Stalking the wild oyster. Hama Hama, Hood Canal, Washington.
One of the more interesting items found on the Skokomish Indian Reservation in Washington State are creatively named and festively painted firework stands.
Open a few weeks each summer, these thrown-together coops will experience a lucrative trade of eager pyromaniacs, standing three -deep, late into the evening for a chance to acquire the sort of munitions normally reserved for trained professionals or lunatic zealots.
Thumb Crackers, Bone Thumpers, Ear Splitters, and Widow Makers…if it’s frowned upon by your municipality, you can find it on the Res.
Mount Whitney sunset, approach to Whitney Portal
The Mt. Whitney area is a tinderbox, exhausted fire crews everywhere.
More rumor than road…
Hiking along a trail at 10,000 feet in the Sierra Nevadas, I wandered down a game trail for a photograph and soon found myself maneuvering through loose skree. In a covered spot, under some old junipers a mound of dried powder caught my attention. It appeared to be a fire but without any left-over coals or remnants of wood, only ash. Lying slightly below the surface I excavated a metal tag identifying the ash as ‘cremains’. The LA County Crematorium is a facility for the indigent and unclaimed.
Manzanar, Japanese internment camp
It’s a cold, empty spot for sure. Hostile to all but the most prepared and anyone sent here had no idea where they were headed. The Owens Valley is a long, arid graben with little respite from heat or snow. Wonderful landscape however, flayed open by weather, pressure and time.
This area is where the backstory to ‘Chinatown’ developed. The ‘California Water Wars’ made a lot of L.A. insiders rich and left the ranchers and farmers in the Owens Valley holding an empty desert bag.
Tucked away in the in the White Mountains eastern California at around 11,000 feet altitude is the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. This is the location of the The Methuselah Grove, bristlecone pines averaging 4,500+ years old. The location of the Methuselah Tree, the oldest living thing on the planet other than fungus (4,750 years old) is kept secret so that some jagg-off doesn’t cut it down to make a picnic table or playhouse for his kids. The oldest specimen was removed years ago by a ‘research team’ from Georgia who thought, “Golly Jim, these look really old, let’s cut one down …” Since then these wonderful trees have been protected. It’s a short hike to view these magnificent survivors but at 11,000 feet I was huffin’ like an ox drawing a Conestoga wagon over the continental divide.