Blake Mountain, the lower bench mark; 5,852 ft above sea level.
A old foundation near “lower” Blake.
The view from ‘lower’ Blake. This spot is on a broad ridge with dense forest, and as such does not provide for much visibility.
The view from the so-called Blake Spring Camp.
Blake Mountain bench mark; 5,905 ft above sea level.
Looking north east into Trinity County from Blake Mountain.
South Fork from the ridge.
Unlike the other two spots, the topogrophy really drops away from the top allowing for some spectacular views of the Middle Mad River.
South Fork bench mark.
Fire ring on the base of the rock. This could really be anything, but I wonder if it is a native feature?
Another view of South Fork from the bottom.
South Fork Mountain Schist!
Rock and lichen. Lichen is one of the more interesting organisms in the forest. Where does it come from? How many species are on this rock alone?
A snowy Bear Creek.
A winter woodland.
This is one of the largest pacific yew trees I have ever seen. I find it impressive that it is living right off the highway turnout.
Old Growth in East Fork Willow Creek.
Vertical structure from below: old growth Douglas-fir and tanoak overstory with dense younger trees and brush in the canopy gaps.
Vertical structure from above: looking across the canyon (Willow Creek main stem) you can really see how the older Douglas-fir rise above the other trees creating the diversity of height common in an old growth forest.
Where amber is born.
Whoa… This accidental picture is sort of funny, because it reminds me of how steep some of the topography was in this area as well as how slippery the snow covered brush was. I was slipping and sliding all over out there!
Many of the trees have goose-pen cavities. Where are the bats?
Nothing like a big old tanoak!
I didnt have the best light, but at least you can get the sence of how tall the trees are.
After tromping around for a bit, one tree caught my eye.
This tree is the grandmother tree for the East Fork.
A tree like this has incredible wildlife potential. The large limbs create nesting platforms and when they break off they can develop into cavities in the tree itself for cavity nesters like owls.
Fire scars show this trees age.
And the weigh-in… just over 6 feet in diameter.
Chinquapin crowns are really cool!
This forest is (was) heavily influenced by fire in its development.
The ivy caves.
Diversity. This forest has it all; Douglas-fir, pondersosa pine, incense cedar, Oregon white oak, live oak, tan oak and madrone.
Did I say madrone?
This tree is massive. Its crown is at least 50′ feet in diameter.
Lichen and Moss. Dozens of species live in the vertical strata of this forest like a New York highrise.
A few scattered ‘true’ old growth trees in this forest. The majority of the trees being around 80 years old.
Only a trickle. This is what upper Grizzly Creek looks like in September. Only I took this picture in January.
The chasm. I dont use that word lightly. Getting to this place was very difficult. Getting out was painful.
More old growth.
Now that it has rained this spot would be neck deep. I was pretty lucky to get into this area when I did.
The last of the grasslands being swallowed up by the dominating trees.
Enough complaining. Onward!
Found this old car in the flood plain of the South Fork Eel River. Partially submerged in river sediments, this old car is slowly rusting into oblivion.
Diversity: Close to a dozen species of moss, lichen, and fungus on just as many inches of this tree trunk.
A Rainy Mad River. After spending a few days in the clouds, its really hard to think there is a drought.
Buzzard Peak. Closer.
The Buzzards. I think they were following me. “Look at this crazy human. He will surely fall to his death and we shall eat his corpse!”
Mad Old Growth. These steep inaccessible areas of the Mad River support robust stands of old growth Douglas-fir.
Dont get too close to the edge. The ground is soft and the soil shallow. Just beyond the lip is certain death.
What the? Thats what I thought when I had the incredible fortune to pass through some rare country in the Middle Mad River. Out of no where this rock shoots up from the river.
No Name. At least no white man name on the map. It barley appears on the map, and grossly underestimates its prominence. I made a gross estimate with my laser; 285 ft from the top to the bottom.
Yeh, this place is rad!
I am wondering if that white spot is a nest. Or whitewash from a nest above it. This is excellent peregrine falcon habitat.
See the shadow the rock casts across the river?
Of course I had terrible light (as usual). If Im lucky Ill have a second chance! But you just dont get the full feeling without the stiched version.
This tree was obviouslu open grown. But it also shares this super lower limb trait as the Grandfather.
Open grown old growth. Also with a few huge limbs, but not so much on the base..
This is the greatgrand-kid tree. Just about 1/2 a mile from the Grandfather, could this tree be on a similar trajectory?
A typical open grown Douglas-fir. This tree is approximately 100 years old has the appearance of giant Christmas tree.
Shell Fragment. We know that these major ridges were used extensively by the native peoples for centuries, perhaps longer. Shells were highly regarded and often used to make beads and other items. Does this explain how I came across this piece of shell at 4,600′ and over 40 miles from the ocean?
Pilot rock pokes up from behind the hill. And on the distant horizon, Black Lassic is the highest point. Here, the warparty danced and prepared for battle looking across into enemy territory.
Pestle. This old tool caught my eye as I was walking through the meadow. Tucked in a pile of rocks, I pulled it out and found the smoothed bottom surface from years of pounding.
An Overview. Thomas Keter, the author of the paper I linked above, shows this picture in his paper. This is really cool, because you can really see the big picture. Im would be standing right below what is labeled High Salt Ground. Check it out.
More piles of rocks from the historic mining.
Mine tailings. Its amazing how the legecy effects of mining from the 1850s is still visible.
A healthy ecosystem. When fire is a regular part of the forest, its more difficult to see the negative impacts of the fire. Indeed most of the effects of fire are positive, from fuel maintenance to snag development.
Vegitation scorched from the fires in 2013.
Salmon River Road is awe inspiring. And a little sketchy…
It would be pretty easy to not notice these birds if you were not looking for them…
Curious little owls. They both were excited about their mice and certainly interested in this orange vested bi-ped who was giving them to their mother.
If you look close you might see the white band on the leg of the owl – this is how I know this is the same individual.
dunes behind the gun club
From the Peter E. Palmquist collection, ca, 1930
Little burrows exist all around the root mass of the tree.
Where roots have died off near the base cozy little homes for furry creatures open up.
Straight down the rat hole!
Dozens of species of fungus slowly recycle the dead the dead wood on the tree, along with the bacteria colonies that grow on the fungas.
Look at the size of the burl on this thing!
With all the insect crawling around this tree there are bound to be spiders.
The fallen dead limbs also provide shelter, habitat for bugs, and places for bug eaters to forage.
Nooks and crannied form in the dying wood creating cavaties that used by many creatures.
Who knows who took this jay out. Could it have been a goshawk?