I have logger friends who no longer speak to me. They think I’m a tree hugging nut. They are adamant about the trees being ‘renewable resources’. My questions to them is:
“Out of all the trees you have cut down how many have you planted to take their place?” Before you answer with, That is someone else’s department … another question I have is: “Have you held that ‘other department’ accountable to do their part?” and “Do you care that they have not?”
Anger abounds from a man who is trying to feed his family, he may think that tree lovers are trying to take away his livelihood, and this simply is not the case.
The trees are our next breath. If they are not replenished in a manner that is sustainable for the planet, then we are killing ourselves, and those we claim to love. This is the real issue.
I love a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and the woods as much as the next person. I love having wood to burn in my fireplace in the winter, however, balance is needed, and it is obvious, there is none.
Rather than warring with each other, we ought to work together … different aspects of the whole, to ensure that what we do is balanced and good for all.
Two weeks ago I hiked the Cape Horn Trailhead and I wondered why I had this urgent need to hike the 8.3 miles. Now I know. The loss of this beautiful forest is indeed one of the most tragic things to hit the Northwest.
Home … I lived in this forest 12 miles from the nearest town, the nearest neighbor a mile to the left and right and the river to one side and the mountains to the other. I knew this forest intimately … well enough that upon my recent adventures to visit the trees I knew they were not doing well.
I spoke with Rangers near the Ripplebrook Ranger Station this last weekend and discovered that there has been a disease they were trying to combat. It is difficult to see from this beautiful picture, but they were dry, brittle, and dying on the inside. Being part of the forest every waking moment for those 8 years I can sense, and see, the suffering.
At Panther Creek I noted a big Forest Service sign stating they were growing an experimental forest, this “disease” is making all of the forests sick … now there are many which burn.
This is my home … I went to bed every night listening to the Wind River as it flowed outside my bedroom window, the forest alive with the sound of the life it held. In the past month my visits to this forest have been filled with silence, no songs were being sung, like they once were.
I have been blessed with a final opportunity to say my appreciation to these wonderful trees, these trees and land that healed me when I was broken. I thank God for urging me in their direction … one last time … before they had to go.
It is tragic … this beautiful life giver of a forest … gone.
The Forest Service and Rangers are doing everything they can to maintain the health of our forests. I learned yesterday that although a wildfire in 2015 cause much of the damage I saw in the Mt Hood Forest, there is indeed a new ‘disease’ that is being fought with experimental methods in one section of the forest.
When we visit different forests we see that the overall health of the trees, in all places, is failing. Some people do not see this. There are many factors which no one is willing to admit are occurring (and I will not repeat in this post), however they ARE occurring and the forests are suffering.
While on my hike yesterday, I picked up cigarette butts that were thrown to the ground by people. Of the many I plucked from the ground, only one (1) had the filter removed and carried away by the smoker, so I would like to thank that ONE person for caring about the forest. As an ex-smoker, I understand completely both sides of this reality, and my hope is that those who still suffer this addiction will one day see, and be aware, that filters do not decompose and are harmful to the forest which they love and wish to spend time in.
These trees purify our breath so that we may again take in another. This is how important they are … they are our next breath. Let us behave as though we care. Let us be aware.
Today’s adventure on a hot day was incredible! I hiked 1.5 miles in, and 1.5 miles out, taking my time and enjoying every detail my little eyes could catch glimpse of. I ate my orange for lunch while lounging right on the creek.
The forest is an amazing, living body. The smells were rich with berries although I could not see them. There were many little chipmunks. While I soaked in my tub, a little one came and helped itself to the remaining portion of my banana. Such a beautiful animal.
Today, it seemed I was held in the embrace of everything that lives here, much like the stones were held in the embrace of the root structure of this ‘once upon a time’ tall and majestic tree. Other people on the trail were friendly, a spark was in each of them that shone and brought comfort, I felt I was among friends.
With all that is going on in this world, it should be apparent that there is a significant lack of connection. Connection with nature, connection with each other, connection to our foods and water. These things need our connection as much as we need the connection with all of them.
Taking time away from the steady stream of pre-programmed items for sale is the only way to health and well-being, for ourselves, and for the world.
It was a long and beautiful hike. I was pretty tired at the end, and no wonder. The 3 hour, 7.1 mile, moderate difficulty hike I thought I was taking turned out to be an 8.3 mile, strenuous difficuly hike.
This was an experience that left me breathless, literally.
The sites were amazing! My muscles worked, my lungs added a ton of air to my body. I visualized them burning the toxins from my form and as I replaced the water my body sweat out, I saw my self purified.
Only when I reached the top and looked out and down did I realize what a climb I had taken! The views were spectacular!
The natural rock steps as I trekked up this trail were incredible! I actually was not quite prepared for this as I wore sandals that were not really snug to the foot and they kept trying to slip off. Next time I hike, I’ll be wearing at least tennis shoes!
After walking the decline for a time I met the rocky slope and it started to incline once more. I thought my legs were going to scream, I know I wanted to verbalize my surprise, however there was no one to tell it to.
I had stopped several times in the past on the Cape Overlook above. I was curious every time what was down here at the bottom, and now I know. It is a unique perspective seeing from above all these years an finally making it to the bottom.
This journey was a challenging one. By the end of this hike my 51 year old self was asking me why I chose to do this, and the answer is simple … I was unprepared, I accepted a challenge without fully investigating it.
Lesson learned. Full research will be made for future hikes, sturdy footwear and an extra bottle of water will be brought also.