Thursday, July 25, 2013

Visiting Ancient Villages Part III

It would have been a grand spectacle of enormous scale to live among these giants! To be among them for weeks or months on end, must have given these people a much deeper philosophical sense of place within this world. For when you gaze upon these trees and realize how old they are, and how small you are compared to them, you can not help but find yourself thinking backwards in time to ages of long ago.

Most of these large trees were mere saplings in the time when the Lord roamed the Middle Eastern Deserts. You will hind that when you think in that way, you will begin to contemplate what the forest must have been like going back through the ages. These trees live in separate groves now, but they must have been in one continuous large forest belt, and became separated as the mountains grew towards the sky and the rivers carved out the canyons. Those forces of nature didn’t happen over night. Ages upon ages upon ages. To me these trees and mountains take you back in time. It’s not a yearning to go back to a different period. It’s just something that naturally happens when one begins to think of mountain building and landscape development, and how the features of the Earth came into being.

Jeffrey Pine Cones

Upon finding the acorn mortars and larger carved out basins, I had also seen why the Potwisha had chosen this ridge as a village site. For even in this drought year which had been the driest in 35 years, a stream emanating from the Sequoia grove could be found. Not much now, but enough to sustain a constant flow. A trickle of water down the granite slopes of the ridge, with a forest of giant trees all around. A summer paradise fit for royalty if ever there was one!


This muley snuck up on me. Saw a doe and another buck in this grove as well.

These larger basins in the granite have been extensively debated whether or not they were human made. But I would refer you to this report made by the USGS to conclude that they were indeed carved out by human intention. Building a fire upon the granite made it slightly more brittle than normal to where it could be chipped away slowly. They could have been for any number of uses in food preparation, and even for hide tanning.
This type of basin building and acorn mortar production shows that this village site had been inhabited year after year for many generations. And why would you not want to return to this paradise summer after summer? At this elevation of 6,000 feet, the Black Oak with its prized acorns were still present within this conifer forest. As was Greenleaf Manzanita with it’s delicious berries. Deer is plentiful now and probably was a main reason for these summer hunting camps.

Whitethorn Ceanothus berries. The deer were after these all afternoon.
See my hat for size reference
Greenleaf Manzanita

Black Oak on the upper fringes of it’s range


It is a joy to sit and imagine not only what the landscape was like ages ago, but also to fathom how it must have been like when the Native Peoples roamed these woods. Their summer paradise.

Sierra Gooseberry. Ouch! Will have to come back later in the summer to try these.

 Got to test out my new lightweight, low cost, low drag system. A nice and large 1,800 cu.i. Fieldline waist pack with suspenders attached to a Condor Battle Belt, Condor 10x4, and Lowepro Camera Bag. Some shoulder pads from a USGI ETLB Vest to top it off. Very comfortable as most of the weight is on your hips and lower back. Nice and easy breezy.

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