Ancient Forest Murmers

Monday, March 20, 2006

Dateline - Redding, CA

After days of frantic preparation, we finally set forth yesterday. By the time we left all we could do is drag ourselves as far as our daughters' house in westbound.

After the first night in Merybus in so long we slept like logs. Alas, we awoke to the sound of RAIN. We quickly dropped the lid and beat feet up the Trinity Highway (CA 299), landing in Redding in the afternoon, cold and very tired after going over two passes in the snow. We rest, motel bound, in a bed far less comfortable than the van.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Onward and Outward

I'm humming sea chanties as we make final preparations for our trip to the Southwest and hopefully all the way to the Atlantic.  Along the way I hope to sample some of the other flavors of ancient forest.  "Merybus", our veteran Westfalia (she's old enough not to get carded!" is ready as she ever will be.  The binoculars are stowed, as are the references.  Hopefully we will not have too much trouble finding connections for our laptop to continue postings.
Soon we should be among the Creosote Bush of the Mojave.  With the intense drought the prospect for spring flowers is poor, but it has rained some lately - I heard an inch yesterday in Tucson - so maybe all will be well.
We leave on the morning tide....
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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's the Ides of March and so far 2006 is turning into a wet year in the redwoods. We have had less than 10 days without rain since the first of January. Old Growth soaks and filters the rain so that quick rises are a rarity. The water rises slowly, the color tinged slightly green.

Such is not the case on the logged lands. Mill Creek, which runs through the newly purchased Mill Creek State Park. Once the dream of Newton Drewry as the heart of a Redwood National Park, the new lands are heavily clearcut with hundreds of miles of in-sloped roads and numerous slope failures and failing culverts. I hope to become involved in the hands-on work of restoration on these lands. This stream is the last, best, hope for Coho in California.

We leave for a spring trip to the Southwest US through to the Carolina's to visit relatives. I hope to post comments on the ancient forests I encounter along the way.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Water! Flood! Global Warming?

The latest wave of storm has brought yet higher levels in the rivers and flooding in areas that haven’t seen it in years.  The upper tributaries of the Klamath are raging, with the exception of the Trinity with it’s massive “send it to the Westlands” dam.  A quick perusal of the State of California river stage pages ( will show you the difference.  My guess is that ten feet of river are being held behind the dam.  Oh well, better than the old days where they would have kept all of the river flow.  More water always seems to mean more fish later, so these storms are great news for salmon.


 Some are sure to talk about global warming with this warm, intense weather, but those of us who have been around awhile know that this sort of weather was more common in years past.  For now, I'll say it's business as usual, and hope that wet is what we get for a long time to come.  Stay dry!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The turn of the New Year in the Redwood forest

With less than 48 hours without rain in the last month, the biological New Year is coming in with a bang!  Today the Klamath River is supposed to go four feet over flood stage, the highest level since 1997.  The winter-run fish will be able to go high upstream without any problems, a good omen for the future of salmonids.  Meanwhile, although the forest appears silent and sleeping, the roots and fungi are doing their thing, re-absorbing the needle cast of this autumn.


If you get a chance to take a walk through one of the old growth Redwood groves, take a look into the trailside duff.  Unlike forests in the drier interior, the Redwoods recycle nearly the entire leaf cast of the year, every year.  This means that all the nutrients of the site are in use all the time, little lost and only a little gained in a year, a near-perfect bioengineering feat.  No wonder that a Redwood forest has some of the highest biomass per acre in the world.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

First Thoughts and Statement of Intent

This blog will be an exploration of the world of the Redwood forest as seen by a resident of Crescent City, the home of Redwood National and State Parks. Included will be knowledge for visitors, including those of a scientific bent. Threats to the forest, it's inhabitants, it's integrity, and it's future health will be topics of consideration. I urge those who have information to share to post comments to the blog. I do not claim omnipotence and may make an error in my reporting. Please alert me through a coment to any discrepancies in my content. It is my stated goal to provide accurate, timely, and useful information. Any help toward this goal will be appreciated.

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