Wednesday, July 20, 2005

After having not made it up the mountain since 2003 for some inexplicable reason, Ryan and I headed up to the highest point in Sanpete County yesterdee.

South Tent is about an hour drive up the canyon from Spring City; afterwhich one needs take a forty someodd minute half-mile, 1700 foot elevation gain hike to the top.
This year, there are live springs everywhere and a great deal of verdant bounty to delight the senses on one's strenuous jaunt up the slope.

There was a large bank of snow on the west face providing quite a flow for the stream below. This bank has been melting 24 hours a day for at least a month and a half, so it must have been quite a monster of snowfall and driftage.

Ryan helped me out with this after I took at least two pictures of myself with my eyes closed. That takes talent, taking pictures of one's self blinking on accident, I hope you realize.

By the time we made it to the top, there was quite a fire on a ridge to the south, a couple five miles away. It was roaring along with a westerly gust coming over the ridges at fifteen to thirty miles an hour, setting spruces bright like torches even during the day from across that distance.

Here's Ryan in a most familiar aspect; with his fieldglasses up, scanning the area for next fall's hunt.

Here's a fine cooperative relationship, near the summit of South Tent.

Like I said, there were many more wildflowers than there have been for years, all looking like rain had fallen just last night and the carpet had been laid out new for the day.

We made our way down the mountain, down a rather rocky wash on the barren south face. There was a fresh spring running from a source about seventy five feet from the rim. This wee falls was down the slope about three-quarters of the way, providing a cool contrast to the rest of the face.

The wildflowers weren't isolated to the high peaks, these were right next to the Skyline at around 9500 feet.

As the sun went down after we got home, I was sitting on the porch watching the evening come on. I noticed a huge cumulo nimbus cloud coming up from the area close to where we were, over where the smoke was trailing to the north east of the fire, just over the ridge from our view. The dern thing looked for all the world like a thermonuclear explosion's mushroom cloud, only dappled by the colors of the setting sun.
I watched it for a while and surmised that it must be from evaporation from Joe's Reservoir to the east of the fire. The lake was cooling slower than the air, as is usual, but with the fire sending huge amounts of particulates for the moisture to condense upon, the clouds were forming in huge columns while there were not many other clouds to speak of in the rest of the sky.
I took these two photos later on after the cloud had lost most of its definition. I Photoshopped them a bit to make them show up better, so the blindingly bright blotch is the almost full moon as it came up over the clouds.
From an article by Peter Yates for The New York Times, Published on the 17th of July.

JIM SINEGAL, the chief executive of Costco Wholesale, the nation's fifth-largest retailer, had all the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old in a candy store as he tore open the container of one of his favorite new products: granola snack mix. "You got to try this; it's delicious," he said. "And just $9.99 for 38 ounces."

Some 60 feet away, inside Costco's cavernous warehouse store here in the company's hometown, Mr. Sinegal became positively exuberant about the 87-inch-long Natuzzi brown leather sofas. "This is just $799.99," he said. "It's terrific quality. Most other places you'd have to pay $1,500, even $2,000."

But the pièce de résistance, the item he most wanted to crow about, was Costco's private-label pinpoint cotton dress shirts. "Look, these are just $12.99," he said, while lifting a crisp blue button-down. "At Nordstrom or Macy's, this is a $45, $50 shirt."

Combining high quality with stunningly low prices, the shirts appeal to upscale customers - and epitomize why some retail analysts say Mr. Sinegal just might be America's shrewdest merchant since Sam Walton.

But not everyone is happy with Costco's business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.

Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."
(Itallics and Bold added)

Um. Shouldn't that always be the case in a sane, ethical society? Well, once again, I just don't get this world, I reckon.

Here's the entire article.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Yesterday was a fairly important day in history.
In 1945, in the isolated and windswept beauty of the New Mexico desert, the Trinity Test succeeded in creating the first human-manipulated nuclear detonation. The blast, with a yield of around 20 kilotons, was concurrently a much dreaded and sought after ushering in of the atomic age, and it happened sixty years ago yesterday.
Beside that somewhat troubling event, there was also the anniversary of The Catcher in the Rye, published originally in on the same date in 1951 by the now reclusive J.D. Salinger. I remember the first time I read that book, a tattered paperback version, during the summer of my sophomore year in high school. Its impact upon my young mind was formidable, leading me to read the thing once at least every two years up to last summer's reading.

I love the way Salinger wrote in those days, with an edge that cut the fascia from the deep muscle of life's very fist, showing the means and method for human effort and folly. The spirit of his works, especially that of the Glass family series continues to haunt me, especially in my effort to dissect the green from the moribund from my own somewhat contradictory life and morays.
I can see in my mind's eye the imposing figure of Mrs. Glass in her housecoat, slippers and ever-present cigarette perched on the edge of Zooey Glass' bathtub, lecturing him on his and his brother's mishandling of their sister Franny's delicate spiritual and metaphysical sensibilities. The lives of that somewhat irrational though incredibly lucid family seem to me intertwined with my own heart, and have become in a way, a part of my family.
Two very different events that happened on the same day in the summers of different years. Yet the power of each reverberates, in the hearts and minds of millions of people.
The power of the bomb is the puissance of life or death, war and peace, each in their own time and season because of the man's tentative power over the atom. The power of the Salinger's work is the potential of man's quest; of people's search for meaning and connection to one's own soul and those surrounding.
When might we be able to connect the two and understand the integral nature of each of our own struggles and triumphs, our wars and truces, our bombs and our books?
Perhaps when we understand the inseparability between our own hearts and minds we will be able to comprehend the connections outside of ourselves.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The fishing has been wonderful lately, having been down to the Escalante Plateau and Thousand Lakes Mountain to hunt Brookies in the last week in separate trips.
And what about photos? Well... I had a good quiver of images, but some no-good took advantage of my absentmindedness the day after one of the trips while I was up in Provo getting the monthly resupply at Costco and the like and lifted the camera from the back seat. What do I expect when I drive an old 4Runner with a folded and bungeed tarp for a top during the summer? Well, not this, but I guess it's not that surprising.
I didn't notice that I'd left it in there, but it's not anywhere to be found.
So, no photos! Darn the luck.
P'raps sometime soon. I'll take the family camera on a trip as soon as I'm finished being frustrated with my lack of foresight and or even general awareness at times.
On second thought, It'll be before that far-off day, for sure.
The kids are having a great time this summer, their little gang has a good range of ages and abilities these days. They range all over our acre of land, building things and taking others down, chasing chickens, geese, ducks and skunks from one end to the other, and ruining pair after pair of socks with the aid of cheatgrass and other burr-producing weeds.
And as for Drie, she's in her third trimester now and finally feeling her pregnancy. She tries so hard to deny her mortality at times that it's hard to see her start to slow down during this part of her pregnancies. She's still doing more in a day than most ordinary people do in three, though.
Other than that, the sky still hovers over Spring City, and the mountains are holding it up right nicely, as is their job. I hope they don't soon tire of their labour as we do at times.