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Saturday, November 19, 2005

sierra interlude

There is special place burned into my memory called the high sierra. I have done seven long backback trips into this region : each trip has it's share of memories, some brighter than others but all memorial just the same. The best experience of all perhaps is when i ascended and descended 13,200 ft forester pass halfway thru an eight day ramble from kersarge pass south along John muir trail(JMT) on my way to Mt Whitney. The nearly vertical descent from a-top forester down the 2000 ft headwall is a zigzagging trail blasted into the rock. probably 500 zigzags in all . As I left the wall and headed away from it I looked back and beheld this gigantic black sheer vertical cliff jutting up from the glacial basin and going in a horseshoe curve arounf the basin. Think of a 2000 ft high amphitheatre. It is actually the divide between the kings and kern river watersheds and a spectacular jagged lateral spur range.

Note: While resting atop the pass i was scoping 13,850 ft junction peak just about a mile to the east , whivh would have been a difficult dangerous traverse along a jagged knife ridge about 700 ft elevation climb to the summit. Having ascended 3000 ft from centerbasin to the pass i just did not have the energy in the tank to do the climb, and needed to descend out the exposed pass to reach tyndal creek high country campsite . A missed opportunity, or a wise risk caculation? (i was backpacking solo and it was a cold blustery day with a hint of a storm, not an ideal situation for doing a strenuous 1-mile 700 ft elv . rock climb/scramble along a knife-edge traverse/ boulder-outcropped ridge to the summit.)

Back to the descent off forester pass and onto the bighorn plateau:

The ramble thru this part of the hig sierra, along the bighorn plateau, is a spectacular thrill. I took a 1 mile jaunt off the JMT to an overlook and beheld a 360% panorama of the entire upper Kern region, on my right the great western divide, to the south the GWD and east sierra divide curving together, to my left the great main Sierra divide itself including the Mt Whitney group of peaks. The place i was at is called the bighorn overlook but it is not on any topo map. You have to ramble cross country off the main JMT trail south by south west about a mile. This part of the JMT taverses a stark barren rockscape before you hit tyndall creek. This is the part about hi sierra rambling i enjoy most: desolate rockstrewn landscape with a few patches of trees and plants clinging to life at or above timberline. Patches of snow. high mountain lakes and ice-cold streams.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

the coming oil crunch-some solutions

Continuing high gasoline prices are having a devastating effect upon the transportation logistics industry. Being part of this industry i have felt keenly the high cost of gasoline: here are my recommendations:
1. Open up entire Alaska North slope to drilling, period. The only people who benefit from preserving the ANWR are a tiny,tiny minority of wealthy elitist environmentalists who have the financial means of actually visiting the remote, barren Alaska North slope. The rest of us poor working smucks have to pay exorbitant gas prices due to continuing reliance upon unstable world oil supplies. The preservation of the North slope means nothing to those in the transportation/logistics business who feel the brunt of exorbitant gas prices.
2. A massive manhatten-project type plan to develop and extract oil from the oil shale sites in Utah/Colorado. There are 1.6 trillion barrels of potential oil deposits in these formations . It will involve massive imputs of energy and water resources as well as technological and environmental hurdles but i am confident that the hurdles are mainly political- if the people support extracting shale oil shale by whatever means possible then it will happen.
3. More refining capacity: cut back on environmental red-tape to expedite process and spread refining locations all around country instead of having them concentrated in a single region such as Texas-louisiana which are subject to hurricane damage.
4 Build more Nuclear power plants which are safe and environmentally friendly and can reduce use of greenhouse-causing emissions from coal.
Point of all this is to reduce U.S reliance upon overseas oil supplies in the near term future. Over the long term, say 10-15 years from now, new technologies will be fully implemented which will drastically reduce the need for gasoline in automobiles
We are headed toward a worldwide geopolitical scramble for access to and securing oil sites , and many sources are in regions with great political instability or in countries hostile to US. Oil is so crucial to the needs of Modern industrial Society that there will be continued geopolitical political power struggles over oil, and even warfare. The US needs to become as self-sufficient in oil supplies as possible or become hostage to spurts of high oil spikes. This spurt that we now have may last quite a while: if it does it will lead to a worldwide economic disruption and attendant social upheaval especailly in US and Europe .

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Relieving Southern California traffic congestion

Read an article in LA Times Sat sept 17 edition regarding proposals for building Three massive tunnel freeway projects which would address the three most serious traffic bottlenecks in Southern California. The First proposal would link the 710 freeway with the 210 fwy by constucting a 5 mile underground tunnel thru South Pasadena. The Second proposal would link Palmdale to glendale with a 23 mile half tunnel/surface commuterway which would ease traffic crunch on I-5/14 fwy. Third proposal would build a tunnel/surface link between Corona and irvine going thru the cleveland Mountains which would relieve commuter crunch along 91 fwy between corona/riverside and los angeles /orange county.
These proposed tunnel freeway projects,if actually implemented, would be the most expensive underground freeway projects ever built, running into 10's of billions of dollars . However, I would rather see these projects built than have billions wasted on more public transportation boodoogles. We need more freeways here in Southern California, whether underground or above ground. period.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

decision to take out god from pledge of allegiance

This decision of the San franscisco District judge to ban the pledge of allegiance because it mentions God is an affront to the Flag and to our great nation. It dishonors all those who faught and died for this country. It is a black eye to all patriotic civic-minded citizens and show s us what damage a tiny minority of leftist anti-american atheists and secularlists can do. No doubt backed by the equally vile ACLU.
All civic-minded patriotic americans who have any respect for the history and the traditions of this country should register their protests to their elected officials.