Month: December 2012

Old Homestead

meadow 2

There were homesteads in many remote hard to reach locations. Were all the good spots taken? Or is it because you took a government land patent without knowing anything about it? I came across this one in a small isolated prairie on the Humboldt-Mendocino line. After spending several days near this spot, I was struck by how hard it was to reach it. While the site itself was pleasant, a gentle bench and a good spring near-by, it is surrounded by very steep terrain. Perhaps this is what lead to its ultimate failure. The stove looks circa 1910s-1920s.

Who were the people that decided to settle here? What were they doing and why did they leave everything behind?


Winter in the Mad River

Snowy Morning in the Mad

The day started with completely clear skies over a fresh blanket of snow. Terribly cold. Winter has this quality of beauty that somehow justifies shitty weather. Just after the sun came up, a wall of darkness covered the sky bringing heavy snow.

invisible mnt stream

All the creeks are raging full force right now. You can even hear the Mad River over a mile away. I can only image what the Mad looks like during all of this. When you consider the countless watercourses that are pumping water like this, you start to understand how the Mad River can move such enormous boulders.

The Portal

The more time you spend in the cold, the warmer you get. Color slowly fades to shades of grey while sound is dampened by the roar of nearby creeks and heavy falling snow. A soft voice in your head; “Walk into the pool…do it!” That is how the adventure began…

Giant Chinkapin

This is one of our more interesting tree we have here in north coast forests. I typically see this tree outside of the redwood fringe in Douglas-fir and tanoak forests. Apparently chinkapin (castanopsis chrysophylla) is considered the ancient condition, or gentic form of the Beech (fagaceae) family, which of course today looks much different. There are only 2 species of castanopsis in America, but over 148 species known in Asia. I wonder if these trees are indeed hold outs from ancient times, like redwoods. Does the rare dawn redwood found in Asia also point to the possibility that our forests are some how connected?

I never really notice the young trees, as they look just like tanoak. And who likes young, thick tanoak? But, just like tanoak, when you come across mature large trees you realize how beautiful they are. They remind me Tolkiens’ Ents.

Multnomah Falls

Not so great pictures from Multnomah Falls from earlier this year. Luckily its such a bad ass waterfall that you dont have to be a pro to get a good enough picture. The main falls is around 400 feet high, and you take an easy trail to the base of the falls up a forested talus slope. You can go to the top too, I think its about 4 miles? Its a good steep assent, easy trail, but a slog for sure.

All the rain brings…

bear creek falls

Having spent allot of time in forests around the Colombia Gorge and a fair amount in the Sierras, I have generally considered waterfalls to be scarce in Humboldt. Our sandstone bedrock simply wont allow the power of large streams to form into waterfalls. There are a few out there though, this one my favorite so far. This one forms from a stream which cuts through meadow before its forced around a large rock outcrop. I actually visited this one about two years ago right when we were having a serious cold snap. I tell no lie the falls were frozen! If Im lucky enough to be there again in similar circumstances Ill be sure to have a camera with me!