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We get up and walk a quarter mile away to a Forest Service road going back into the woods. There are a number of places to camp back there an no evidence of recent activity. We’re gonna head back there tonight.

Manzanita in bloom.

Unknown in bloom.

I’m shocked by the huge number of trees dead or dying.

At the end of a loop. A camping spot surrounded by dead pines.

I realize that what I’ve been doing this last year, driving around the country, visiting many wilderness areas is something that will be very, very different in 10 years. It’ll be completely different for my grandchildren, currently 1 & 4. I wonder what The Donald and his minions think or feel about this. It’s such an obvious sign. One of the canaries in the coal mine we’re in. The mass death is from drought, insects and years of a warming climate. There have been actions humans could have taken for decades.

Collectively we don’t have the will. The desire. The vision. For these millions of trees, it’s too late. For the animals that depend on the shelter and food they provide, it’s too late.

As I walk I’m trying to see patterns. Are there species that are more susceptible? Are there species that don’t seem effected at all? I’m not a botanist, so this is through my totally untrained filter. I see three kinds of pine trees. The long needle variety seem the most vulnerable. In many areas 100% of them are dead. The mid-length needle variety seems largely unaffected. The short needle variety seems patchy. All dead or all ok. The Cedar’s follow this same pattern. All OK or all sick or dying. There are a few patches of what seem to be redwoods. They seem fine. Oaks seem fire. Manzanita’s seem fine. Softwoods along the streams seem fine.
I read a book called “The Secret Life of Trees”. If you love plants and the magic of nature’s synergy, you’ll love this book. The author manages an old growth forest in Germany. His observations and insights woven with the latest science on plant communication and cooperation is startling and profoundly moving. We are such arrogant creatures. Our arrogance is likely to kill us and most of the other species on this glorious planet.

In the book he talks about how trees migrate (who knew!), how dominant species change over centuries. We’ve created a situation where the dominant species, the pines, are dying. One of the existing non-dominant species or one from another area that can survive the existing threats will move into the void.

I’m have severe pollen reactions this year. The herbal mix L shared with me is gone and was marginally effective here. So, it’s down the mountain for an antihistamine and a new hairbrush for Sherman. His finally wore out. I can’t take the hit of a whole antihistamine. So I nibble 1/4 – 1-3 of a tab. That reduces the symptoms to restore functionality.

I head to Cheryl’s for wifi. The patio is full. So Sherman and I go to the Riverfront Park. We sit under a tree and watch the river, the birds, the squirrels, the people…

The Kern River at rushing through Kernville within 6-8 inches of overflowing.

In 90 minutes we go back to Cheryl’s and grab a table. Coffee and wifi please…

One thing I’ve experienced here over and over is that smokers have ZERO awareness that smoking is not a neutral activity. I’ve had people sit upwind of me many times in 3 visits. Not something I’ve experienced in years living in SoCal. Or the Left Coast, as it gets called.
I make a couple phone calls and head up the mountain. I’m going to try the other site which is about a quarter mile off the road. Much of this drive is between 20-35 mph. It takes 75 minutes of wandering through spectacular beauty. This is likely the last time we’ll come down from the mountain until Wednesday, May 3rd when I need to meet Robin at the RV place.

When we’re setup and it’s dinner time, Sherman is not interpreted at all in his food. Sometimes he’s so focused on what going on in the world around him, and scanning for bunnies and squirrels, that he doesn’t eat much. Today is that day. He ate a quarter of his normal breakfast. Is not eating diner. So, I offer the share my can of salmon with him. He accepts. He has patterns of eating don’t fit my — obviously mistaken — assumptions about how a dog should eat. I think he should eat regularly while I’m ignoring that fact that dogs are opportunity eaters and mostly foraging omnivore scavengers. Occasionally hunters.

I frequently offer to share my food with him. Some days he loves eggs. Most days… meh. Salmon he also loves occasionally. Most days… meh. Same with cheese, yogurt, organic luncheon meat that I buy just for him, cooked hamburger, raw or cooked chicken, etc. Maybe he has it so good and his survival food requirements are so overly met that he can energetically afford be so picky.

We get in the van and he plays with a his pink mouse and his alligator. Then lays down while I change clothes and setup the bed. Good night moon…