, etc.  But never by a tree spike.  Remember that, if nothing else.  So the real homocidal, violent lunatics are the corporate CEOs and company managers who push for higher and higher cut rates, and who fail to replace shoddy equipment in the name of corner-cutting profit-mongering, as the case of George Alexander shows.