Tahoe to Whitney High Sierra News Focus: My Goal

Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 23 May 2016

Focus and Goal of Tahoe to Whitney


These News Forum Pages cover general news from around the world about the patterns of behavior of the Weather, Terrain, Animals, Water and People of interest to those of us who engage Nature directly.  


 General trends and specifc expressions of current weather conditions, peripheral topics such as gear innovations, and a wide range of current health, science, and safety issues important to, or even of interest to backpackers, also including political and policy news. 

Tahoe to Whitney strives to cover these and all topics affecting the backcountry traveler, be they backpacker, trail crew, horsefolk or dayhiker, working scientist, active researcher, or just a plain old Nature-lover-observer like me.



  Our focus is drawn to the weather by the increasing dangers to backpackers these profound changes are driving.  Severe weather, drought, tree death, fire, including serious new threats from the  increased range of many species of tropical mosquitoes, and the many very dangerous old and new pathogens they are carrying into North America are all changing the nature of our engagement with Nature.

The implications of the rapid and deep changes in the environment and its denizens' character and distribution we have triggered have been severely underestimated. I would prefer we anticipate and avoid the behaviors bringing us to destruction, rather than be limited to reacting  to the ongoing damages our irresponsible behaviors have already brought down on us.

The cost of "profits" is way too high.

This requires "change." We must change back to responsible behaviors based on our fundamental principals, rather than go forward with our present evil ways.

You've got to change your evil ways, baby
Before I stop lovin' you
You've got to change, baby
And every word that I say is true
Santana (1969)


 Our goal is to know what the hell is going on in the Sierra, where the forces driving these changes come from, and try to anticipate the where the possible range of conditions can go in the future. Then we track their current repercussions on human, plant, and animal behavior into the future. 

Oh, My Aching Nature
   Simply stated, our profound greed and arrogance has seriously damaged our whole Web of Life on this planet. It is broken.
For High Sierra backpackers these changes are readily observable in the mountains and have put a profound, steady pressure of degradation on our Sierra Forests and the Sub-Alpine experience. We have ripped up the Web of Life from the outside, attacking it externally, directly draining its resources.
We have undermined the Web of Life from the inside, changing the fundamental planetary  conditions within which it operates.

Other than that, everything's fine.

 The mountains and the forests climbing their flanks are experiencing serious stresses and degrations that can, do, and are seriously affecting the planning and execution of all, and especially long distance backpacking trips.

The last few years have seen a lot of fire, smoke, and water events affecting backpackers.

ON the News Pages we examine the policies and underlaying behaviors driving the most brutal damages brought by the changes in the seasons we've already experienced, by the spread of mosquites and their diseases, and the voluminous spread of drought, beetles, catastropic fires, and ironically, floods during a period of drying and heating.

You gotta respect Nature's sense of ironic humor, if not appreciate it. We will "get-away" with NOTHING. All of our actions do not "go away." All of our individual and collective actions are like tiny chips sculpting a great block of granite. In our case, all our actions sculpt the form of Nature to our own specifications. Sadly, our specs don't work for Nature, so Nature is altering its flows to balance our effects.

We are sculpting Nature into the Hammer of our Own Destruction!

Sadly, or maybe stupidly, it was these previous balances of Nature that provided the foundations for the fertility underlying our civilizations' dominance of Nature. Or, maybe justly. The changes bringing the destruction of our own foundations is coming from our own hands.

But, this chain of causation and responsibility does not track  the direct causes or effects of climate change. That is for the "Brave New World page."

 These News Pages mostly track the growth policies that fueled our environmental destruction, with emphsis on the fire, flooding, and drought destruction that is resulting from our irresponsible behaviors. These conditions seriously degrade the backpackpacking experience. 

Though each of these backpacke news and weather pages we track both our bad behavior that causes the changing weather and how the backpacker must respond to it.

 Though the behaviors of man and weather are deeply interelated, and one affects the other in a profound two-way relationship we must divide cause from effect to better understand each, and the dynamics of their evolving relationship with each other.

These things affect our gear selection.

On the part of "civilization," it has to find a better goal than self-absorption with mindless self-gratification that better reflects the power and sophistication of the life-expanding Web of Life that the structue of Nature produces, and that produced us.

It would have behooved us to stay within its patterns and respect their limits. 

We presently do neither as individuals, as a society, an economy, or a polity. 
Mother Nature is Responding.

We have opened up the Greatest Can of Kick-Ass on Earth, AKA, "Pandora's Box," or otherwise known as pissing-off "Mother" Nature. 
We have read about how an "Angry God" destroys the "sinners" in the books of every major religion that ever existed on Earth. Now we get to see and understand the process of which they spoke first-hand, with full knowledge of the lines of responsibility and influence that triggered this disaster, and exactly who profited from it..

It really does not matter if you believe in "Climate Change," or not. Vast changes have already happened, and bigger ones are on the way. It behooves us to get out of the way of this train, rather than arguing about where it came from.

The "Lady of this House" is angry and moving rapidly towards humanity with ill-intent and the most powerful weapons. Those are the fundamental forces of Nature, aligned against the will and actions of man.

There are no odds on this bet. The house always wins.

 Nonetheless, my advice is to get out the popcorn, 'case Nature kicking some ass is going to be the Greatest Show on Earth for quite some time to come in our future.

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