Sounds in Woods, Speakers and Audiences

Headed out to national forest. It’s curious that a wilderness area so close to a popular spot is always empty. It’s wonderful. I intended to spend two nights in it, but stayed only one because of the forecast and the desire to have another lunch time diner breakfast.

I don’t usually have pre-trip excitement while prepping, like I did years ago. But once I’m out there, it’s at least as enjoyable as it was long ago. Shortly after walking over the wilderness boundary, I found this lake not far in. I nearly stopped and set up camp up the bank for the night.

I instead camped a few more miles in. So quiet in there, it was. Until about an hour after I fell asleep. A piercing loud coyote call, from about ten feet away. I could not see her. I regret not starting up my phone and recording; it was alarmingly loud and close, followed by faint calls back to her. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t her audience. The sounds were impressive, and as beautiful as something jarring can be. The foot falls were so stealthy I did not hear one step even though she had to have been just feet from me.

The morning was fairly warm for late September at five or six thousand feet. It’s nice to go about starting the day at the right pace instead of the unnatural pace of a workday. Even when I’m alternately moving fast instead of sitting in the green silence sipping hot coffee, the pace is natural instead of rushed. On the way back up from the slowly flowing stream, with water for boiling and making coffee, I see some art by Brothers Rivulet; I always enjoy these patterns left by rain runoff:

And some uprooting art of entropy:

A view of the campsite from a critter’s perspective:

Another stretch of quiet coffee time, after breakfast:

Then pack and move on while deciding whether to complete the loop today thus avoiding a forecast downpour and making a stop at a diner, or stop and enjoy the wilderness for another afternoon and night. I opted for a seat at the lunch counter.

It had been a while since a full pack hike. It felt good to start with a light breakfast. So opposite of a sedentary workday started with a big meal. The small breakfast made me feel light, slightly hungry soon in, and energetic. Scents and sounds of the woods. Birds and little mammals calling to each other, perhaps warning of my approach. Mutual aid, they say, and as Kropotkin did earlier.

A morning glance at the moon that kept my tent mildly lit all night.

Sleeping in a tent led to thinking of ongoing pressure on housing availability and affordability. It occurred to me that we won’t have stabilizing legislation applied to or restraining residential real estate owners until business groups point out that these real estate owners/investors are necessitating business-unfriendly minimum wage hikes with their unregulated residential rent hikes. That is, residential real estate owners are indirectly extracting money from small businesses by raising business employees’ residential rents, necessitating minimum wage hikes and higher pay. (The worker-residential tenant is sort of a pawn and collection agent for the residential real estate owner/landlord; he inadvertently passes an increased chunk of the small business owner’s profit to the residential landlord.) The current speaker-to-audience dynamic is delaying legislation of adequate rent control: currently the speakers are tenant groups and social advocates, and the audience is landlords and legislators; when the dynamic we need is small business groups as the speaker and landlords and legislators as the audience. Seems a simple speaker-audience mismatch. Rearrange a little, and there could be unintended mutual aid. Hmm.

Wilderness and Burger Baskets

Another hop to the woods. I tend to schedule my hiking and other exercise around locations of diners. I like other types of restaurants too, but seem to have really narrowed in on diners recently. And burger joints. This may be because I don’t hike and bike for exercise, but for experiencing through senses, which includes experiencing restaurants. I went south for woods time. Good things about heading south are 1) a certain burger joint is in Springfield, and 2) I pass by my friend’s house, and so stop to rid myself of pruning wood that’s too big for the wood chipper. Some of my yard waste is his wood heat. But the burger joint turned out to be closed; limited pandemic hours. I had vague memory of another traditional looking restaurant slightly west and grabbed a lunch counter seat there. Was a really good veggie burger basket I had.Enjoyed the place, stained ceiling and all. Nice folks running the place and patronizing it.It is interesting how pandemic reaction/restriction falls along party lines, political lines. In hipster-capitalist Portland, there are still signs saying “No mask, no service”, whereas if you go outside the metro area, people who always hated the restrictions are practicing none of it, but in line with current State recommendations. The State recommendations/restrictions/lifting of restrictions just kind of moved in the space between the party lines, but were based mainly on health science and a little on politics. I notice that now that the state has reached a 70% vaccination rate and lifted all statewide restrictions, it is nearly silent on the fact that rates of infection and deaths remain unchanged. Just the numbers are unchanged; the demographic is different in that it’s now anti-vaccine folks who are being hospitalized and dying. So perhaps the State’s silence on the numbers just means, as a statement to anti-vacciners, “enjoy your freedom”. Anyway, the diner is in Eugene’s kind of twin city, Springfield. My guess is that in hippie-socialist, anarchist Eugene, “No mask, no service” signs would have still been up. Whereas conservative Springfield was back to pre-pandemic lifestyle.

Even though my politics align more with the left end of the spectrum, I actually more enjoy the company of conservatives, despite the fact that I strongly disagree with some of their politics and values. Just such nice people that I meet and interact with in conservative towns. I really wish the left and the right would interact more; there’s a lot in common between the two despite differences.

The trail was a bit desolate-looking from fire damage. I don’t know how old the damage was. There was a certain beauty to it. Not beauty, but an interesting aesthetic that made me snap photos.The north side of the lake had no tree canopy, so was a bit hot for me from that summer sun. It was nice to see the lake again.Further west I was under the comfort of tree canopy again, but mosquitos were much worse and afforded absolutely no opportunity for picture taking. So unprepared for them I was, that I turned a 3-day wilderness trip into a day hike. I will return in the chilly fall, by which time the Springfield burger joint will likely have returned to normal hours.

In wilderness again…

…Drift Creek is where I ended up a couple of weeks ago, after looking at the real-time wildfire map and air quality forecast, and road conditions. Not all that far from the coast. Near the trailhead there was a glimpse of the river meeting the ocean.

After gaining that elevation on the drive to the trailhead, the hike was all descent to the creek-side campsites. Listening to birdsong much of the way:


I ran into what I thought was a family (I later learned it was a boy scout group). Right/conservative-looking folks. But really, they were just more army surplus than rei aesthetically. Nice folks. A really nice kid in the group pointed me toward some great campsites along the creek when I asked if they knew of more downstream. My glance at his sheathed hunting knife might have looked like I was concerned, but in fact it was just that it was the same one I almost bought.

Kind of related, it’s odd how people on the left and right seem to fall in line and have hostility toward each other. The Right and Republicans should instead be grateful right now to the Democratic Party/DNC: in effort to protect its (Democrats’) wealthy donor-investors from its strong candidate (Sanders), who probably would have beat the Republican in 2016 and 2020, the Democrats/DNC instead knowingly ran its weak candidate — which handed victory to the Republican in 2016. This Democratic Party/DNC incompetence also paved the way for three conservative supreme court justice appointments (two were confirmed a while ago, one soon to be), plus many, many lower federal court conservative judge appointments already in place now. The Right should be delighted with the Democrats/DNC for bringing the USA a far-right White House and a now-heavily conservative supreme court — and for now re-gifting the Right in 2020 by again removing its strong candidate (Sanders) and instead running its weakling. This weakling candidate pick is also a gift to the Right because even if the president loses this November, it may make the loss so narrow that it bolsters his justification to doubt and contest the results with the help of his new, heavily conservative supreme court that the Democrats/DNC precipitated/paved the way for.

And the Left should not be hostile toward the Right/Republicans, but should instead be furious with the Democrats/DNC, who achieved exactly the opposite of what its supporters (the Left) wanted. Even if their weak-pick candidate were to win this time, the damage is done: we’ve already had about 4 years of a White House opposing the Democrats’/DNC’s supporters’ wishes in terms of domestic and foreign policy, and the supreme court has already been transformed into a service provider of conservative and extremist Republicans. (Out of respect for conservatives, it should be acknowledged that the Republican Party/RNC is currently extremist rather than conservative). The Left who voted Democrat in 2016 is still about to vote Democrat in 2020 even though the Dems/DNC are recycling their 2016 failed strategy of running their weak candidate. Anyway, the Left/centrist liberals/further left should be hostile toward the Democrats/DNC, not toward the Right/Republicans.

I don’t think the Democrats/DNC delivered the 2016 Republican victory and three conservative supreme court justice appointments intentionally; it’s just that they have a business to run — the Democratic Party/DNC, which, with intention, secures its wealth largely by legislating its donor-investors’ wealth. S0 the Democrats/DNC must protect their donor-investors from the likes of strong Democratic candidates like Sanders, and won’t have such a candidate interfering with its enterprise. Protecting donor-investors takes priority. The Dems/DNC did all this damage in the name of protecting its donor-investors from its strong candidate. Again, the left should be hostile toward the Democrats/DNC, not the Right and Republicans.

What a bunch of misplaced hostility there is.

There’s a connection between…

…the woods and urban areas: the homeless are generally not allowed. I’ll expand on this further down.

On an errand in town I wonder if the emptiness of the bus strictly reflects unemployment, or also people switching to safer modes of transport.

I still shoot out to the woods of the coastal range partly because it’s only 40 minutes away. With friends this time, enjoying the presence of eagles (or are they hawks?):

Back in town I see homeless encampments being allowed to stay, finally some rest. I find explanation on neither regular news nor homeless press/news. It results in encampments larger than I’ve seen before, and cookfires, which I’ve not seen before. I’m happy for them not being harassed for simply staying in a small spot on public property — for simply being. And I think I’ll bring them some fuelwood for their cookfires; it also would free me of thicker pieces of yard debris that won’t fit in my shredder.

Anyway, the tolerance by city government must be covid-related. Perhaps based on the thought that the routine of squeezing them into smaller, out of sight areas would result in city government being viewed as a failure at slowing the spread of the virus. Or perhaps it reflects social distancing reducing shelter capacity. Anyway, the homeless are usually not allowed to live somewhere; they’re generally pushed from spot to spot by police, chamber of commerce, and other players who have an audience that can push.

But I think that if homeless people learned how to forage, shelter and otherwise sustain in the woods instead of in the city among guns, nightsticks, and other elements of government and crime, they would not be allowed there either, technically. There are restrictions there just as there are in town. But the experiment may already be underway for all I know. In town, dumpsters, soup kitchens and shelters are more immediate food sources unless one knows how to forage. But of course there are also street entrepreneurs selling addictive chemical highs to addicts who’d find no such businessmen in the woods. And in a sense, most in civilized communities cannot part, and wouldn’t want to part, with luxuries and services we’ve developed dependency on — which also includes addictive highs like from wine, whisky, craft beers, foodie cafe carbs and coffees. Really, where can one draw the line between culture and addictions? Extremes on a spectrum are easy to spot. But distinctions or lines are nebulous, often fictions based on convenience, and have less utility than dysfunction. Wait, maybe Pirsig’s philosophy of quality helps with some of this confusion; I’ll have to relearn what it is.

I wouldn’t want to live in the woods like my ancestors did. Unless I was stuck in homeless, urban street culture that I see from the train. And on the train. If homelessness were my starting point, then which would have more potential: staying in town, or moving to the woods? The next question is Potential for what? For doing what? For experiencing or accomplishing what? I think creative types and cell phone junkies both need culture that the woods couldn’t provide. If you create with an electric guitar, there is tactile and resonant interaction that just isn’t available as a tool — and can’t be experienced — on acoustic instruments.

The woods are still just a place I like to visit. Kind of like some cities.

It occurred to me on the trail…

…last weekend that the reason progressives are going to cast the fear vote in November (vote for the “lesser of two evils”) is that they are trained to think just in four-year spans or less. And by thinking ahead by only four years at most, they’ve maintained decades of Democrat-Republican office holders taking us to where we are. That is, we’ve had decades of the DRIT (Democrat-Republican Investment Tool) taking turns serving its investors (high-dollar campaign donors). I think progressives need to vote based on candidates’ platforms. Some mislabel this “voting with your heart” instead of your mind. But I think it would be voting with your mind; casting the fear vote is “voting with your heart”. But that labeling is nonsensical party PR to an extent anyway. Voting based on platform would mean progressives vote for Hawkins (or another progressive who is actually running) in November now that the Democrat wing of DRIT spit out Sanders again (i.e., the Democrat wing is knowingly running its weaker, investor-friendly candidate again, just like the last time they spit out Sanders). An effect of progressives voting based on platform could be the collapse of the Democratic wing (“party”). Yes, they’d have another four years of the current Republican presumably, but collapse of the Democratic wing would leave the Republican wing with no un/intentional partner in crime with which to continue more decades of investor rule (return on investment). The Democrat wing is the more insidious of the two; they actually entice progressives with a progressive candidate, withdraw the progressive (DNC tricks just spit out Sanders for the second time in a row), then scare a Democrat vote out of the progressives. We’re seeing it repeated, and even with the same progressive candidate-lure, Sanders. Progressives will cast this fear vote (vote again for the Democrat wing’s weaker candidate), to avoid four years of the darker shade of darkness from the Republican wing (but may fail to again) but maintain decades more of darkness from the DRIT. The Democrats accidentally protected the Republican last time by running their weaker candidate, and they’re protecting him again by running their weaker candidate now. And progressives again go along with this out of fear (instead of switching to a candidate whose platform they agree with/support). The Democrat wing in effect tries (and failed last time) to protect itself with [the fear of] the Republican wing candidate, but ironically instead protects him by running their weaker candidate.

Progressives’ goal in voting right now should be to collapse the Democrat wing (“party”). Progress they want won’t occur until this happens and opens up room for a viable progressive party or candidate. There won’t be a viable progressive party until the Republican wing’s better half (Democrat wing) collapses. This collapse can be initiated by progressives simply voting based on candidate platform rather than on fear. Some darkness (relative to the Democrat lighter shade of darkness) would continue for another four years at least, but progress usually takes sacrifice. Besides, we’ve already had decades of the DRIT tag team serving their donor-investors (the alternating shades of darkness). And decades more of lighter-alternating-with-darker darkness will continue if a short-term darker darkness isn’t tolerated/endured first for another four years. Again, this takes thinking in terms of decades, not in terms of four-year election cycles.

That’s my email signature anyway. I could be wrong.

Anyways, the hike was really nice last weekend. Again, we went to the east side of that mountain in the background:

It was a rainy, warm hike in badger creek wilderness. Birds were singing among the oaks and rocks:

The stream was running background vocals:

We woke to a fog bank sleeping right next to us, floating atop the valley (so, at about 4000 ft.):


My old pack was running on empty despite being full; the shoulder straps gave out, but after a couple of decades of use.


My favorite bike shop was with me in spirit:


I am grateful to my hiking bud for inviting me.