Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Neighbors

In 1900, Frederick Weyerhaeuser purchased 900,000 acres of prime Washington timberland from the Great Northern Railway, thus establishing the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company and it's legacy in this state.  Depending on your personal feelings, that legacy may or may not be somewhat dubious, considering the vast swaths of old growth forests which were felled in the first half of the 20th Century.

But that isn't the subject of this post.  For the most part, Weyerhaeuser has been a good neighbor, permitting non-motorized recreation on their lands, provided it was compatible with logging operations.  Hiking, horseback riding, hunting, etc.

In the past decade, Weyerhaeuser has sold most, if not all, of their timberland to an investment group, who shall remain unnamed.  By all accounts, they were continuing the tradition of permitting recreation on the lands.
At least until Dec. 31st of this year.  Effective Jan. 1, 2012, non-motorized recreation access will require the purchase of  permit, at $75 per person, or $150 for the family.  The claim is that this is for equitable treatment and to establish rules for behavior on the lands.  I tend to believe that ill-behaved recreational users will scoff at the permit, and perpetrate bad behavior undeterred.

I, and others with whom I've discussed the matter, are inclined to believe that, this is nothing more than a means to make a few extra dollars.  Recall that the current owners are an "investment group", charged with making money for their shareholders.

There are millions of acres of public timberland in this state.  I'll keep my $75, thank you.

On The Subject of Comment Notification

As it turns out, all of the notifications were in my spam folder.  Makes you wonder way gmail would think that comments form Google blogger are spam. least I know where to look from now on.

Friday, November 25, 2011


For reasons unbeknownst to me, I am receiving only sporadic email notifications of comments left on my blog.  Thus, my failure to acknowledge your comments is not intentional.

In the same vein, I'm not receiving notifications of comments left on other blogs.  I diligently click the box requesting notice of follow on comments, but, alas!, none is received.

I'm not sure how much one can complain about a free service, but still...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for many things.  A wonderful family, great friends, our horses, good health, an amazing job, and the opportunity to have served my country for 20 years in the World's Greatest Navy.

And I am thankful for being an American.  For all the current problems and differences we face, we still live in a land of opportunity paralleled by none.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The Blacktail Deer population of Western Washington are pleased to report they survived another season of yours truly lugging his rifle over the hill and through the woods.  I aspire to one day approach hunting in a more serious fashion, scouting in the spring and summer, planning each hunt in detail, sighting in my rifle, and having my gear meticulously packed weeks in advance. 

As it stands, my current technique is more akin to "I think I'll go hunting this weekend.  Has anyone seen my rifle?".

My outdoor equipment is kept in a series of rubbermaid bins, clearly marked with the subject of their contents, such as "camping", "hunting", and, of course, two marked "horse".  On the surface this would seem to simplify matters, except for the one variable in the equation.  Me.  I tend to lack consistency in where I put certain essential items, such as my Survival & First Aid Kits.  Since they are most often carried when riding, they can usually be found in the horse bin.  But if last carried while hunting, I probably left them in the aforementioned hunting bin.  Or worse, left them in an unrelated location.  Case in point:  my binoculars are sitting on my dresser right now, where I put them to dry.  With any luck, I might return them to their proper location before next season.

The net result is that packing consists of a mad scramble to find and pack my gear, and usually consists of me throwing things around the garage and cursing, all while attempting to locate the less important items, such as bullets and hunting license.

When one considers that Blacktail Deer are considered by many to be the most elusive, difficult to hunt members of genus Odocoileus, it becomes clear that I am not exactly setting myself up for success.  Maybe someday.  At least I enjoy being out in the wilderness. 

Mother Nature was kind in that she provided a nice treat in the Cascade Foothills this past weekend:


At times, it was snowing so hard that visibility was down to a hundred yards.  I had to keep shaking the accumulated snow off my hat.


There was no wind, and when one stopped and stood perfectly still, the most noticeable thing was the unbroken silence.  Not a sound.  Nary a rustling leaf, or chirping bird.  The kind of silence that should only be found in a tomb.  Eerie is the only word that adequately describes the sensation.

Since it was deer season, the elk were plentiful:

Can you see her? (Click to enlarge)

A rather good weekend, I daresay.

In other news, Smokey Joe got a new blanket.  I think the color is rather apropos, myself.