Thursday, April 23, 2009


Section 1 ------Pine Mountain News

It has been a strange week at the ranch. The week started out with warm temperatures that made you think we had gone from April to mid July. All the plants took advantage of the weather and started to really grow.

The hot weather has also dried things out early. We had a fire over in Lockwood valley last Saturday but quick work by firefighters contained the fire to only 20 acres.

In other area news we are saddened by the news of the death of Michael Manning. He was a sophomore at Frazier Mountain High school. Michael and some friends were hiking on San Emigdio mountain Monday when he lost his footing and fell off a cliff.

The hot weather has also caused algae to grow on the intake of our water turbine at the ranch. John had to go out an clean it out to restore full flow to the turbine.

Well enough about Pine Mountain. This week our friend Jordan Williams returns with another adventure from South America. This time he leaves Chile and travels to Patagonia. First we have this weeks poem.

Section 2 ----- Poem of the Week

So long & Thanks for all the Fish

written in 2004 by Emily D Stine

“I am Ozymandias, King of Kings!”
Shelley strikes down the note
w/ such precision.
we fade away
w/ each passing season
your face will be wind.swept.
& eroded one day.
Possessions lost.broken
family, & friends will die.

Palaces of gold
crumble n.tyme

you can’t take it with you.

Section 3 ----- Patagonia

An adventure story by Jordan Williams

The next stop on me and Rich’s trip through Chile was Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago. Cerro San Cristobal is a big hill that rises above the north end of Santiago, and tends to be one of the biggest tourist destinations in the city. By the time Rich and I hoofed our way to the top, it was easy to see why.

We got there fairly early in the morning, and if there were problems with it being crowded, they weren’t any then. There was a light rain the night before, and it was a clear crisp morning. The view of the city was unbelievable, and the mix of old and new in the city was never more beautiful.

I was reminded of the view in Rio, partly because I was awed by the beauty of it, and partly because Cerro San Cristobal is topped by a seventy foot Virgin Mary.

Virgin Mary Santiago

Not nearly as massive as the statue of her son in Rio, but impressive nonetheless.

Tren fin del Mundo

Beautiful as it was, we couldn’t stay long; we were off to Patagonia. We boarded the little red narrow gauge train Fin del Mundo ( End of the World Train ). A lot of people are only familiar with the outdoor supply company named after the area, which is a shame. Patagonia is the bottom of the world, and it’s almost indescribable. You get the feeling, or at least I got the feeling, that you should be seeing a dinosaur stroll across the landscape.

Torres del Paine

I’m not going to lie; I’m not a big outdoors guy. I know that seems strange for a dude who loves to travel, but I’m typically more interested in the cities and the people. Rich, being an avid hunter and a former army dude, is by far the more outdoorsy of the two of us. Generally speaking a tree is a tree is a tree to me. But PatagoniaPatagonia is different.

Lush green valleys flowing into and out of snow capped peaks. A place untouched by the hand of man and all the better for it. A land of glaciers and ice rubbing shoulders with forests from the beginning of time, Patagonia takes up the south end of Argentina and Chile.

According to legend, Magellan named it after a race of giants he found there, and when you’re there it’s easy to see where the legend stems from. Rich and I were lodging hiking in Torres del Paine National Park, it felt like another world.

Guanako grazing

If you’re visiting Patagonia, and god knows you really should, Torres del Paine National Park is really the place to go. The massive park encompasses all of the terrain that Patagonia is known for, and there are a number of well maintained and well known trails. These trails range from trips that are just a couple of hours to hikes that take two weeks.

Being approximately the size of a glacier myself, I opted for the Pingo Zapata circuit, which took us out to the Zapata glacier, one of the largest in the area. Seeing these mountains of ice was something truly awe inspiring.

Chile was beautiful and Patagonia was beyond amazing, but our trip came to an end all too soon, as they usually do. Rich had a family to get back to and I had travelogues to write, but Patagonia will always be on my mind.

Section 4 ----- Pine Mountain Evening

It is another Friday Evening at Pine Mountain. We just finished a dinner of steak, potatoes, salad, and apple pie. We have retired to the family room. A warm fire is burning in the fireplace. I am seated in my recliner enjoying the coffee of the day from Tonight my coffee is chocolate covered cherry. It is an American roast desert coffee. It is just the right blend of chocolate, coffee, and cherry. It goes well with apple pie.

Well it is getting late and it is time for bed. Good night everyone see you next week.