Saturday, January 23, 2010


The entire state of California has been dealing with large amounts of rain and snow over the last week. In Northern California, wave after wave of rain storms have battered the coast. Some towns just to the south, which are nestled in the mountains of the King Range, have received nearly 15 inches over the last week. There are probably many places in remote corners of the lower mountains that have received much more! The snow level is at 2,500 feet.

The photos above were taken on Wednesday the 20th on BLM land and some of the adjacent farmlands just outside of Eureka. More rain and strong winds are in the forecast...

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Yesterday (January 9), we experienced an earthquake which registered 6.5 on the Richter Scale. I was in the parking area behind the BLM office and heard what sounded like the approach of a huge, oversize semi-truck. Suddenly, everything began to shake like I was walking on jello. The vehicles moved back and forth and the office building was shaking like a leaf.

As quickly as it started, it stopped. I jumped in my vehicle and raced home to make sure Susanna was ok. A tsunami watch was issued, which was especially nerve-racking because Susanna was currently on her way home from Redwood NP, a drive which takes her right along the ocean. Based on the time, I calculated that she was probably just north of McKinleyville along an area called Clam Beach (which happens to be just barely above sea level). Cell phones wouldn't work because of damage to the towers. Electricity was out all over the area. Susanna wasn't there when I arrived home, so I immediately turned around to drive north and find her. Fortunately, moments later Susanna pulled into the driveway, not having felt the earthquake at all! After a short search, we determined that we had no damage to our house. Thank you God!

All in all, the north coast fared quite well with this earthquake. There were a lot of minor injuries that people reported from falling glass and debris, but nothing major. Many buildings had minor damage and some stores had a lot of damage from items falling off of shelves. I heard that the wine aisle at one of the grocery stores was an absolute mess! But, fortunately, material items can always be replaced. To my knowledge, there has been no fatalities.

We enjoyed the evening with a simple meal cooked on our backcountry stove. We ate by candlelight, then went for a walk to the ocean. The electricity was restored by 9 pm and life is returning back to normal.

Christmas in Vegas

We escaped the rainy, cool weather of the northern California coast for two weeks of sun and slightly warmer temps in Las Vegas and southern California for the Christmas season. I spent the beginning of the two weeks working with the BLM Las Vegas wild horse and burrow crew.

Over Christmas itself, we spent a lot of time with Susanna's parents. We explored many interesting areas of the surrounding desert. One day was spent hiking in a wild and forgotten canyon in Lake Mead NRA searching for and finding countless petroglyphs. Another day was spent exploring a remote corner of Death Valley NP and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. At Ash Meadows, we hiked along a crystal clear, spring-fed stream and marvelled at the endangered pupfish that were living in the stream. One final day was spent hiking to the top of Lone Mountain, a steep and rugged mountain at the edge of the city.

While Susanna stayed with her parents over the New Year, I drove down to El Centro, CA to work at Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, a set of beautiful dunes administered by the BLM. Over New Years weekend, over 100,000 people visited the dunes.

Now, we are once again back in the cozy northern coast!