A Drive to Oregon

Point Arena Light

Point Arena Light

For Thanksgiving Break 2015, the kid and I drove up the coast and through the Klamath Mountains to the Willamette Valley to visit Grandma, and from thence back through the Klamaths down to Mount Shasta and McCloud. We stayed the last night of the trip in a nice room above the shops in McCloud, and had dinner at a quaint, local pizza joint. McCloud struck me as a candidate for retirement, though perhaps not the best place to spend one’s final, feeble years.

Along the way, we stopped to see the sea-granite of Bodega Head, Point Arena, the coast redwoods of the Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, plus a herd of Roosevelt elk crossing the highway.

For some unnumbered years I have been interested in the kinship between the Klamath Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. They seem to have been born together, split apart around Redding, California, and then pursued separate fates.

© 2015 Kaweah

Evergreen Lodge Cycling Trip

Cycling, El Capitan

Cycling, El Capitan

Mike and I visited the very pleasant and well-equipped Evergreen Lodge for our Spring Break 2015 outing. I was in the midst of a month off between stints at eBay and Yahoo. Mike and I were fortunate to get a modest, affordable cabin right next to the camp zip line, and even better, we were blessed with a dusting of snow. We had a great time bicycling around the area, witnessing the devastation from the previous summer’s Rim Fire, and we had an even better time bicycling around Yosemite Valley.

©2015 Kaweah

Ten Lakes

Above Ten Lakes

Michael pauses for the view above Ten Lakes

We returned to Twin Lakes in late August to see if the weather would permit us a pleasant high country outing, and what do you know, it did. We found a wonderful, large, flat, wooded site with a large fire pit and some well-laid logs for the night, a short walk from one of the larger lakes.

Here’s some coverage of a pair of hikers who got lost while hiking to Ten Lakes the year before.

©2014 Kaweah

Ten Lakes Rainout

Yosemite Creek Downpour

Yosemite Creek Downpour

This summer’s first backcountry adventure was an attempted overnighter to Yosemite’s Ten Lakes, north of Tioga Pass Road and above the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River. Unfortunately, heavy rain, thunder, and lightning sent us scurrying back to the trailhead. Fortunately, we’d already got a night in at a pleasant walk-in campsite at White Wolf.

©2014 Kaweah

The Advent of Stone

a trap so baited was laid to catch you when the world began, before the granite foundation [1]

Before the granite was bedded to build the world on [2]

age-reddened granite that was the world’s cradle [3]

One of the themes that appeared in earnest when Robinson Jeffers published Tamar and Other Poems was the stone theme (hawks and eagles didn’t really appear until Cawdor, three releases and four years later). Tamar was published with shorter poems with titles like “To the Rock …” and “To the Stone-Cutters.” The next release, Roan Stallion, began with the poem “Granite and Cypress.”

Stone, for Jeffers, tended to mean granite, and even more specifically sea-granite [4], his term for the exotic granite that pushed up through the marine rock west of the San Andreas Fault. Before the Jefferses purchased those 16 lots at Carmel Point in 1919 [5], it is debatable whether stone ever meant very much to the poet.

Granite is not the dominant bedrock of Carmel-by-the-Sea or of the Central California coast in general. The coastal zone is west of the San Andreas Fault, and so its bedrock is primarily marine in origin. There are, however, exposures of granite throughout the coast of Central California. This granite is exotic to the terrain, as granite is not a marine rock. It is believed to have been sliced off of the Sierra Nevada Batholith many million years ago and moved slowly up the coast along the San Andreas Fault. Thus there is an outcrop of Sierra sea-granite at Carmel Point, and stone throughout Jeffers’s life work.

 


[1] Tamar (CP 1:38)
[2] Tamar (CP 1:54)
[2] Tamar (CP 1:80)
[3] Term used in The Cycle (CP 1:14) and Meditation on Saviors (CP 1:398)
[4] National Park Service, Historic American Landscapes Survey, HALS No. CA-56

Organic Architecture

I

When Jeffers had his house built at the Point,
He had it made to last, with local stuff—
Exotic sea-granite conveyed from the Sierra
Up the San Andreas and hauled by horse
From a nearby quarry he called the sea.

He even helped with the work, and then
he added on a tavern, and
Gemmed it with non-native things
Taken from temples, tombs and poets and kings
from all around the world.

A man needs a car, and a car needs a home,
So he made his car a house of stone
he wheeled from the sea.

A man needs a dog, and a dog needs a fence,
So he raised a wall of slow-cooked stones
he fetched up from the sea.

A man needs a wife, and a wife needs a tower,
So he built her a sea-stone turret, and he had it
lined with fine mahogany; décor’d
With Hindu heads, precious tiles, and sacred stones
Pinched from poets, walls, and temples and tombs
from all around the world.

And of the sea stones, the poet built poems
About his house, his cliffs, and his tower,

but not about the loot.

II

When Henry built his cabin in the woods,
He made it of native white pine that he felled himself,
plus some secondhand brick.

He moved in, raised some beans,
Watched the trains steam by,
Surveyed the pond, and after a couple years,
Collected his journals,
walked back to Concord.

© 2013–15 Kaweah

 

Sierra del Fuego

He knew her best,
I have no doubt of it.
And didn’t he name her better
Than did the Spaniards? Hah!
What did they know?
They never even approached her.

Today I received another incident report
From the Range. She has
taken to burning again.

It’s inevitable.

If you’ve ever walked her wooded elevations
on a day like this, under the faithful
California sun,
you might reckon the thickets and the woods to be
on the threshold of ignition.

What isn’t burning is baking.
You can smell it.

The cold fire of alpenglow on the high peaks,
That is a reminder.

I remember, John, how you waited out a mountain
fire in the charred heart of a Sequoia,
that Giant among giants who needs
a little fire now and then.

I would have liked to have been on Paradise Ridge,
there with you, that night.

I would have been waiting, a little nervously,
for the right time to say,

Now tell me
you never considered

Range of Fire.

© 2013 Kaweah

 

In Geologic Times

Not so long ago,
I came upon Half Dome
half done, shrouded
in oak scaffolding.

Squinting my eyes,
I noted stocky little men
on the network of hardwood
toothpicks
with rosy cheeks and
beards like their bellies,
some chiseling away at the granite,
some polishing.

Looking again at all that
scaffolding, I recalled
how spacious the forests
and the meadows had been
before the white rangers came
and saved everything, and then
I thought, well,
these guys did it!

But what about the glaciers,
I inquired of one of the little people
who’d come by to offer me a pint.

What’s a glacier, he asked me.
Some kind of elf?

© 2013 Kaweah

 

River Mercy

At his feet she is laid resting,
holding up the sun to him;
she presses it
up into his boughs,
and carelessly drops the rays
to filter through him.

And he sees his self
image in her
reflections.

She naps between them
this afternoon.
She is her blood; together
they stain the rocks
and earth emerald.

She doesn’t rush about meadows
searching for leaves.

She sits napping in them,
flirting with the sun;
her dreaming eyebrows
laugh at time.

She comprehends me (I stand
ankle deep on the warm,
round pebbles;

I watch the still
currents of thought), and I—

I feel the way she thinks.

She wanders in her musings
against her crescent banks
and canyons.

she grinds them
with her snow fists and
tramples them
with her dall hooves and

I see that they love her.

© 2013 Kaweah

 

El Capitan and Yosemite Falls

Alex and Maddie expressed interest in going backpacking this summer, so they joined Michael and I on a two-night trip down Yosemite Creek from Tioga Pass Road. Good water was a bit hard to find, but we did alright. The weather was wonderful, and we even had a neighborly “controlled burn” near camp.

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It had been 30 years since my brother David and I had camped above Upper Yosemite Fall during one very warm and sunny Spring Break. David and I had a great time listening to Dr. Ruth Westheimer talk sex on our little AM/FM radio, and we also hiked out to the rim at night to see the Falls glow in the moonlight—to say nothing of lights down in the valley.

© 2013 Kaweah