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A Lesson on Where NOT to Camp

South Fork, CO. There is a quiet, but profound, satisfaction when using a mountain bike for "foraging" and reconnaissance, rather than mere entertainment or exercise. The more business-like camping and exercise become, the more authentic they feel. That's what makes this a job, rather than a vacation.

It's an under-rated pleasure to mountain bike on a perfect forest road; one that is smooth, graded, hard, and relentlessly, mercilessly uphill. The shade held up well, and it kept getting cooler. The forest changed into thick, overgrown spruce at 10,000 feet. Other than the shade over the road there isn't a single good thing to say about spruce forests.

Finally I got an open view of the neighborhood mountain. Alas there was probably no way to hike above tree-line from this road without bushwhacking through that disgusting spruce forest. Finding this out was why I was there.

Some automatic mechanisms clicked into place when I found the best dispersed campsite on this road. The "app" in my brain-stem started assessing angles, widths, levelness, etc.

Hey wait a minute. The forest fire that is still burning in this area reached "Biblical proportions" because of the huge buildup of beetle-killed spruce. What the media and the authorities absolutely CANNOT say is that there are three times as many trees per acre as there should be, and who do think is responsible for that?

At this particular site the trees were probably 6 feet apart -- and I've seen worse. Furthermore, only 20% of them were dead. So, by Colorado standards, this forest is in relatively good shape.

But I was not even tempted to go back there to camp, despite the cool temperatures.


Michael said…
"There is a quiet, but profound, satisfaction when using a mountain bike for "foraging" and reconnaissance, rather than mere entertainment or exercise."

I find, similarly, that exerting the body in pursuit of a "real" and tangible accomplishment--whether planting a tree or repairing a fence--is far more satisfying than merely lifting weights or putting in time on the treadmill. The brain knows and loves the road from unambiguous purpose to its attainment--and rewards us with poise and quiet delight when we travel accordingly.
Michael, your tree or fence are examples of the same satisfaction people get by gardening, I suppose. The real nature-lovers are nature-livers, not just consumers of visual entertainment in the Outdoors.
I keep waking up expecting to see you in the yellow jersey leading the tour de france
Brian said…
The tree over population is actually closer to 7X historical (400 years) averages.

people try to claim that "Global Warming" and drought is the cause of these catastrophic fires and bugs are the cause of the die offs.

The Beetle can Only attack old or stressed trees that cannot defend themselves with sap flow against the boring beetle. Since fires were prohibited for 100+ years and over the past 50 years or so, logging has been virtually eliminated (90% reduction in Oregon!) the forests are ALL Senile. That is, ONLY old age, vulnerable trees remain.

Now, if folks would think about it... there is NO DROUGHT... there are simply too many trees.

An analogy that might get through to a few; A couple is living in an RV. Water, food, everything they need. They do pretty good. NOW... multiply the couple by a factor of 7. NOW, 14 people are living in that SAME SPACE. Same volume of water, same food supply, same everything, except now that water must support SEVEN times the timber... That food must feed not 2 but 14!

... and people WONDER why they forests are so dry and sickly? Those same people would wonder why their legs broke when they jumped off the roof!

They buy into the BS, feel good, walt disney education of precious wise bears and noble wolves defending the delicate lil bunnies, and can't use their brains for other than hat racks.

The forests are NOT going to be saved. At the current rate the forests managed into terminal wood piles by the U.S. Government, at the behest of Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and all the other Disney Educated, science fiction, fantasy worlders, will ALL burn over the next 15 to 20 years. There is no fixing it now. It would take that long to rebuild a functioning lumber industry to correct the mismanagement. Too little too late.

I'd suggest investing in the companies that manufacture SMORE's supplies.
Excellent comment, Brian. You mentioned Greens trying to blame bark beetles on global warming. In fact, the Wikipedia article slyly insinuates that. Many people don't know that Green activists keep submitting the articles that Wikipedia displays. Unfortunately, too many people think Wikipedia is authoritative, as we used to see Britannica years ago.
XXXXX said…
At this moment, there is an article on the CNN website about the 19 firefighters in Arizona that lost their lives. All I can feel is absolute anger and outrage that such human stupidity exists that would require men to go into a fire like that in order to try to prevent total disaster to the towns. At the end of the article, written by a well meaning person I assume, comes the ridiculous and absolutely ludicrous comment about how many "likes" on facebook a page received, one dedicated as a tribute to these men. Somehow this matters!!!!!!!!!!!
They called them heroes, not for them, but for us, to gloss over what we have created that makes their efforts necessary. It makes us feel better and shifts the blame away from us, but the truth is that society is a mighty selfish and stupid thing.
Wow George, thanks for the heads-up. I don't really follow the headline news.

A great tragedy on a human level, of course.

"They called them heroes, not for them, but for us..." As usual, the internet's only uber-commenter, who is entitled to his own Paypal Donation Box, makes a comment that would require an entire essay to answer.

You know, I'm not getting paid for this job, George. I work hard enough. I think you should start your own blog, in order to share the work-load!
Rick said…
Forests must burn as they have for millions of years. When I was in the University my professors were quite anguished about extinguishing forest fires. Lighting does it job and we must let the ashes renew beautiful plants.