Tag Archive: Trees

What a sweet place for a picinic lunch. I learned to eat by the roadside back in the '60s ...  Mom always packed fixings for yummy roadside lunches.

What a sweet place for a picnic lunch. I learned to do this back in the ’60s … Mom always packed lunch to eat along the road.

Sleeping Beauty Land…  starting to enter the land of fantasy, from wide valleys to tree studded icy peaks amid lakes, rivers and gaining elevation. If it hadn’t been too costly to take the Inside Passage Ferry from Bellingham, WA with my little LT, I would likley not have been on this road. Some years ago I’d toured the Ferry Station looking longingly at the dock remembering the family trip to Alaska…  I’d wanted to go again, the feeling so strong I almost broke open my wallet to see if I could gain passage. The office was closed or who knows, maybe there would have been a cancellation and the dogs and I (at that time Olympia and Mason) might have hopped on board. As things were where I was, troubles were industriously laying themselves in my path, even weary, achy, tired and sad I didn’t know yet that I would cancel my passage. I was determined.

A walk at a rest stop

A quiet walk at a historical marker and lake.

Spent the night in Terrance at a truck stop after rejecting the Walmart parking lot. Some idiot started a huge bonfire of heavy smoke in the nearby provincial campground…  seemed the entire woods were sputtering in a noxious plume. I can’t breathe that stuff esp since the time my father’s house exploded in the Oakland Hills, CA fire.  I’d foolishly gone to explore the ruins (there wasn’t anything left but a bathtub and the foundation,) apparently doing so damaged my lungs and sinuses …  my head ached, sinuses throbbed, ears went on strike, I was tired, thoracic outlet painfully cramping my fingers adding worries about permanent damage ….  I was weary. I wanted easy joy and laughing fun; instead I was failing at biting my tongue, trying to keep silent or  making a panacea come out of my vocal cords; no matter how I tried the results made things worse. Guess I’m not good at focusing.

Carpets of Yellow

Near Frasier Lake, Fort Fraser Post which was later absorbed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Along with Smithers there were lots of beckoning waysides. I considered a side trip to Fort St James National Historic Site but as with the majority of attractions it would not open until June 1st. Different circumstance I would have seen more; this trip was about the road which I enjoyed and things close to the road.

The Bark Beetle  Please take a look at this link and the attached research pages!  Dead trees are everywhere! By the time you see an evergreen turning yellowish-orange brown, that tree has died. I have read that distressed trees give off  a certain distinctive scent (maybe a use for my Truffle Hounds to search these out?) http://www.avtreefarm.com/insects/barkbeetles.htm

Mountain Pine Beetle

Mountain Pine Beetle

It’s not drought alone that causes a distressed forest. Lack of water is only one factor; pollution, heat stress, altering seasons and other causes exacerbated by rapidly changing climate give opportunity for explosive outbreaks of the beetles and sometimes fungus as well.  This is nature at work. How will this massive tree die-off effect the balance of life? Should nature be left alone to change and adapt, should forest management be intensified? In whatever way you feel, dying trees are an indicator. Look around you, the environment is changing at a rapid pace. Take a walk in your neighborhood and places you visit; listen, look, observe and study. What action will you take? How will you adapt? How will you teach your children? How will you interact with your neighbors or the cries of those far away? Will you mourn silently or not at all? How will you be with food and water increasingly expensive or not available? fires? rough weather? unrest? diseases? Is it time yet to stop arguing and start working together…  yes? If not, then when?


The road I traveled

The road I traveled

Poem by William Stafford, Atavism

St. Helens, Hood River, Mt Hood

Started this awhile ago… tonight I’m headed home; am in an RV Park near Ashland, OR. Went for a walk downtown, smelled all the great food. . . came “home” to make dinner only to find more of  my food had spoiled in spite of my best efforts, darn.

I’d gone back to staying in State Parks….  really love the lights out approach and with many of the kids back to school the State Parks seemed to be settling down. I fidgeted on the road, doing partial drives up one and back and then another and another…..  wound up in the upper campground at Castle Rock (Washington) side of Mount Hood…  I enjoyed that, lucked out with a double space in a clearing surrounded by tall thin pines, I went part way up the high road, then veered back and explored the lower road to the volcano but the visibility was almost nil and the driving hard mountain type so instead I tiptoed up the Columbia Gorge on the Washington side, then was struck by “intuition” and slide-slipped into Oregon for a rush up the Gorge on Hwy 84. That was a smart move. The smooth four lane highway was a joy to drive, along the way were sidetrips along the old “historic” highway. I took all of those! Waterfall hikes, resorts, the locks, the Bonneville Dam and of course lots of spectacular scenery. In searching for a campsite, my (not so) trusty GPS led me over a teensy weensy green metal draw bridge.  I NEVER want to do that bridge again in the LT. It’s very windy (gusty) and the LT does not track all that well. I had to do that bridge twice! Fine, it was only $0.75, one false move and you’re over the edge. It’s posted 25 mph but the cars push and cram trying to get you to move along. When I was on the other side I sampled the 2-lane narrow road that I would have taken (trying to make a U-turn) if not for my intuition. I wound up staying at a State Park flanked by the whistle-blowing freight train and the highway 7 miles South of Hood River on the Columbia. I loved the town in spite of their lack of RV accommodations. Apparently it was reborn after the demise of logging by California windsurfers. Indeed I saw lots of daring windsurfers. What would that be like, in that vast body of water zooming at top speed….what would Lewis and Clark have thought if they could have seen the future!!! My wind hands were getting pretty good at keeping the LT on the road.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hood River has been added as one of my favorite cities including the lush farmland as one starts to head east. I had a nice breakfast sitting with the dogs at a cafe then bought fresh peaches, tomatoes, blueberries and pear wine in the farmland. I didn’t feel the same about the forest in spite of dramatic views of Mount Hood. Maybe I was tired or already homesick for Hood River and the Columbia. Maybe it was the dark day and the dark woods. I decided not to camp in the woods…ah but I should have. I had trouble finding a place and wound up with a bad night at a crowded RV Park near where I’d started at Troutdale…  didn’t sleep well there as I had in the State Parks. I missed the dark night, the towering trees, the clamoring squirrels, the wind–blazing overhead lights and a laundry room can’t compare!

Strange Despondency

A tree turned to shadow

It whispers my name

Yesterday was my 58th birthday and it’s no longer a horse that I wish for when I blow out the candles, it’s a home. I yearn to come home and settle into a good book, cook dinner—maybe have a friend over, grow a garden, nurse a fallen bird, fix the garbage disposal, paint the walls, maintain the plumbing, fix a chip in the floor, install a new garage door—bring it on.
I worked at the Four Seasons Biltmore banquets where for 8 or 11 hours straight we’d clean, polish, set-up the dining room, unroll the cables, wire up the equipment, bring in the tables, the chairs, the decorations, plants, flowers, silver, crystal, fold the napkins, align the place settings with precision detail, you get the idea, then serve, then take everything down, clean up and put everything away; I mention this because people have told me having a home of one’s own is too much work; having a dog friendly B&B, which has become my dream, especially,  is too much work. Well, I’m not suggesting it for them, it’s for me! I long for a place to unwind, to create, to breathe. A place of my own. I don’t want neighbors within shouting distance, don’t want to share walls, don’t want cars zooming by. I want land. Space, stars, water, wind, trees, critters. How long have I wanted this? Forever. In my childhood it was a ranch with horses—a place where I could teach people the love of animals and how to live harmoniously with the land.

Could I still have a ranch... a forest... a river

Really I haven’t changed; instead of horses, it’s now dogs.

Searching for land and a home

I worked as a planner for both the City and the County. I have an inside knowledge of things that can go wrong with a parcel. Also the same inside knowledge of how to fix it. I helped a friend build his own home on Greenfield Ranch . . . it was off grid. Developing the power, water, septic, food, wildlife, I shared. We made cold boxes for food storage, filtered water from the hand constructed dam, installed deer fencing and below ground irrigation for the fruit trees, waded through thigh high mud in the winter and designed passive cooling in the summer. My friend taught me about solar and wind turbines, prolific compost gardening and cooking. We boiled water on the potbelly stove for our baths. We made our own bread, canned the veges we didn’t consume, there was time for art and appreciation of sweeping leaves. Boredom and burnout were never issues. The morning was full of beauty, the night full of wonder. I don’t understand people who prefer apartments and pink skies, who crave the security of strangers in their midst, who need the convenience of a 24-hr shop 5 min away.

A piece of land I loved

I named this Hero's pond but did not purchase it.

I studied animal science, agriculture, animal production, farm management, then ecology, biointensive organic gardening, environmental planning, biology, electronics, geography… then I lost it and instead of art; computers, multi-media, business, public administration, TESOL and mediation.


Could I create a garden like this and invite you to share?


I only have a little bit of money. No safety net, no backup funds. This journey with the dogs and the recalcitrant LT is to find a rural home, ideally with B&B potential, or perhaps a community. It is all I want.