Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Big Heart (Grandpa style)

                                                                   Elmer Crow
Some people have dreams of what they will become when they grow up and some develop a passion after being immersed in their work for some time. Elmer Crow came across as a man who advocated for the beliefs passed on to him from the elders of his time. There were many short stories he had shared and his display of compassion for the lamprey eel was inspirational. Half way through his talk he had all of us speak on our own behalf and some of us had mentioned our ancestral family tree. I was surprised he caught on to that and spoke briefly to the high school kids about how important it is to never forget or to learn. A few days later one of the high school kids mentioned “Mr. Crow has changed my whole life and how I see this world, I never even cared to think of who my ancestors were or where they come from.” great message to past forward.
A great lesson from a great man, Elmer Crow passed on a few days after sharing his passion and love for his teachings that have transcended throughout the millennia from our ancestors. Even the smallest life matters, don’t ever forget where you come from and always take time to share with the little ones because they are the future. Now that he has gone on, those of us who sat there and heard his words must carry on the teachings he took the time to pass on to us.  
 [Lat 45.572979] [Long-117.522030]

The Grand Experiment

                                                  Nez Perce Country and the grand experiment

So we stopped in a place known as one of the world’s best hamburger spots: Burger King. 

Quickly we moved on to the next town where we set up camp at the pow-wow grounds. After meeting with some of my lifelong friends and some family I went to sleep as it was a long day’s travel that was followed by an early start in the morning.  

T1S, R43E, Sec22, way point -117.42491, 45.46862 was our first stop in the morning. I believe it was the Eagle Cap Wilderness area where the Nez Perce nation constructed a fish monitoring station, just below where Old Chief Joseph used to be buried. The Lostine River was at one time known as the “winding waters” by the Nez Perce.
One million dollars from the BPA and five months gave the Winding Waters a fighting chance to see an increase in salmon numbers which in 1999, 13 salmon was the total observation to an astounding 3000 in 2011.

 Supplementation of hatchery fish in a “treatment stream” along with monitoring of a “control stream” has given the Nez Perce an amassed amount of data to show the progress of the 50 different facilities (10 in Oregon with most in Idaho) has had after the eight dams down river brought the once bountiful fish filled rivers and streams next to extinction, thus given the work a title “the Grand Experiment” by our Nez Perce guide Jim Harack. ftp://ftp.nezperce.org/Public/NE%20Oregon/Lostine%20Diversions%20Project/Grant%20Applications/NFWF%20BBN/pgReportOutputReader.pdf

We stopped in at the N.P. Joseph Field office, in Joseph Oregon, 541-432-2501 is the number if you are in town give them a call I’m sure they would be happy to show you around the area, and if you see a big window outside the office take a peek in and see if you can get Jim to wave at you. Also it was cool my daughter got to meet one of her relatives, on her mother’s side, from the Nez Perce Nation.  

land of the giant rocks

Withered volcano cones           
After leaving the painted hills we drove passed some giant outcroppings of basalt cliffs surrounded by an ancient looking landscape. 

I was amazed of the different sized mountains which our teacher indicated are the remains of what used to be volcanoes, I believe Jessica said they are the type known as “cinder cone”. Once we passed these we drove thru some very interesting canyons that had a significant drop in elevation and the scenery was awesome once the steep canyons opened up to rolling mountains that spread out over as far as the eye can see.

Painted hills on a hot day...

                                                                “Painted Hills”
Slow decent into a landscape of unforgiving terrain gave a sense imminent danger, a no-man’s land, a place not to run out of gasoline.
Lat 44.660898   Long -120.278 

Heat felt through the doors glass window gives a hint of the suns intensity outside the air-conditioned van. I turned off the air conditioning and rolled down the power windows, releasing in unison of moans from the rest of the students, I shout out “time to acclimate, were almost there”. As we turned off the main road stripes of red and gold begin to show on the bald looking hills. 

Once we got to our point of interest everyone was ready to get out of the hot van. Half of the group set up shop for lunch at Mr. Blacks RV as the rest of us begins the half mile walk around a developed pathway around some “Painted Hills”. I went around the walk way two times great day in the sun...

the trail leads up the mountain, over my right shoulder you can see part of the class

 Quiet beautiful are the mounts of clay, colored by the various temperatures of magma millions of years ago. 

The outer layers of clay absorb most of the minuet rainfall each year causing a shell to form which turn into a crust after baking in the sun for a few months. 
our caravan in the back drop and the ponds way in the back

We were there for about an hour and for such a desolate place I was surprised to see different groups of people come thru every ten to fifteen minutes.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Volcanic Mt.top ski resort and treeless landscape. & fishless falls

 So I was in shock of what I saw...a ski lift up the side of Mt Bachelor and on top a very large ski resort. I could not help but think that has to be the stupidest place in the world to put a resort, but most likely I'm wrong because I have come to realize if their is money to be made there are people who will put it on the line to find a little thrill and make money while doing it. I must say the four lane highway that leads up to the summit was nice and smooth.

 This post is out of order but such an landscape can not go unmentioned.

as was the ski resort this area has a fire lookout on top of a volcano cone...
and here is the guy who uses the most integrated software "dragon-ware" available, a combination of old school optics gsi, gps, Google maps, paper maps, and some other very interesting mechanisms to keep watch for fires.Lat:43.917895  Long:-121.356047
This "ultra large" volcano south of this lookout erupted blowing off its entire top causing a massive lava flow that to this day covers the whole area around Newberry Volcanic Monument. Large areas of this landscape has absolutely no trees, a very treacherous scenery. After a wonderful BBQ provided by our host we drove to sunriver for a talking circle and a short hike to some rapids.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

trail construction and cool waters...

A fairly young man of around my age was our guide and motivator today. Today stared out early so as to capture the coolness of the morning. we drove a few miles from camp help restore an over grown hiking trail into the head waters of the deschutes river. After visiting the leaders of all the other programs in the Deschutes National Forest we finally get to work with the guys on the ground who get the hard work done. He shared with us how he has grown up in the east side of the continental US around "Minni Soda" and since high school he's worked in 3 different environments; Minnesota, Floria, Colorado and now at the Deschutes. He also made the claim that he feels because he has traveled throughout the country and has worked in so-many environments, he says that forestry is within its self a entirely different "culture" besides the US government. I don't disagree as I too have come to see a few different layers of culture in the arenas I have participated in the last few years.

so this tall man works for the trails program/community volunteers and recreational outreach. His three rules are as follows:

1. nobody gets hurt
2. Have fun
3. get some thing done
4. when in doubt cut it out!

and he also advised "I, we , and others on the trail, don't know how you feel so do what you have to do if you don't feel right. if your tired take a few minutes to rest, drink some water and if you need to snack on something go for it, BUT when you feel back together look to rule number #3"

everyone was handed hard hats and being the nice guy I am I let everyone go first and unfortunate i was not to get one...so I had to supervise and be the on sight safety man, which I proudly report nobody was injured.

once we made our first pass over the trail we ended up at the mini lake/pond at the headwaters of the Deschutes River. we ate our lunch and most of the crew took 20mins or so to cool off in the water. I just kicked back in the shade and took a nap.....perfect day...
Lat:43.901014    Long:-121.762055

on the way out we finished the trail as best as we could with the tools avalible, I told the head cheese to lowboy out a D4 with a six way blade and I would make short work of that trail! he said "probably not".

Sunday, July 21, 2013

bats and caves

Our fist day in the Deschutes national forest was short due to the flat tire on “war pony” so when we got to camp we quickly set up the tents and went to sleep.

In the morning we went to the Lava River Caves. Lava River Cave: N430 53. 673 : W1210 22.196  T 19s R11e S26

First we went into the 8,000 year old cave which was developed beyond any cave I have ever been in. The cave had a paved path all the way into the first decent then steps with hand rails and walkways across the bottom of the cave; I was very impressed. There was no ancient picture art on the walls but it was stated the cave was used by the aboriginals sometime in the past.

Next at the bat cave we (seen batman) had a visit and lecture with the Habitat Biologist. She informed us some European cave enthuses have carried a fungus that has killed 6 million bats on the east coast and this fungus is moving across the United States but has not arrived to the west coast. This fungus when involved with bats is called “White Nose Syndrome” once it passes the Rocky Mountains it will not be stopped. The fungus its self does not kill the bats it is the effects of the fungus. The fungus only thrives in cold wet climates and during the hibernation period of the bats the fungus causes the bats to itch excessively and thus burn up all their stored fat there for causing them to starve to death. She indicated this fungus is not a problem for the bats living in the “old world but like any new disease it has a detrimental impact on the native species”


the southern entrance to the cave was closed off to the public, "spooky" was the feeling I had when I took this picture...