Posts Tagged With: hunters

PETROGLYPHS AND BUTTERFIELD

In 2009 we hiked to Fort Bowie, near Chiriacahua National Monument and caught a glimpse of the Butterfield Trail. I knew it was a stagecoach line to deliver the mail out west. We hadn’t even read the BLM information on the Painted Rock Petroglyphs when we say hello to a stranger who just happens to be an expert on the Butterfield Trail and this whole area in general. He just published a book,  The Butterfield Trail And Overland Mail Company In Arizona. Jerry Ahnert’s  book was identified by the government as the definitive historical work on the subject.

The Butterfield Trail ran from Missouri to the Pacific, 3,000 miles, a transcontinental highway, that passes near the petroglyphs. In fact, Butterfield was a New Yorker with stage lines in the East. He hired two guys, named Wells and Fargo. They all drove stages at one time, according to Jerry.

Petroglyphs have ancient origins and these are typical of two Indian Tribes, the Hohokam and Patayan who peopled this area as long ago as 4,000 years. Various indicators date them  as late as the 1600s. If I were to interpret this drawing, it appears to me to be a pregnant woman with a round fat middle. The experts call the fat drawings like this one lizard men?

An upside down figure of a man or animal is said to be dead.

A glyph from 1912 giving directions, it appears. The Old Immigrant Trail, The Morman Trail and other major expeditions traveled the same or similar routes through the West and passed near this obvious outcropping in a terrain that is distinctively flat.

A donkey or horse with a rider dates the drawing after the Spanish brought horses to North America.

A fish above a river.

Lizards, snakes, scorpions, are common themes.

To me, this resembles a child sitting down, the way children do. The experts I’m sure disagree.

The spirals are typical of Hohokam drawings.

Impossible to tell if the drawing is  a dog or a coyote. It had significance to the artist.

To me the main figure here resembles an elephant?  Could it be an older glyph of a  mammoth?

The figure near the bottom is possibly a bearded goat?

It was fun. I took way to many pictures. More tomorrow. But, the following picture is of a sign placed by the Mormon boy scouts approximately 50 years ago. They ventured forth to mark the Morman Trail. On that spot you can stand and envision Kit Carson, Big Foot Wallace and Pomp, Sacajawea’s son who grew up to be a scout.

 

I’ll publish an album of the “ancient graffiti”  within a few days. I have some culling to do.

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ARMED ENCAMPMENT

Last night, shots rang out and I knew the feral pig hunters were actively patrolling. The picture above is a skinny pig compared to the pictures my neighbor, Gary Gonzalez  got of five pigs invading his yard July 4th.  Sunday night,  one of my Hanging Tree neighbors in a golf cart-like vehicle, with a powerful strobe light and a cross bow,  was cruising the road flashing the woods looking for pigs.  I’d planned to take a cool evening walk  Monday night and thought better of it. Not only because of the hunters but because Gerry Baumgartner, another Hanging Tree neighbor reported he had been visited by a bear twice in the last two weeks and the neighbor above him has had three visits from two different bears. Both have armed themselves with canned horns.  Its beginning to feel like an armed encampment here.

Bears and pigs are related and their meat tastes similar. I know that for a fact since I once butchered a bear for my brother who hunted and killed a bear in neighboring Tuolumne County when he was only 18 years old.  Bears and feral pigs compete for the same food. Both can be aggressive and can and will attack humans if cornered or threatened, though that rarely happens.  In the 1980’s I encountered feral pigs in Wilseyville and Railroad Flat, the upper, mountainous western part of Calaveras County. I’ve lived in Murphys since 1978 and have never seen a bear within two miles of my place, nor have I seen feral pigs. I find it somewhat disturbing to realize that the bear population and feral pigs are wandering into new territory. It makes me wonder what shift in the environmental balance caused them to hunger out of their range? From past experience, it is usually human activity that upsets the balance. In any case, one neighbor was feeling very sympathetic to the feral pigs being hunted and considered setting out corn for them.  It seemed to be the right time to get educated about feral pigs and the damage they do. I looked at a couple of sources but Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has the most thorough information on feral pigs and I copied my pictures from them:

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/PUBL/wlnotebook/Pig.htm

There are approximately four million feral pigs in the United States. Fact:  more people are killed by pigs than sharks. Domestic pigs were originally brought here from Spain and allowed to propagate in the wilds of California. Russian razorbacks and pigs from Germany were brought to New Hampshire, the Carolinas and California in the early 1900’s. They are ferocious fighters, can produce two or more litters per year and live for 25 years. They’ve become a serious problem in 23 states.

Mountain lions, bobcats and bears will feed on young pigs but the adult pigs are voracious predators. President Roosevelt once watched a pig dismember a jaguar.

” They especially relish acorns as well as hickory and beech nuts in the autumn. At other times of the year they eat forbs, grasses, leaves, berries and other fruits, roots and tubers, corn and other agricultural crops, insects, crayfish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, eggs of ground-nesting birds, young rabbits, fawns and young livestock, such as lambs, calves, kids. They can also kill larger livestock that are weak from illness or injury. When fresh meat is not available, feral pigs will also readily scavenge carrion.”

They destroy wetland habitat, muddying the waters, breaking down the banks of rivers, destroy aquatic plants and have been known to corner larger prey and hunt as a group, breaking  legs and getting an animal on the ground. Their powerful bite can snap a kneecap or crush a peach pit with equal ease. They have been known to gnaw down a small tree and trample bushes in the wild. In domestic gardens and landscaped areas the damage is formidable. So, I say to my neighbor, don’t feel sorry for these invaders and let us support our hunters. In Wisconsin, they can be taken at anytime. In California, hunters need a pig tag, unless you are defending your property or livestock.  I’m told they are  better tasting than what we buy at the store. Luau time.

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MONTE WOLFE REVISITED

An anonymous comment came in my message box about the supposed illegality of the Amador County Forest Service officials removing a door and chimney of the Monte Wolfe cabin in the deep river canyons of the Mokelumne. I blogged about Monte Wolfe three times in March of this year which relates the escapades of a venerable Mountain Man and his disappearance. He lived by himself in the rugged canyons of the Sierra Nevadas. He built cabins in three counties and roamed Amador, Alpine,Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties at will. He built single log bridges to cross the rivers for his own convenience and set out caches so he could range where ever he wanted to go. He built and maintained a fish trap to mine those rivers, planted potatoes, hired out as a mountain guide and socialized with hikers, hunters, forest service officials and locals living near by. He became a legend after his disappearance.

The photo above is of one of his small cabins. His main cabin was in Calaveras County.
After Monte Wolfe’s disappearance, his main cabin was kept in repair by a group of interested citizens from Calaveras County calling themselves The Friends of Monte Wolfe Society. I’m told, members of that group still maintain his cabin. The trail is difficult to find, but Monte hasn’t been forgotten. People still remember him, his haunts and wonder what could have happened to him because no trace of Monte was ever found.

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In Amador County, a group also formed to maintain his cabin on the Moke. Members met with the Forest Service in 1962 and signed an agreement. However, in 1964, the Congressional Wilderness Act was signed into law to maintain or manage wilderness as pristine. That means no trails, no structures, no mechanical devices, etc. The cabin was over fifty years old and considered historical. It was documented and went through the preservation office and evaluated. The finding was that the Wolfe cabin was eligible for the National Historic Register. I spoke with Marilyn Meyer, from the U.S. Forest Service at length about this.
There is a “next step” after eligibility to preserve a structure. That next step was never taken. The 9th Circuit Court then ruled on dams and wilderness and defines wilderness as (paraphrased) … magnificent works of nature to be kept as pristine without the interference of man…
In a nutshell, the forest service, by law, must allow the dams, and structures, such as the cabin to deteriorate and become one with nature again.
I queried her about this, knowing that the 9th Circuit Court was taking aim at the dams, not Monte’s cabin. But the law paints with a broad brush.
I find it sad that we can’t (the way the current law is now written) still preserve Monte’s cabin. Then I asked her why the U.S. Forest Service was hastening the deterioration by removing a door and chimney to the cabin?
It seems the very people who want to maintain the cabin have decided they should have it for their own personal use. They’ve cut forest service locks on the cabin door and brought in their own locks. Brought in plastic pipe to pipe water, set fires in the stove, brought in pesticide sprays, carved their initials in the cabin post and walls. While the archetecture of the cabin is unique and admirable, the people who have made alterations do not appreciate that historic buildings are not altered. They are maintained as they were.

The destiny of the cabin is deterioration. Sad as that is, it won’t affect the legend that is Monte Wolfe. Don de Young has a book coming out about Monte with much new information about his life. I’ll be sure and let you know when it is available. And who knows, maybe the preservation group will investigate legal options to see if the cabin can legally be preserved and become a National Monument.
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LIVING POOR NOSTALGIA

My background is pretty rustic. My brother is in front of the two room log house we lived in. Behind it, is a clapboard building my father dragged on to the property with horses and a dray to house hunters in the winter. It contained four home-made bunks, a table, and a wood stove. We lived entirely off the land and hunters brought in extra money. We had no indoor plumbing and, at first, no electricity, either.
When I first moved to California, someone invited me to go camping. I wasn’t interested. I LIVED that way. A wood fire holds no romance for one such as me because I disliked stacking wood, the dirt, the chips from my father’s axe that I had to pick up by the wagon load for kindling. Typical kid complaints while we took for granted the whole outdoors and bountiful nature at our feet.
With my recent visit from my old neighbors, I’m reminded of the wonderful things about living poor. I’m grounded, hard working, practical, a conservationist. (That is the word we used before environmentalist became common.) It surprised me that the years could wash away and we could reconnect and feel that we had a lot in common even though Bernice and Marie, each became the wife of farmers, had no higher education, and remained in the same, small community of Hardwood, Mi.
Pat, on the other hand, moved to Indiana and worked in the “big city.” None of us attended college and all of us consider ourselves “successful”, whatever that means. Let us say, we are no longer poor.
I believe we reconnected so easily because we share the same values. Hard work, the importance of family, self sufficiency, and consistency, come to mind. We share attitudes of stick-to-it, never give up, help yourself and above all, be a good neighbor. There was an-I can do anything anyone else can d0-attitude at our house. I feel so fortunate that my folks drilled those values home. As a consequence, we were rich in friends and self satisfaction. I believe I’ve retained those values today and they have held me in good stead.
The biggest difference, as it turns out, is I have good health insurance and have retired. Pat, the city worker, the same. Farmers typically do not have health insurance, and that difference is enormous for Bernice, whose husband died of a long catastrophic illness. She now works, at age 71, in an Indian Casino to pay for her deceased husband’s medical bills that were enormous. Marie, too, a widow, has a low social security income and no medical insurance. She is 78 and typical of the type of salt-of-the-earth, hard working person who needs affordable health insurance. Well, enough said.
I actually meant to blog today about the National Parks, another “camping” venue, but I got carried away with nostalgia. Maybe tomorrow.
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