Saturday, April 25, 2009

Procession of the Species

We proceeded today today. That means I took down my closet curtain and put it over my head for a few hours. I saw three people from my photography class at the parade. I recognized them not by their faces but by their cameras. I hope one of them took a picture of us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm not the only one who has been rescued by brush pickers

One snowy day, she started up a hill when the tires spun out. She flipped over with the jeep and the mail waiting for someone to come by the seldom-used road. As it turned out two men that were out picking Huckleberry brush to sell at the Quilcene brush plant found her, tipped the jeep back over and off she went on her way along the mail route and home again

I did not roll over my Jeep but I got it good and stuck on a back road last May.

Brush Pickers, POS, Monday hikers

Monday Hikers:
Here is what is planned for this coming Monday:

Walkers: The Walkers are hiking Fort Warden. They will car pool in Poulsbo at 9;15, depart at 9:30 arriving at Fort Worden at about 10:30 meeting up at Building 300 (Visitors' Center). They will walk west along West Gate Road then proceed north along an unmarked trail paralleling the west boundary as far as the Chinese Gardens then proceed southeasterly to the cars along unimproved roads.

Hikers: The Hikers are hiking Lower Big Quil. They will car pool in Poulsbo at 8am.

Mountain Goats: The M.G.'s will hike the Little River Trail. They will car pool in Poulsbo at 8am. The M.G.'s will be checking for downed trees. If you have a GPS - bring it.

I've hiked with the Monday Hiker Mountain Goats twice. I hike too slow to keep up with them.

The 15th Annual Olympia's Procession of the Species will be celebrated on Saturday, April 25, 2009 @ 4:30pm last year's was an entrancing kaleidoscope of brilliant colors, delighted by 27,000 smiles beaming together.


On Brush Pickers

I don't like them cutting down the salal but the damage they do is nothing compared to what the timber industry has done and continues to do. Most of the local brush pickera are Mam Guatemalans and they come here to escape from the hell of working for American corporations in Guatemala. Mam Guetemalans are Mayan Indians who were able to hold out and survive Spanish and then American colonialism by hiding out in their mountain homes. They are no longer able to hide though and now most work for pennies a day on the coffee plantations.

Here they work from dawn until dusk, sometimes in knee deep snow and they consider it to be a better life then what they had in Guatemala. If conditions in Guatemala were not so oppressive they would not be here. Yes some of them leave garbage behind but not as much as some target shooters leave.

I don’t know anything about padlocks getting cut but lately I have seen a few heavy equipment operators who did not have the right key to open the gates when they went to check on their bull dozers, road graters and feller benchers. ICE and the forest service have teamed up to arrest brush pickers who have permits to pick brush but are not in this country legally. The forest service tends to wait on the Skokomish Valley road and then detains permitted brush pickers until ICE arrives and then ICE takes them to Port Angeles and then to Tacoma and then deports them.

Many of these brush pickers are my neighbors and my children’s classmates, they work hard and they pay taxes but most of them will never get to collect Social Security. Most of them work until they are about 60 and then they go back home to be supported by their families in their old age. While they are working in America they send money home to their extended families.

Brush pickers helped me get my Jeep unstuck on the Upper South Fork Skokomish last year. I find most of them to be friendly but also very scared because they don’t want to be deported. I am not afraid of them but they are afraid of me. I’d rather be on a trail with brush pickers then with dreaded-locked trustafarians from TESC.

Indy Media report on Ice and Brushpickers:

I.C.E. Agents Targeting Salal Pickers in Quilcene

Every two months, the Forest Service issues permits for picking salal. Immigrant workers are by far the most common group of people that line up for these permits, a fact duly noted by the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Over the past several months ICE agents have shown up to these permit issuing days on the lookout for undocumented people, reinforcing the existence of a hostile and terrifying environment for those fighting to meet their most basic needs in a country that deems them “illegal”.

Over the months, the number of groups of immigrant workers who come to buy permits has decreased considerably. The possibility of ICE agents waiting around to kidnap people, take them to the Northwest Detention Center, and forcefully deport them back to their homelands is a very real threat. Since a key element of ICE’s “smooth” functioning has been to keep raids and deportations out of sight from the rest of the community, giving these acts of violence undeniable visibility is crucial when fighting back. On Wednesday, November 19th, a group of people went to the Forest Service in Quilcine, Washington, to stand in solidarity and defense of the immigrant workers who came to pick up permits.

About fifteen minutes before they arrived, an unmarked vehicle slithered up and a large white man with a big gun jumped out. He went right after a small group of people huddled around a water fountain, screaming in Spanish “Are you Guatemalan? You want to fight me?” Two men from the group escaped, but one person was snagged and roughly dragged into the van. He is currently being caged in the NW Detention Center, torn apart from his wife and baby. The agent, who had identified himself as an immigration officer in Spanish to the men, was also seen at the previous permit issuing in September where 7 people were taken, including a mother and a baby who were later released. Additionally, a seventeen year old boy hiding in the back of a van was chased down, beaten up, and taken away by the same man.

After the rapture of the man by the armed thug, most of the people waiting to buy permits fled the area. Within an hour, some came back and waited for their turn to get a permit. Because there are usually so many people in line for permits, the Forest Service uses a “lottery” system where they take everyone’s information and randomly pick 50 people to grant permits to. Typically 150 people show up to get permits. On Wednesday, there were roughly twenty. In spite of the small crowd of people, the Forest Service stuck to their system. One by one each group went inside, showed a US picture ID, filled out a form, and forked over $150. After everyone had done this, everyone got a permit and left. The permits are good for two months or a limit of 3,000 lbs of salal.

Although Forest Service officers claimed they did not go out of their way to assist ICE, there have been many discrepancies surrounding this statement. Members of the immigrant community have said that the information collected by the Forest Service (including license plate numbers and identification for all applicants) was used to locate people in recent raids. Two weeks after the September issuing of permits two vans of brush pickers, all with Forest Service granted permits, were detained on their way back from work by ICE officials. Also, those who went in solidarity learned that after the November 19th permit issuing, the same unidentified immigration agent followed a van of Guatemalan immigrants and there was a car accident. One woman is reportedly in the hospital.
Through conversations with immigrant workers and other allies, the group of people who went to Quilcine learned of a dangerous problem becoming more common: smaller scale employers and documented immigrant employers hiring undocumented people to do heavy physical labor, and then avoiding paying them by either threatening to call ICE and snitch, or calling ICE and telling them to start running. One man remembered doing a week of intense labor, expected to receive compensation, and then was told by his employer that immigration agents were on their way. Cashing in on a very tangible fear sweeping the targeted immigrant community provides free, expendable labor for employers. In the name of profit, greedy monsters are helping the Department of Homeland Security do its violent work.

The next permit issuing is scheduled for January 21st, the summoning date on each permit granted in November. A supportive, non-intimidating presence can provide some level of protection for our targeted sisters and brothers as long as we respect their autonomy, make no assumptions about our role as allies, do not impose our help, and maintain good communication (on their terms) throughout this struggle. Bringing cameras to focus on ICE agents (should they show up) is a good idea, keeping in mind the importance of not compromising the safety of our hunted-down comrades. As privileged, documented citizens, we must take personal stakes in tearing these monsters and their institutions to the ground.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fir Lake

Snow overed Lake with Chapel Peak and the inlet stream in the background.

After tossing and turning for half the night I woke up tired and with a headache. But I needed to hike for the sake of my mental health, so off I went. I decided to go for the Lake because I expected to get complete solitude there. I was right, I had the lake and the trail all to myself. I’ve come to value solitude over everything else. Solitude combined with old growth is the ultimate for me. There is some old growth at the Lake but some of it has been cut too. I did not realize that some of it had been cut, but this time I saw the stumps.

On the way to the trail head I had to stop at the hardware store to get some denatured alcohol for my stove and while I was in the store my dog tried to get into the smore fixings on the front seat but she failed. Waiting in line a the cash registers was almost more then I could bear. They are so slow in that store, the name change from Lumberman’s to what ever it is called now did not speed up the service.

I have been to the Lake one other time, it was last fall and it rained for my entire hike. The fall colors were nice but I was tired of the rain by the time I got back to my car. This time the sun was out but snow made travel difficult. Last Winter I tried to go to Pine Lake but had to turn back due to the snow.

The snow was not as deep this time but I almost turned back 3 miles short of the lake. The going was very tough with snow and brush covering most of the route. In the summer the brush will be gone because the brush is actually just young alder trees that have been bent over under the burden of snow.

Most of the route was snow covered and I was sinking about 5 inches with almost every step. Many times I would suddenly sink to my knee and have to catch myself with my hands. In some places the snow and brush combined to make booby traps but I did not get caught in any of them. The last ½ mile was a bit steep and the snow was very deep. I could only take about ten steps before I had to rest, I was not out of breath but my legs were too weak to continue.

When I got to the lake I took a long lunch break and did some sun bathing. Yes sunbathing on the beach of a snow covered lake. The sunlight and the breeze felt so nice.

I would have stayed for hours but I had forgotten to pack enough food for the trip. The only food I had was my lunch and it was small. I normally eat several power bars in addiction to my lunch when I go on an all day hike. I had to share a bit of my lunch with my dog since I had also forgotten to bring the dog food from the Jeep. On the way back I got hungry after just .10 of a mile and I knew it was going to be a long time before I got food. I ate quite a few snowballs to calm my stomach. Each bite of snow ball gave a bit of relief as it hit my stomach. I got so hungry that for a second I caught my self thinking that the dog food in my Jeep might taste yummy. I had no food for myself in the Jeep.

When I got back to the Jeep I was very jealous that my dog had food and I did not. But my dog did not want her dog food; she only wanted to beg for my tea. Then suddenly I remembered that I had all the fixings for s'mores in my Jeep. In my Jeep I had a 10 pack of full sized Hershey bars, a bag of marshmallows and 2/3 of a box of graham crackers. Oh and three hotdogs that had been in the Jeep since last week. I ignored the crackers and marshmallows but scarfed down two chocolate bars and drank half a thermos of tea as I drove home. I tossed the hotdogs out into the woods when my dog was not looking.

I think this is the longest ten miles I have ever hiked. I am going to be very tired and sore tomorrow but it was worth it. I started my hike at about 11:30 and finished at about 7:45. I got back just before sunset. It took me 3 hours to walk 5 miles down hill on the way back, that is how rough this trail was. Normally I go 3MPH when going downhills on the way back.

I again got to see the thinning that the Forest Service did up here. I looks better then to old style clear-cuts but still I wish they would find a way to manage trees that did not involve the use of a chainsaw.

The last three times in a row that I have been on the Forest Service 23 road I have seen the Ranger. This is really odd because I had never once in all my travels seen a ranger in the Skokomish area. There is only one Ranger for all for all of the Hood Canal. I wonder why the Ranger is suddenly spending so much time in my neck of the woods. I suspect it has to do with a recent collaboration between the forest service and home land security. I’ve read that they are cracking down hard on brush pickers. I really hate to see that, life in Guatemala is pure hell thanks to U.S. companies like Dole. I don’t blame the Guatemalans for coming here. To them picking salal in knee deep snow from dusk till dawn is a better life then what they had back home.

If this is poorly written is for a reason. I’m manic and I’m absolutely exhausted. Seeing my doctor week before last sent my head spinning. The cure is still worse then the disease.

10 miles with 900 feet elevation gain.

Old Growth Stump on the shore of the Lake

I saw the shot guns shells from Jan 2008 that had been used to shoot down a tree in front of my Jeep. I was worried that my Jeep would get broken into here but it was fine. There was a Volvo tractor parked about 1/2 of a mile from the Gate, I don't know what type of work it has been doing.

I don't have a lot of pictures to upload because I also brought my black and white film camera and took a lot of my pictures with it. I hope I got some good artistic shots. I don't know when I will develop the film, I'll probaby be too tired to do it tomorrow.

Other times I have blogged This Lake
January 06, 2008
Fir Lake Almost
September 30, 2007
Fir Lake

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wine Mirror

When my wrist was in a cast I was stir crazy and kept myself busy making wine. It is difficult to make wine with just one hand but I managed ok.

I've been in a photography class for three weeks now. I finally know what all those controls on my digital camera mean. I'm also in awe of my digital camera and how it can do all those things needed automatically give me a perfectly focused and lit picture most of the time.

My class is about black and white film photography. There is a heavy emphasis on art.

Monday, April 13, 2009


(ok these are really verpas but close enough)

I could hardly contain my glee when I found these. I've gone on special trips to look for these under cotton wood trees for 4 Springs in a row with out ever finding one. This time I was just out looking for a place to take a photo when I happened on a cotton wood tree and decided to go ahead and look for morels while I was there. I was so surprised to finally find one! These were bigger then I expected too. I was looking for small black morels like I found in a burn site a few years ago. In the past I've driven over the mountains to Eastern Washington with the mushroom club from hell to look for morels and only came up with two of them. But today I just went for stroll in my own neighborhood and I walked away with a bowl full of morels. The only compliant I have is that these are a bit past their prime but now that I know where they grow I'll be back next year. We ate half of them tonight and will eat the other half tomorrow night. When ever we eat a new mushroom variety we only eat a little bit and then wait 24 hours before we try it again.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I think it took posting to the Northwest hikers net forum to find my shoe. I just went outside and looked for places that shoes could "hang up" and low and behold my shoe was hanging from a nail at just above eye level right outside my front door.

I now remember hanging it up there and wishing I could find a nail or anything to hang my other shoe on. These shoes were too special to allow to touch the ground.

Thanks for all your help Northwest Hikers net. I now must go update my blog where I have five followers who are desperate to learn anything they can about my missing shoe.

I was a fool to ever leave your side
Me minus you is such a lonely ride
The breakup we had has made me lonesome and sad
I realize I love you 'cause I want you bad, hey, hey

I spent the ev'ning with the radio
Regret the moment that I let you go
Our quarrel was such a way of learnin' so much
I know now that I love you 'cause I need your touch, hey, hey

Reunited and it feels so good
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited 'cause we're reunited, hey, hey

brief instrumental interlude

I sat here starin' at the same old wall
Came back to life just when I got your call
I wished I could climb right through the telephone line
And give you what you want so you will still be mine, hey, hey

I can't go cheatin', honey, I can't play
I found it very hard to stay away
As we reminisce on precious moments like this
I'm glad we're back together 'cause I missed your kiss, hey, hey


Yeah, yeah, yeah

Lover, lover, this is solid love
And you're exactly what I'm dreamin' of
All through the day
And all through the night
I'll give you all the love I have with all my might, hey, hey


My wrist

My right wrist is still stiff and it makes funny noises but it does not hurt much anymore. I can open cans with ease now but each time I open a can I am reminded that my wrist is on the mend.

I see I have 5 followers. Wow, I guess my missing shoe has generated a lot of excitement!

Here is a what my missing shoe looks like

Please let me know if you have seen it.

My wrist

My right wrist is still stiff and it makes funny noises but it does not hurt much anymore. I can open cans with ease now but each time I open a can I am reminded that my wrist is on the mend.

I see I have 5 followers. Wow, I guess my missing shoe has generated a lot of excitement!

Here is a what my missing shoe looks like

Please let me know if you have seen it.

Update on my shoe

My right shoe is still missing. My daugher is home and she says she is sure she saw my shoe "hanging up" somewhere. No matter at the moment, I think I have the flu and I won't be hiking this weekend. I've been hit with a sudden high fever and a headache.

Update on my shoe

My right shoe is still missing. My daugher is home and she says she is sure she saw my shoe "hanging up" somewhere. No matter at the moment, I think I have the flu and I won't be hiking this weekend. I've been hit with a sudden high fever and a headache.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Missing Shoe

My missing shoe is still missing and I want to go hiking this weekend. I went to Big 5 and found some slightly uncomfortable waterproof shoes on sale for $20.00 they are supposed to normally cost $50.. Wish me luck.

I'm not quite ready to spring for new green superfeet. I bought them online so they cost half what RIE charges so I guess they could have been a bigger loss.

I might start taking a Black and White film camera on my trips but If I do I'll have to find a way to scan the pictures so maybe not.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day

Happy April Fools day. Stair case should be open now.