High Sierras — up the San Joaquin River into Evolution Basin
A steady climb up the river, a little shade, then a steep climb
and a river crossing into the hot dry, dusty mouth of
the Evolution Basin.
More familiar plants: potentilla and dandelion (is there anywhere it
doesn’t grow?), and animals: more deer, lots of chipmunks, a
red-headed woodpecker and a flicker – oh, and a few chickadees. One
doe, in damp woods off to the left… I walk slowly, quietly,
carefully past, and she stays, watchful but not alarmed.
In camp, trees are twisted and bent from long-vanished stones and
fallen trees. Years later, still showing scars of struggles past. It’s
much the same in people, though the signs aren’t always so visible.
And the remains of trees. It’s so dry that instead of rotting with
mushrooms they seem to melt into a dry powder, leaving nothing but a
faint line of wood chips where the trunk used to be.