Posts Tagged With: lumber

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California’s most devastating fire, the Yosemite Rim Fire left millions of board feet of trees lying on the ground. Our local district representative,  McClintock,  pushed to fast track getting that lumber to market before it disintegrated. He pointed out that it would provide jobs and money to locals, open up the mills again and put loggers to work.  Good idea.

In past fires, smaller ones in our county, locals brought out volumes of wood for profit. Volunteers cut up gobs of it for firewood for seniors or people in need. Some of it got to local mills. Some disintegrated on the ground which isn’t all bad, since fire blackened areas recuperate faster when the dead timber is left in place, or at least part of it.

Guess what?   SPI went in and machine removed that timber very quickly. It is now sitting on a dock in Stockton to be barged to Oakland to be exported to China and Japan.  So much for opening local mills. There were people who yelled it wouldn’t happen when McClintock was making his “heroic pitch.” They were right, of course. It is all about big corporate profits, not about local communities.

I love trees and wonder if man has a cog in the brain that dictates let no living thing go untrammeled by we superior beings. The little cog shaped like a dollar sign. It started early, with the giant redwoods. Falling the biggest and most magnificent tree to prove they could do it. The wood unusable because they had no saws or equipment big enough to  handle trees of such size.

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Now that we know forests are carbon sinks and necessary to help halt global warming, it doesn’t seem to discourage decimating private forest and allowing lumbering on a major scale in National Forests, too. The U.S. Forest Service has sold out to lumber interests all over the country, contrary to what they say.

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Politicians see money and workers see job preservation.

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There is a 501c3 organization trying to hold up Forest Service Ethics, made up of some Forest Service Employees. Obviously employees serving see a need for this organization or it wouldn’t exist.

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Homes to critters.

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Used as fence posts, here the barbed wire has grown into the tree. Some cottonwood trees in plains states are cut, put into the ground immediately, take root and grow into a living fence.

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Enjoy them while you can and remember to protect these wonders of nature if you have an opportunity. I burn wood, but I hate cutting trees and only burn what gets damaged by storms and fits in my stove. I rarely have a fire to clear brush or dead wood, only twice in over 30 years.   I leave most of it on the ground to naturally decay. Many others do the same, or hire a chipper.

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KOOTENAI FALLS AND BONNERS FERRY

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Nine miles west of Libby is the Kootenai Falls and Swinging Bridge.  I appreciated this sign because we have a place in our county referred to as Candy Rock that is popular with young people and there have been tragic drownings. The Corp of engineers dynamited one of the dangerous whirlpools but it still isn’t a safe place to play. A sign like this might be helpful. In fact, this is where the movie River Wild was filmed and where Meryl Streep got washed off the raft and nearly drowned.

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Before you get to the river bank, you have to cross this very safe railroad bridge which was one and a half flights of stairs up on this side.DSC00832 (Copy)

A train was coming while we were on the bridge, so like kids we had to watch it. Hey, a new experience for me. I hope you are chuckling.

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We didn’t watch it until it disappeared. (Jim moans that I’ll use up all of our picture bytes before I fly home.)DSC00843 (Copy)

The down hill path was clean and easy looking, but that soon changed.

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At the back of my mind, I’m thinking I’ve got to climb back up. This is my first  big challenge, a mile hike over rough terrain and…steps. Plus, this is a non-pain pill day. I’m on pain pills every other day right now and I know I’m getting stronger.

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And there she is. I was expecting one of those bridges with net sides where every step makes you question your judgment. This one is well braced from below and much more stable but still gives a significant bounce.  A sign tells you no more than five people at a time on the bridge. This is a new bridge that replaced the old one lost in a flood. Built by the U.S. Forest service for fire access.

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It still bounces a good bit with two people on it. Maybe I’m glad it isn’t the net variety. The chain link sides are pretty comforting.

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Over the edges of the bridge I looked for stromatolite formations. Signs about the geology talk about the formations formed in shallow water, but we are so high up you can’t really see them well. This is also a river of “folds” formations that cause great ripples. And, they talk about the various colors of sandstone in the area.

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We got off the bridge and walked back to the right fork to the falls. I found one rock with the described formation-a stomatolite. DSC00884 (Copy)

I did find some pretty colored rocks, like this baby blue and some lavender.

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Yellow and pink. I couldn’t help but think how much prettier these rocks would look under water or after a rain instead of on this dusty path. It was a cold morning and I didn’t brink a water bottle.DSC00882 (Copy)

I spit on a kleenex and swiped the rocks here and there. And it does show how pretty they are but I only had one kleenex in my pocket and Jim thinks I’m nuts anyway.

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I don’t have a clue what type of tree this is. I think it may be a peeled one of the tree next to it. I wish it was labeled. What a beauty. DSC00893 (Copy)

And finally the falls. It looks like we are level with it, but it is down a very steep, rocky cliff from where we are standing.

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It falls about 300 feet in a very short distance.

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We hiked back to the railroad bridge and on the river side, there are 3 and a half sets of these long flights of stairs to get up. I was committed when I came, so I had to climb them without taking baby steps. A small epiphany for me, I slept well. This morning I feel no pain and I feel stronger. Good portent for the future.

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We met some fisher people on the path. They go for kokanee salmon. “Heard they were running.”   I expect that means spawning. DSC00904 (Copy)

The Kootenai Falls is in Montana and we crossed into Idaho and stopped at Bonners Ferry.DSC00910 (Copy)

This is a days catch of sturgeon from the Kootenai River. I don’t know if they still exist. One picture showed a record size sturgeon of 315 pounds.

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Bonners Ferry was started by E.L. Bonner in 1863. Gold was discovered and a frantic rush of people headed for British Columbia had to cross the river. Bonner was one of them. He noticed the hold-up getting across the river, got the crossing rights, and built a ferry here. After the gold rush, the economy was based on timber. Here a mammoth log drive of 80,000,000 board feet.

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The size of the logs, the power of the horses and strength of the men is impressive especially compared with today where there is nothing left of these giant forests but “twigs”. I see trucks all the time with trees of 9-11 inches in diameter coming out of the woods, here and in California where I live,  also a logging area.

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Not only the size of the logs, but the danger of riding with such massive logs aimed at your head as on this truck.  Even modern log truck drivers check their chains before going down hill with logs behind their heads. I’ve ridden out of the woods with one of them.

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Now, that’s a load. The area thrived not only on its timber, but the Pacific Railroad came through here as well.

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This was a wonderful museum.  William Wright’s saw buck pack-saddle, made of wood, from 1896. Wright ran a string of pack horses through “buffalo hump” country and up the Wild Horse Trail. He renamed Mosquito Flats by tearing down the sign and replacing it with one that said Paradise Flats. DSC00916 (Copy)

This couple is showing off their new car. But, look at the pride in that woman’s face. Isn’t that a hoot?  SHE’s doing the driving.

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I recently discovered a gas burning iron. And now a charcoal burning iron.

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My mother owned a Ouija board, but, we and she thought it was pretty boring. She tossed it.DSC00931 (Copy)

Most old clocks have a similar kind of look. This one was different and still chimed.

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This museum had a lot of nice things, and good personal people stories. They had a beautiful portrait gallery of the movers and shakers of Bonners Ferry. The huge portraits, at least 100 of them, were accompanied by a biography below it like this:

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This way you knew who they were and what they did. C.W. King was the youngest senator to serve in the Idaho Senate.

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A woman who rescued her husband from an Indian Tribe bent on execution. You will enjoy this museum, and this community. Bonners Ferry is progressive. They have a farmers market and a brewpub. What more do you need?

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LIBBY, MONTANA

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Driving from Kelispell to Libby yesterday morning  brought us through 9 miles of road work much of it really, bumpy gravel.

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Elevation rises, more trees and stump farms with scraggly second or third growth. One plot had about 3 scraggly trees and nothing but stumps. This is lumber country obviously and the twigs we see everywhere that pass for trees is disheartening even if it is private land.

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Libby is called the City of Eagles. We didn’t see any flying around or nesting spots along the roadway, but there were plenty of them around town.

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We had expected to see the Museum and Nordic Heritage Center, but it was closed.

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We missed by one day the Nordic Heritage Days annual celebration. This sign was left on the street. We pulled in to stay at the VFW in town and just walked the downtown area and took pictures.

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I  judge the health of a small town by its art or lack of it, good beer, buildings that are well cared for and if you see a nice child care center, a drug treatment center, senior center, plenty of doctors offices, a hospital and good looking schools you know you are in a progressive community. Libby qualifies. The main street was only about four blocks long and two blocks deep, but it was full of murals and they are expensive. DSC00811 (Copy)

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Even their garbage cans were painted. This one mentions their Annual River Front Blues Festival. DSC00807 (Copy)

They still have a working theater in town. Nice.

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The Libby Cafe claims to have the best huckleberry flapjacks in Montana.  I liked their sign.

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This one too.

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Libby has an Amtrak Station so you can get where you want to go. Country living, small town, pretty nice place to live.

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NORTH WEST FRIENDS

Rainy, blustery, Northwest weather. After last nights rain, we thought our feet had grown webs during the night. But, safe and secure at Jim’s good friends, CeeCee and Aaron Canvasser who live out on Cape Blanco Rd. near an interesting lighthouse.

It is listed on the National Historic Monuments, but not open the day of our visit.

A similar beacon located at the mouth of the Umpqua River, visible from the road on Winchester Bay is a popular clamming area.   Small towns along highway 101 are popular with tourists who like to boat and fish.

Unique to the area are dunes. We saw many signs for dune buggy rentals and truck/trailers pulling dune buggies. Dunes National Recreation Area lies along this stretch of highway.

Where there’s water there’s bridges, beautiful arches resemble an abstract painting.

Near Bandon.

Possibly the Suislaw River Bridge. Photographing bridges on the fly.

A rotating railroad drawbridge near Florence.

The Northwest sends lumber all over the state and a mill at Coos Bay with huge sawdust piles is the leftovers. At one time sawdust was burned as waste. No longer.

Coos Bay is a charming place to visit. Old and new buildings mingle. At certain times of year you can buy chowder and live crabs along the waterfront. A picturesque area at Bandon.

But the best part for me was meeting CeeCee, wife of Aaron Canvasser. I’d met Aaron before at Apache Junction in January when he was ballroom dancing at an International venue. CeeCee wasn’t able to attend with him. Yesterday, we parked in their yard and enjoyed a game of Quiddler, snacked, sipped and visited. CeeCee cooked us a great seafood pasta for dinner. I have great memories of Aaron because he gave me a memorable haircut and I consider him my favorite barber. We both laughed as people passing by asked for their own “free” haircut. And then, Aaron challenged me to cut his hair, which I did.

We’ve been accused of having too much fun.

 

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