Saturday, October 19, 2013

Climate Change and "Ascension Island"

World's Collective Scientific Genius: "Incapable of Identifying Weather Mechanisms Through the Cloud Forest" !!!
image: David C. Catling (2013)

An acquaintance from the Google+ gang, Jean-Baptiste Pichancourt, posted a link on his BioCultural Landscapes & Seascapes (BCLS) group page to an article from Yale Environment 360, with the title, "On a Remote Island, Lessons In How Ecosystems Function". The opening caption read like this:
"Transformed by British sailors in the 19th century, Ascension Island in the South Atlantic has a unique tropical forest consisting almost entirely of alien species. Scientists say that what has happened there challenges some basic assumptions about ecosystems and evolution."
(article source)
Anytime or the next time you read words and phrases in any type of science journal or paper like, "challenges some basic assumptions", think of something ideologically driven and/or motivated by a paradigm dogmatically defended. It just doesn't get anymore religious than that despite insistence to the contrary. I would actually be happy if Science were truly ONLY about Physical and Naturalistic explanations, but it's not. The author of this article is Fred Pearce and as the Bio reveals, he is a freelance author and journalist based in the UK. His article on rethinking some of our understanding on invasive & native species sparked outrage by many of his readers who commented on how destructive his viewpoints were on how we should should be researching ways to eradicate what we can identify as an invasive species. The religious dogma with Native Plant Nazis is that there is no such thing as a good non-native plant. Whatever part of the globe a plant Nazi may be found, they resent any outside intrusion of any non-native. I'll deal further with that definition below with my own personal experience of past tunnel-visioned bigotry. I'm not going to deal with the criticism blasted towards the author of this article down which you yourself can read down in the comments section below where numerous anonymous Armchair Ideologue Biologists know more than than the Author. You can read that rubbish for yourself. Plus the incendiary article "Counterpoint: A Dissenting View" which is linked to the article's page. Again, you can read that article as well later.

Image - BBC 

Once a dry barren true desert island is far different today.
You can still see some desolate dry barreness in the fore-
ground, but in the back-ground is Green Mountain, but
 historically it was just rocky barren volcano
In the early years of discovery of Ascension Island the landscape of the island was a dry barren wilderness and the descriptions by early explorers and travelers wasn't exactly flowery. Incredibly one of the things missing were viable and reliable water sources like Springs or any type of creeks or streams. When Charles Darwin visited Ascension Island aboard the Beagle in 1836, he complained about Ascension’s “naked hideousness.” Whatever! But it is what happened after these first visits that transformed this seemingly dry lifeless volcanic cinder rock island partially into a tropical paradise of sorts that is the most intriguing and most ignored by the world's so-called Eco-experts. The high elevation itself has been given the name Green Mountain. Above about 660 meters, Green Mountain is now completely vegetated. What took place gradually, was that the early sailors over the following years brought with them such plants as coffee bushes, vines, monkey puzzle trees, jacaranda, juniper, bananas, buddleia, Japanese cherry trees, palm trees, clerodendrum, green aloe and the pretty pink flowers of the Madagascan periwinkles, Asian forms of Bamboo, etc. These plants eventually went beyond the confines of gardens or plantations and escaped into the wild to create a very unique healthy biodiverse ecosystem. Apparently, most visiting researchers are unconcerned with attempting any study of this because they consider it something unnatural.

Image e360
The Island's Conservation officer Stedson Stroud led the author up the mountain to view the Cloud Forest. Stroud explained to Fred Pearce that many of the endemic plants and other lifeforms seem to get along remarkably well with the motley collection of non-native invaders. He said that the ferns that once clung to the bare mountainside now prosper on the branches of introduced trees like bamboo. Pearce was shown ferns by Stroud that he believes now thrive only on the mosses that grow on such branches. Likewise, there is now a profusion of Ascension land crabs which are the island’s largest native land animals that now feast on the fruits of alien trees like the guava. The only researcher who has studied the land crabs in recent times, Richard Hartnoll of the University of Liverpool, says that the invasive vegetation “increases the area of shade and shelter for crabs, and also provides a large resource of food”, no doubt replacing the island's former scavenging seabird colonies. Author Fred Pearce said that a person might think that this ecological snugness would be of huge ecological interest? Yet, until now, as Pearce and Stroud pointed out, visiting scientists have ignored it. Most researchers who make the long journey the only practical way in to the island, doing so aboard a British military flight, have concentrated on the island’s charismatic populations of seabirds, green turtles, and the handful of endangered ferns. Unbelievable! And all because of Endemic Biota Nazism!
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My Own Former Life as a Native Plant Nazi
Blue Mist (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
I've always in the past historically favoured natives over exotics when it comes to habitat restoration within any given area. Logically when it comes to rebuilding any type of ecosystem in a specific location, you look for existing endemic  plant mechanisms which are well adapted and suited to the area. I use the term Nazi, because it truly identifies the close minded attitude of such strict dogmatic adherents of any type of Native Plant movement across the globe within any geographical location. If you just look at the definition of Nazism itself, the movement represented intolerance of anything it considered impure. Over here in Sweden where I presently reside, there are several National Socialist movements that want immigrants gone from all of Scandinavia and populations brought back to what they label a more Homogeneous purity. Often times, Native Plant people can be just like that. They want no other plants than what they consider native. They dogmatically demand a pristine environment be re-established, but is there really such a thing anymore ? Was there ever truly such an ecosystem ? Considering that even without humankind in existence, there has always been an amazing ability for variation in Nature. I wasn't that extreme, but let me give you an example of something that once happened to me, that changed my whole perspective on the "Natives Only" movement. See that plant in the upper right hand corner here ? This plant was given to me by a friend in 1980 (Daniel Perreli) who was moving back up to Washington State. It looked kool and I thought it would fit in my wild landscape up in Anza California very well, since it had certain desirable Sage (Salvia) qualities about it. 


Washington State University
It grew very well with little care or watering up there in Anza CA. It seemed a perfect fit, not only because of it's drought tolerance, but also because even the various native bees and hummingbirds loved it. But one year it reseeded itself in two other locations and that actually got me researching where this plant was from. I knew the original name from the Nursery pot label it came from, Blue Mist  (Caryopteris x clandonensis). I found out that this was originally a plant from the Mediterranean. Wow, that was a non-native!!! So I ignorantly removed the parent plant which I loved and one of the newly germinated plants and left one down at the base of the rock steps I built. There were never any other plants that ever sprung up new anywhere else, just the one. So it really wasn't a bad invasive and so many other native lifeforms loved this plant, besides me. 
image by W.P. Armstrong
One little insect critter that I really enjoyed every hot summer day was a little insect I call a Hover fly or more commonly known as a Beefly (Bombylius montanus). These little cleverly maneuvering biological helicopters could do a go almost anywhere at angle. They were fun to watch and they loved another native plant up in Anza which also had gray green foliage with cobalt blue flowers just like the Blue Mist. For the life of me, I don't know what that little summer flowering plant was called because I never bothered to investigate. It never was more than a foot high. It's leaves were almost totally gray and very slender. Flowers always striking and loaded with the sound of high pitched buzzing on a hot day. Nevertheless, most people will recognize this little Hover Fly or Beefly from the picture above which was attracted to this summer blooming plant up in Anza Valley. It's only truly abundant during the really hot period of summer and the sound of high pitched buzzing is everywhere. But it was these types of experiences made me reassess my Native Only position. That Blue Mist shrub actually wasn't invasive, other than a small ability to naturalize and it had much to offer to the Native Critters who did live there. In fact I became more and more of a collector of plants from all over the southwest. I'll post a link to my post about problem with "ScrubJay Syndrome" below. Oh, and Wayne Armstrong's Palomar College page has a great read on the little Beefly for which my wife and I recently saw a kool documentary about recently. I'll link to at the bottom for those curious. I never knew these cute little guys were invaders of other ground Bee nests and their young parasitic.

 (AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY)
There is also one other important reason I gave up Native Plant Nazism. The Fossil record. Ever notice in almost every article about amazing fossil discoveries how incredibly more biodiverse the Earth was than it is at present ? That's always fascinated me. Let me give just one example. Ellesmere & Axel Heiberg Islands in the extreme northern Canadian Archipelago near Greenland near the Arctic's North Pole. How is it that before whatever extinction event, the Earth was extremely biodiverse from Pole to Pole ? How is it that an ancient ecosystems had what we know as Boreal, Temperate and Tropical fauna and flora all living together ? The above photo appeared in many science journals and other news outlet venues reporting on the once biodiverse life of the bitter cold Arctic where there were found giant turtles, large snakes, alligators, flying lemurs, tapirs, and hippo- and rhino-like mammals roamed in places now favoured by muskox and hares. This is also an area where Boreal Forest environment existed with Dawn Redwood Trees, Larches, Aspens, Firs and even mummified wood of a Beaver Dam with Beaver's bones discovered along with a crocodile fossil. Seriously, what's up with that ? I mean the Homogeneous Eco-Landscape Nazis would freak at the suggestion of such an ecosystem. And yet such ecosystems were more common countless centuries ago. It's things like this that changed me. For example, one of my favourite places to visit is southeastern Arizona where Tropical and Temperate ecosystems of both flora and fauna clash and blend beautifully together. Yup, I have been cure, well sort of. I also respect that some things, like my beloved Mesquite from the southwest where I come from is a horrible invasive plant in Hawaii, Ethiopia, Australia etc and controls are important. But being stubbornly dogmatic and opinionated also needs limits. (See Link on Ellesmere Island below) 
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Points missed in the Ascension Island Article
"But the Royal Navy garrison, established in 1815, set about changing that. First, it put together a farm on the few patches of natural soil on the mountain. Then British colonial botanist Sir Joseph Hooker — a future head of the famous botanical gardens at Kew in London who visited the island in 1843 — came up with the idea of growing trees to green the arid island and increase its rainfall. The idea was that the new vegetation on the mountaintop would scavenge moisture from the passing clouds. Further down the slopes, planting would encourage soil growth. Hooker’s ambition was nothing less than “terra-forming” the volcanic island, says Stroud in a recent paper with David Catling of the University of Washington, Seattle."
"Today, the island has about 300 introduced species of plants to add to its 25 native species, says David Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK. Many are spreading. Above about 660 meters, Green Mountain is completely vegetated, with coffee bushes, vines, monkey puzzle trees, jacaranda, juniper, bananas, buddleia, Japanese cherry trees, palm trees, clerodendrum, green aloe and the pretty pink flowers of the Madagascan periwinkles. And Stroud says the vegetation captures more cloud moisture, just as Hooker had hoped, even though rainfall has declined in the lowlands around." 

Image - Fred Pearce e360
Take specific care to look at the colour highlighted portions of the quoted paragraphs. There is not a single mention about the climate and localized weather transforming ability of the vegetation and it's mechanical nature for cloud creation. This isn't surprising since most ALL of the Climate Solution debates, there is never one viable project, scheme, plan, or discussion on rebuilding the Earth's vegetative systems to reboot the Earth's climate driving weather mechanisms. Nobody, not even the Native Plant Nazi Ideologues even remotely care about such consideration. Their attitude is that of the British government’s environmental policy for Ascension island is the “control and eradication of invasive species” in order to “ensure the protection and restoration of key habitats.” Apparently, they want everything returned to it's biological soil crust era. Nothing wrong with Soil Crust lifeforms, but they are merely the foundations of higher systems and will always be around in certain specific niches. The British Government eradication policy has nothing to say about the protection of or even ecological research into the extraordinary novel ecosystem which was accidentally created in their midst on which the indigenous species often depend. There are important lesson to be learn and this unique ecosystem on top of Green Mountain may hold important lessons about how ecosystems around the world function and thrive and result in climate maintenance and moderation. Take a look at the photo above here. How much water do you suppose it takes to maintain such a water loving tropical ecosystem, even if it is considered impure by the "homogeneous only" Gangsters ? Seriously, would you say they are missing the climate driving mechanisms through the cloud forest here ? In an atmosphere of Global Warming Alarmism and we only have a short time left to fix things on earth activism outrage, what the heck are they waiting for ? Is it any wonder that skeptics will never take them serious ? From my vantage point, all I've ever seen with this whole ridiculous debate is backbiting by various ideologically driven environmental groups looking to acquire and take power from someone else deemed an opposent of their self-righteous version of worldview.

 Image shot by Spumador - flickr

Luytla-Duymun Island, Faroe Islands
One of the funnier views by some in discrediting the effect of plants on the mountain was the naysayers pointing out that the cloud mist from the surrounding seas had always been around previously. Well, yes, of course. That's the nature of such geographical locations, I mean there is sea all around. Islands with large mountains (like volcanoes) have a geographical phenomena called Orographic lift which concentrates moist humid air at cooler elevations which  can create cloud mist. But seriously, there is more going on here on Ascension than mere physics of the Island's geographical landscape  phenomena of Orographic lift. As I've even previously written about in this blog, Cahuilla Mountain in Anza California had the amazing mechanical ability to create the beginnings of thunderstorms during monsoonal moisture movement weather events which come up from Mexico. The were other similar locations around Anza Valley, but Cahuilla Mountain was unique in this formation which was always precise and had a very mechanical conveyor patterned about it. An observation which could be seen for years until in 1996 when an arson set wildfire at Diego Flats changed everything. The old growth Chaparral along with Coulter Pine and various old growth Oak woodlands were almost completely destroyed on over half of this mountain. Thereafter the regular summer pattern of cloud formation was halted. The heavier vegetative pattern up on "Green Mountain" has actually magnified and increased the ability to form clouds and hence rainfall. Again, how much rain does it take to sustain a tropical forest ? Certainly more than the previous mist.


Link and image from invasiveplants.com
Now take a look at this Google Earth satellite image of Ascension Island's Green Mountain which was provided by the Invasive Plants website. Notice the cloud creation and formation caused by the vegetation below ? So is this some kind of an evil thing going on here ? Do you really believe such a system to be forced back into is previously dry barren condition because it would be restored to it's original unadulterated "pure and pristine" state ? That's like saying we should leave the Sahara pure and untouched, despite it's once being a subtropical Savanna paradise where biodiversity once ruled as King. Chaparral Plant Communities of California and other parts of the world accomplish and perform the very same thing as other Temperate, Tropical etc ecosystems if they are allowed to develop into an old growth state. Unfortunately, failed land management policies and perverted uneducated attitudes towards the value of such plant communities promoted by the flawed leadership in these regions have also formulated unhealthy opinions and understanding by many average citizens and property owners of these areas. These fascinating mechanisms are the whole reason I created this specific blog. In fact I even wrote about an incredible phenomena observed by some researchers where it has been observed that Tropical Storms linger over moist or wet areas than over dry areas. Not many people were interested in that subject (44 in total), but still, look at the Ascension Island example. (See the link below) I'm not going to link to any more of my other posts, you've got them all here within this blog if you're truly interested in mechanical nature of weather in which physics and biological mechanisms interact. Sadly, they'll be mostly ignored anyway and/or it's contents be buried in a plethora of intellect speak which benefits no one, with the exception of some anonymous ideologue who takes pleasure and delight in patting himself on the back after a combative anonymous exchange with a equally competitive idiot who enjoys the game playing. 
Important Update:
Emissions from forests influence very first stage of cloud formation 
Interestingly, another one of the other reasons this article caught my initial attention is because of a conversation I had with Chris Rohrer who owns, writes and photographs in the LAS AVENTURAS Blog Chris over a decade back, participated in a similar island chain environment where an experiment by the University of Arizona was to vegetate the landscape on a couple of the islands which are in an area further north of Ascension known as Cape Verde. They incorporated Arizona Native Plants on the island like Prosopis juliflora, or Mesquite because of it's deep rooting ability and even Palo Verde. Info on these projects is tough to find, but in a report from the U of A, called Draft Environment Report on Cape Verde (see link below), I found some interesting reasons which the Mesquite was chosen over the native Acacia from Africa. One major reason was that it was much more deeper rooted. That makes sense in a survival game, but there are more important mechanical component reasons for this. Mesquite is one of the best trees for not only Hydraulic Lift and Redistribution which benefit the surrounding plant community with shallower root systems, but it is also one of the best trees (even when dormant) at performing something called Hydraulic Descent. This is where it has the ability to capture and transport excesses of surface water during a rainy season and pump it deep into the earth well beyond where mere geological percolation takes place. The deep earth is the best place to store fresh water and understanding this should factor in to any habitat rebuilding program when selecting first, those dominant foundational plants which will help drive and sustain a ecosystem. Problem is, while some have studied this incredible phenomena, nobody ever really talks about it, references it or teaches it from school textbooks where it needs to be taught at an early age to instill deep appreciation for Earth's brilliantly put together natural environment. Although there are a tremendous amount of papers on these subjects, most seem to be buried and filed away in deep dark archived catacombs in some intellectual dungeon somewhere under, "Of Interesting Note", never to be actually acknowledged or talked about openly in any discussion or restoration program.

Fred Pearce showed that these researchers were missing a golden learning opportunity in rejecting any study of "Green Mountain". And Why is this ? Because they all consider it artificial or unnatural and that such change is suppose to happen on it's own over long periods of deep time or as Pearce put in the use of the term, "ecological fitting" as coined by evolutionary ecologist Dr. Daniel Janzen, where he believes as Fred Pearce put it, "ecological fitting holds that ecosystems are typically much more random. Stuff happens." Stuff Happens ? Our planet doesn't have time to wait and see how stuff will just happen. Humans presently are artificially accelerating the destruction of natural systems through the so-called brilliance of their technological innovative achievements of what is left of the viable biological world at an extremely rapid pace. Doing so in the justification and name of each country's own National Economies. As I've often stated before, when one’s theory-ladened paradigm reduces to random actions for no particular reason, then you've abandoned such excellent sciences like biomemetics and/or Biomimicry which are nothing more than discovering and observing how nature mechanically works and operates, then proceeding to make intelligent practical application in replication of what was discovered and observed. Around the Earth we have what are termed designated Wilderness Areas where there are strict intolerant hands-off policies where no disturbance is allowed, even to fight wildfires or restore what was lost. They say it is important to allow Nature to take care of itself. I'm afraid such Scientific Orthodoxy hardliner rules are going to have to change since globally all ecosystems are in trouble. But this narrow minded tunnel vision focus by a lot of researchers has to be dumped in favour of reality. They need to dump the tunnel vision blinders and start developing the ability to see and focus on an intuitive ecological peripheral vision. If all a person can do is say is “Stuff happens,” then they haven't learned nor explained anything to the rest of the world. Even the island's ecologist Stroud stated, “Green Mountain might help inform strategies to green some deserts or other barren locations in the world.” And even the environmental ecologist Dr David Wilkinson beautifully put it this way:
“Is it possible... to suggest, for example, that large deforested areas of Amazonia could be returned to functioning forest on a 100-year time-scale?”
And Fred Pearce followed up with: 
"And maybe not just former rainforests. If a forest can form so quickly and successfully on a volcano in the middle of the Atlantic, they why not in other unlikely places?"
Sadly, none of the article's readers, with the exception of a handful, ever got any of these important points. Fred Pearce was viciously attacked by people like Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological diversity, an organization that basically makes it's money off "Sue & Settle" strategies for which he receives a $200,000+ salary each year. The comments section had only a handful that actually got the main point of the article. And neither did the Author's of those follow up two dissenting articles ever get the point. Oh, BTW, this came out recently from Princeton University: 
Without plants, Earth would cook under billions of tons of additional carbon
Sarcasm alert! Ah gee whiz, really ? No kidding ? Unbelievable! 
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Further Reference Reading: 
http://e360.yale.edu/feature/on_a_remote_island_lessons__in_how_ecosystems_function/2683/
http://invasiveplantnews.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ascensionislandphotogoogleearth.png 
http://www.academia.edu/462808/The_Rise_and_Fall_of_Biotic_Nativeness_A_Historical_Perspective 
http://faculty.washington.edu/dcatling/Catling2012_GreenMountainSubmitted.pdf
The parable of Green Mountain: Ascension Island, ecosystem construction and ecological fitting
http://arizona.openrepository.com/arizona/bitstream/10150/228232/1/capeverde.pdf
Fossils from Ellesmere Island reveal a much-warmer past
Tropical Storms Linger Longer Over Wet Land & Fizzle Over Dry, But in Truth it's a Universal Phenomena Globally Speaking
Always Collecting Seeds & Plants even when I have no Place to put them
http://waynesword.palomar.edu/rsnakecan1.htm#beefly

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(Anza Expedition Part II) The Valley that was, but isn't any longer

My first impression when I first arrived in Anza was, "What am I getting myself into ?" Anyone who's been to the local Circle-K in town after sundown knows what I'm talking about. My attitude was better than Ken Dawson, who I wrote about here , back in May 2013. Ken told me when he and Linda first came to Anza to view this property in Terwilliger, he told me this was his impression when first driving through the town of Anza, "Man if Anza looks like this, Terwilliger must be a bitch."  Well, that was just the way "tell it like it is Ken Dawson", expressed himself. He really didn't mean any harm, mostly it was a joke, but Still!

Google Earth: San Carlos Pass & Cary Ranch
When I concluded my first post about the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition from central Arizona to Coyote Canyon, I left with this scene on the right of the what Jaun Bautist de Anza named the San Carlos Pass and I'll get to this area in a moment. But there are some interesting things to make note of as far as weather and climate interest. Both Anza and Pedro Font wrote in their dairy or journals of the horrible winter weather of pouring rain and intermittent sleet and snow storms they endured from Borrego Valley up through the Lower, Middle and Upper Willows of Coyote Creek turning west and moving through Nance Canyon to the San Carlos Pass. Interesting  fact, when I lived in Terwilliger, we use to call the area the Banana Belt, given that temps here were milder than surrounding areas and rain more intense to the north and the south of it's location. Even during normal years these areas do not receive that type of rainfall and/or moisture content. It is interesting that once they reach the wider valley of Nance Canyon, Anza reveals that the area was fed by various sources of running water. All very true, there are several major tributaries which converge on this valley, all of which have evidence of this wealth of water by the presence of large Cottonwoods and California Sycamore Trees which are permanent fixtures in the converging Arroyos. There are other natural anomalies or more specifically plant life features the Anza Expedition encountered up at the top of the mountain pass called Puerto San Carlos (Cary Ranch) which brought them into the  Terwilliger and Anza Valleys. Below here is a historical photograph from the Hamilton Museum which doesn't put a date on it, but given another photo published next to it which is said to be circa 1930 at the Park Valley Ranch (Lake Riverside Estates) below Cahuilla Mountain, it would be easy to assume it is around or close to the same time period. Especially as you can view the lack of any real development. This view above here is on top of the giant boulder strewn hill overlooking the San Carlos Pass and the Ranch looking westward towards the entire wild Terwilliger Valley with Cahuilla Mountain in the far distant background. 


Photo image: Hamilton Museum. (1930 ?)

(click if you want to enlarge)
    Pity there weren't any modern cameras back then. I'd really love to see the colours and deeper clarity and contrast which would help in identifying plant cover even in the distance. But at least, an observant individual can see the much denser plant cover than at present. I've actually stood on this exact spot where this photo is being shot back in the very early 1980s. The land development company High Country Ranches was developing a massive amount of land behind this hill and to the north against the southern face of Table Mountain which I believe were mostly 20 acre parcels in the beginning. They actually developed this very large boulder strewn hilltop with a few building pads and lots while I lived at Dawson's place in Terwilliger. Before anything was sold, I drove up there with my four wheel drive Toyota and walked around. Something I always wanted to see were the caves and petroglyphs around and within those giant boulders. It was mentioned in many accounts that this is where Anza met some of his first Cahuilla Natives. Sure enough, most all of the caves have soot and ash stains on their ceilings where I imagine campfires were lit for cooking and just general warmth in wintertime. Some people to first explore these caves found pottery shards and whole or partial ollas. I only found pottery shards here. But that view overlooking the ranch to the west is awesome. On an interesting note, the Hamilton Museum website has a photo looking down into Nance Canyon from the top of this same hill, but while it is black and white, it is by no means an old photograph because when I first visited, none of those roads in the background existed. The only road was the one at the bottom going from right to left in the photo and there would have been only two main homes and residents down there. The large cleared land with house and Cottonwood trees and one house across the creek from that. The road at that time was hideous and no one but winter trekking Jeep clubs ever ventured down there. The guy in the large house with the clearing ran me and a friend out of there with his shotgun. Lots of Independent Survivalist residents back then. (Nance Canyon) . Now look at this present day Google Earth map I've tried to capture close to the same angle without too much distortion.

Google Earth
It really was a fun challenge to go just so far without much distortion to get almost the same exact camera angle as that original photo which I believe was probably taken some time in the 1930s. Note the lack of those large Oak trees as seen in the 1930s photograph. In fact, do you notice the general lack of large old growth of any type of vegetation when you compare both photos ? Things have changed dramatically. You can still see the barn in the picture, but many of the larger Live Oak trees are just gone. In fact I'm not sure if there are any oaks other than scrub oak now. The Cahuilla living in this area's village would have been very dependent on such a valuable food resource and I don't doubt that they were intelligent enough to replant and reseed many of these plants as a food resource near their food preparation areas where the metate were located. The entire length of this valley drains this direction all the way from Burnt Valley via Hamilton Creek and out this pass below. Mostly now, there is never enough rainfall for that to even remotely happen. Take note of where the barn is and cleared land. Also take note of the boulders to the left of that barn and another clearing. Violet Cary told me that when they first moved there they planted a large orchard of peach, plum and apricot trees. She said the water table back then was so very high and the sedge grasses even grew up the hillside there. They never had to irrigate until the late 1960s when Agri-Empire moved in and farmed potatoes which require a fair amount of water and lowering the water table by means of their industrial sized irrigation well head pumps. She hated Jim Minor and Agri-Empire. Never had a nice word about him each time I met her. But back then there were several of those people who were at odds with what they believed was the Evil-Empire. Hmmm, Mr Wheeler who lived on Cahuilla Mountain comes to mind. Take a look at the next photo I created from Google Earth which gives a greater view of the area in question above. You'll see the High Country Ranch lot development at the lower right where I parked my truck and explored and the actual San Carlos Pass which the Anza Expedition came through.
Eastern end of Terwilliger Valley and the San Carlos Pass
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 Diary of Juan Bautista de Anza - Second Expedition: 
Tuesday, December 26. 1775 -- 
Today having dawned fair, at the regular hour the sun came out bright. For this reason and because the mother was better and had the pluck to march, we prepared to break camp, and at a quarter to nine set forth, ascending the valley which has been mentioned, going west-northwest. Having traveled along the valley for about three-quarters of a league, at a place where it narrowed greatly we left it at our left and immediately climbed a small ridge. This was followed by two other smaller ones, by which we arrived at the pass or opening of San Carlos , having traveled in all only about two and a half leagues in four hours, because of the stops which it was necessary to make. Here we halted for the night because it has been raining ever since nine o'clock, although very lightly, since this rain, if it should become harder, might injure the woman who was delivered night before last, and since the march although short has been for the most part up and down. With this march the sierra or cordillera which runs to and ends at Baja California is now overcome or passed. Rain continued until half past four in the afternoon. After it began to get dark a heavy, distant thunder was heard, and this was followed by an earthquake which lasted four minutes. -- 39. From Tubac to the Puerto de San Carlos, 163 leagues. 
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Diary of Pedro Font: 
December 26. 1775 -- 
We set out from the dry gully at a quarter past nine in the morning, and, about two in the afternoon, halted in a bottom near the rocks that form the pass of the Sierra Madre de California, called the Puerto de San Carlos, having travelled some three long leagues to the north-northwest, and climbed the slope as far as the summit, a distance that must be about one league. At about five in the afternoon we felt a shake, with phenomena of earthquake, which lasted but a very short time and was accompanied by an instantaneous and loud noise.
Below here are the footnotes from the Translation of the Dairies into English from Spanish which were published back in 1930. The descriptions given in the above from Anza and Font are  observations of the same event on the same day and written in their respective journals and a interpretation below of both of these and the area in question along with the 1930s photograph of the old Fred Clark (now Cary) Ranch posted below. 
ANZA'S CALIFORNIA  EXPEDITIONS   VOLUME III 
  THE SAN FRANCISCO COLONY ,  DIARIES OF ANZA, FONT, AND EIXARCH, AND  NARRATIVES BY PALOU AND MORAGA 
  TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL SPANISH  MANUSCRIPTS AND EDITED   BY  HERBERT EUGENE BOLTON   PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN HISTORY AND   DIRECTOR OF THE BANCROFT LIBRARY   UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA     UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS   BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA   1930 
Archive.org: Anza's California Expedition 
An Archive of Anza's Journal and Footnote Commentary 
1. Puerto de San Carlos was the pass at Fred Clark 's corral, at the east end of Cahuilla Valley. Above the Upper Willows some three or  four miles the canyon forks, with Horse Canyon on the right (ascending), Nance Canyon in the middle, and the main canyon (Tule) at  the left. Passing the mouth of Horse Canyon, Anza climbed the ridge between Nance and Tule and camped at the fine springs in the  flat just before reaching Fred Clark 's corral. The flat is in Nance  Canyon where it swings around to the trail again. Anza gives the  distance as two and one-half leagues, and Font as three leagues,  which is more nearly correct. Font's description of the route is excellent: The road follows the principal arroyo of the dry canyon, which gets much narrower until the foot of the ridge is reached, which now has some rather bad spots. The ridge is divided into two stretches; the first is rather bad and long, the second less so, and  between the two there is a fairly level stretch. From the highest point one descends a rather narrow, dry arroyo, and on reaching some  large round rocks one descends a gentle and short slope to the flat  where camp was made. The two ridges and the arroyo are clearly recognized by one following the trail today, and the large round rocks are still plainly to be seen. A superb diarist was Font. 

Photo image: Hamilton Museum (Fred Clark Ranch)

This view appears to be looking north towards Thomas Mountain with Mount San Jacinto in the background. The foreground vegetation is the common Silver Sagebrush (Artemisia cana) which is everywhere up in those high elevation valleys. Now I want to mention that beyond these plants and the willows in the foreground, no doubt there were massive meadows of various Sedges, as the water table would have been extremely high and much closer to the surface back then on all these valley floors. When I first visited here in the middle of the 1978-1984 heavy El Nino climate wet period which seemed to almost mirror the climate pattern Anza and Font wrote about, the Cary Ranch as I stood there getting a grand tour around the place was loaded with sedge meadows, some large patches even extending north out into the large grassy plain which you can see to the left of the Barn in the above older and newer photographs of the ranch. When Anza and Font speak of the Trek from San Carlos Pass to the area of Tripp Flats having great travel difficulty because the extremely heavy moisture content which made the ground very miry, and I can certainly vouch for that. In this photo here in this Link , I was once driving out across this plain to visit an elderly native Cahuilla and his wife. This was around 1981 on a clear sunny day and the road looked clean, fine and dry with two dirt tracks with sedge grasses on either side and in the middle. Just following the worn tire tracks I noticed that I started losing power to the vehicle and couldn't figure out what was wrong.  It became worse until suddenly I stopped and couldn't go any where further. I got out and noticed that the vehicle had sunk up to the frame in that muck. This soil here is extremely fine and miry as Anza described. The old Cahuilla gentleman walked out across the Prairie with what seemed 20+ dogs and told me they never drive anywhere in Wintertime. Only a Farm Caterpillar creating the new potato field north of that yellow Pin point I put on the Google map could pull me back out to the dry dirt road towards lower Bautista dirt Road. 

Calphotos/Berkeley - Sedge Grasses

When I first met and spoke to  Violet, Art Carry even had cattle grazing in the lower lush green sedge meadows which were dense and heavily covering there along those willows going back south to the left hand side of the picture heading back down towards Nance Canyon. The newer Satellite photos indicate none of these plants presently exist there. You can pull up Google Earth and view this area yourself. That's really sad and terribly revealing about the dramatic way water has been heavily used and how the climate has change radically. It's also sad because I have seen this with my own eyes as an eye witness to what it was once like and now it's simply gone. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that this far eastern stretch of Terwilliger Valley, all the way stretching westward to Lake Riverside Estates wasn't all sedge meadows at one time exactly the way western Garner Valley is today and there are a number of clues why I believe this from the observational notations given by both Font and Anza in both of their dairies. I'll point some of these clues out in the photograph below and associate them with a few facts of today. On the trek from San Carlos Pass to an area called Cañada de San Patricio, known locally today as Tripp Flats which is an area described as the headwaters of the river canyon we now call Bautista Canyon which leads down to Hemet California below. I am not going to dwell much on this location in this post as I'll take it up next time in Part III. I am mainly concerned with the center of Anza Valley itself and the evidence for a far richer vegetative environment that once existed than it does at present. Many notes jotted down by both Anza and Font in the dairies give some interesting clues which I find have never been explored before nor thoroughly thought through in anyone else's writings.  



image: Mango Traveller
Hurkey Creek spilling out onto the Garner Valley floor near Lake Hemet. Terwilliger Valley through lower Anza Valley to Cahuilla Mountain may well have looked very much like this scene here when the Anza Expedition passed through. Through an entire day's time, they trekked from San Carlos Pass to Trip Flats and complaining about the difficulty of  traveling over terribly wet miry ground and footing. This would indicate an extreme wealth of surface waters for which sedges and other water loving plants like rushes would thrive.
Below here, I'm going to quote Anza's first visit in 1774 with his first hand observations and the relevant material as far as natural history perspective. Then I'll quote Pedro Font's very much expanded dairy the winter trek after (1775) and his impression of the natural world's landscape. As the 1930s, as the translator of the Anza Expedition revealed, Font was a much more superb Dairist with his greater eye for detail. This is actually one of the things that I really appreciate most. When you have a written record of the same event by different individuals, you can view a more complete accurate overall view of the expedition, but with personal details that caught the eye of each individual who was awe struck by different features or aspects of the trek. The different notations of some physical aspect along the trail don't conflict, but rather compliment one another. Well, if that makes any sense. In both cases, the writings of both I can appreciate more fully than most because of having lived there for over 20+ years and having a keen interest (okay obsession) with the area they wrote about and the natural world which at one time existed, but is no longer existing in today's unfortunate reality. People should also note that this is the same story with most locations on Earth.         
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~Juan Bautista de Anza, 1774 journal entry describing the first scenes of the trek through San Carlos Pass.
Tuesday, March 15, 1774.– 
Two hours before daybreak we set forth up the arroyo, which in general runs north-northwest, dividing the large mountain chain through which it flows. [Footnote 108] The floor of the valley is very even and of considerable width for four leagues, where in various places running water is found. Two more leagues were traveled where the valley is narrower, and then, leaving it at the left, we climbed a ridge [Footnote 109] which did not cause the animals the greatest fatigue, and at whose crest we camped for the night in a place with good pasturage and water.–From Tubac to the Puerto Real de San Carlos, 227 leagues. 
Right here there is a pass which I named the Royal Pass of San Carlos. From it are seen most beautiful green and flower-strewn prairies, and snow-covered mountains with pines, oaks, and other trees which grow in cold countries. Likewise here the waters divide, some flowing this way toward the Gulf and others toward the Philippine Ocean. Moreover, it is now proved that the sierra in which we are traveling connects with the sierras of Lower California. In the course of the journey made today we have seen an improvement in the country in every way, and have concluded from its moisture that it may be suitable for seasonal crops and the planting of fruit trees, and that there are pastures sufficient for maintaining cattle.
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There are a couple of important points here about Anza's first trip through the Spring of 1774. Notice the area coloured in orange above. Indeed, in times of heavy rainfall when I lived there, this area in the Spring is rich in heavy greenery, which Anza and Font both noted would be perfect for pasturage for Cattle industry. This area through Terwilliger Valley towards Anza Valley is also one of the richest wildflower areas in all of Riverside County's high mountain valley regions. Anyone who has actual first hand experience living there for a few decades would also recognize this incredibly beautiful feature that Anza actually took the time to note down. Indeed the higher surrounding hills of the prairie floor are rich in Gold Fields and Owl's Clover, along with numerous other annuals like Chia as the photo below of Cahuilla Reservation reveal. Here is a wildflower picture link to the Goldfield Wildflowers at Carrizo Plain by Simon Sun. It is illustrative of what much of Anza and Terwilliger Valleys were once like. Seriously, how could Anza and Font have passed through here and not mention a word about such beauty ? I'll have more pics next time of the famous Gold Fields down in the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley which can actually be blinding in full sun as they can so thoroughly blanket or carpet an immense are or region. Most of these areas in Hemet Valley are long gone and developed over. 


image: Deborah Small

Chia or Thistle Sage (Salvia carduacea)

I'll have more pics later, but please book mark and read Deborah small's extremely interesting blog on Ethnobotany, much of which deals with the Anza areas. Now take another look at this next clue which I highlighted in green from Anza's 1774 journal account.
"Likewise here the waters divide, some flowing this way toward the Gulf and others toward the Philippine Ocean." 
For me this is very intriguing, as he speaks of the separation of the natural hydrology of the landscape up there in Anza. Anza sped through here rather quickly on his first and second trips. Mostly about a days walk. There would not have been much time to determine and figure out which direction waters moved on the surface especially if the climate and weather circumstance were as they exist today. The very idea that surface water was running this far down from Thomas Mountain and heading either to the Pacific Ocean (he calls Philippine Ocean) and the Gulf  (referring to Sea of Cortez) is a testament to the great wealth of surface water existing back then which no longer exists today. There are only two large water courses which would have come this far, the first being Hamilton Creek and the second Cahuilla Creek. Both actually do split off exactly as he describes if they were actually running with water. Hamilton Creek is the hydrological feature which has always filled up that shallow lake depression while I lived up there and which Anza described. Here is a map below from Google Earth which illustrates the separation of the stream flows as he would have seen them first hand.


Google Earth

This is a similar but much closer up view of the link I gave above about my Car mucking experience. Cahuilla Creek comes directly out of Thomas Mountain with it's head waters at Old forest Road. It crosses the Highway 371 near the old Kellogg Ranch, but looks more like a giant badly eroded agricultural irrigation runoff ditch which is in fact what it is most of the time anyway. On the far right in the dry looking area, this is where Anza's mystical Laguna Del Principe was once located. This area is almost totally destroyed when I last viewed it this past Spring 2013. The Cahuilla Indian Reservation back when I first came to Anza, had never ever really developed their land for anything other than range cattle. That has all changed now. Agri-Empire has diverted and channel much of the lower Hamilton Creek drainage to flow towards the west, but during heavy rains or flashfloods, some still makes it to the east towards the lake bed. Take a look below at how it appears today from the highway, though I highly doubt that most residents up there know exactly what this old stream bed actually is along highway 371 just west of Anza. Also take note of Agri-Empire's redirecting Hamilton flow towards the west, with only a slight veering to the left.


Google Earth. 

Cahuilla Creek draining down from off Thomas Mountain. Most modern maps won't even reference these facts any longer. This overpass had at one time signage listing it as Cahuilla Creek but they are now totally removed. Whatever.
It's remarkable when you sit back and ponder the reasons for both of these creeks running heavily all the way down the the valley bottom. Both creek beds have run at times before when I lived there, but only during times of Monsoonal flash flooding, although both did trickle a little during the heavy 5 year El Nino event in the last couple of years, with Hamilton Creek even flowing with enough water to fill that mystical disappearing and reappearing lake which was once more of a permanent landmark than today. Hamilton Creek as well has the same story. But if you think back to a time as where no one had as yet sunk any wells or redirected any water and where the vegetation system was a much more heavily forested cover of not only pine, but of Live Oaks, these stream banks would have been heavily wooded with riparian species and their meandering course more foundationally established as to facilitate the water's easier surface movement over greater and farther distances than exist today, which is for the most part, totally bone dry. Once again, the water table everywhere would have been much closer to the surface for such an ecosystem to have once existed.
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Wednesday, March 16.– 
Because it rained and snowed, like the night before, we were not able to take up the march during the forenoon. But at two in the afternoon we set forth, immediately climbing some small hills, where a fair-sized vein of silver ore was found. [Footnote 111] From these hills we continued west for a distance of three leagues over good terrain, halting for the night, because it threatened to rain, on the banks of a large and pretty lake, to which we gave the name of El Príncipe. It is surrounded by flower-strewn and pleasant valleys and by several snow-covered mountains, by which it is filled with water. In the hills nearby were found several springs of very agreeable water, independent of the lake.–From Tubac to the Laguna del Príncipe, 230 leagues.
I previously wrote separately about Hamilton Creek and the evidence for Violet Cary's forceful insistence that the eastern and northern portions of Anza Valley being heavily forested with the predominant tree being that of giant oak trees. You can follow that account Here . Hamilton Creek with a large drainage area of almost all of the top of Table Mountain which certainly been heavily forested and the entire Burnt Valley along with other contributing tributaries joining further on down from Thomas Mountain would have kept that mysterious lake rather more permanent with a southeasterly outflow heading towards San Carlos Pass, which in turn would have kept that surface miry as noted in the dairies. And Cahuilla Creek again, bone dry today,  but more permanent surface flow over 300+ years ago draining from much of the western face of Thomas Mountain through OLD FOREST Road canyon area, just simply sheds more light on what the area once looked like in history. The bottom line here is this, we're not talking 1000s of years ago as is popular to story tell, we're talking a little over a couple of hundred years ago. It may take 1000s of years for a system to develop and mature into a sustainable ecosystem, but it's only taken 150 years of supposedly greater scientific enlightenment and technological innovative development to destroy it all and send everything into the Cesspit. Clearly, something is radically wrong with the understanding of many of these areas. This should start ringing Climate Change bells inside some important Somebodies brains, but will they listen. 
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Wednesday March 16 -
From these hills we continued west for a distance of three leagues over good terrain, halting for the night, because it threatened to rain, on the banks of a large and pretty lake, to which we gave the name of El Príncipe. It is surrounded by flower-strewn and pleasant valleys and by several snow-covered mountains, by which it is filled with water. In the hills nearby were found several springs of very agreeable water, independent of the lake.–From Tubac to the Laguna del Príncipe, 230 leagues.
I can only imagine Anza being so impressed about the amount of greater surface water everywhere independent of the large Lake between Terwilliger and Anza Valley. One of these great surface water resource areas if he sent scouts to investigate, would have been up by the old Stanley Swanson Tree Farm where I once resided for a time. This not only part of a western branch of the greater Hamilton Creek drainage flow, where a wealth of water near has always been nearer the surface, but during the time of the El Nino event and for several years afterwards, all wells on that property which had old windmill towers bubbled to the surface and overflowed from all the well heads. Sedges and Rushes were in large spread on the lower acreage, and they were all the way to the present Diner 371, or the Old Chaparral Restaurant. So the potential for massive amounts of surface water flow would have been huge, especially in supporting a much greater forested ecosystem. 

Google Earth
Well, many residents will recognize this location. This is where in 1982 a massive wall of water down Highway 371 with 6 to 8 foot high rapids from shoulder to shoulder blitzed all the way down Kirby Road to this point during an hour long Monsoonal Thunderstorm event. The Nazarine/Lutheran Church is at the upper left with Hill Street jct above that. Where the barn, other outbuildings and the Mobile Home are moving left towards that Church building are the remnants of an extremely large Cahuilla Village, but not many people know of this. There are several large flat granite bedrock areas, which may be covered over with soil fill (Stan never wanted anyone to know about them for fear of being forced to do an archaeological study) where huge Metate Grinding holes still exist. The area no doubt would have been far more wooded at the time with large oak trees which would have provided one of their main staple foods, acorns.

Google Earth

This is the entrance that most people up there drive past. To the left here I believe is the antique shop owned by the gal who bought my old place. It's actually a separate parcel for which the owner would never sell out to Stanley. On the right as you drive in is the ancient village site right about where you see the small Coulter Pines and to the right of them. Like most Native American pantries, Prickly Pear Cactus and Mexican Elderberry are present here as well, or at least they were when I was there. Take a look at the small independent Metate grinding stones above. I actually found one of these and it's hand grinder stone at this large location. I had since moved and had my own place. I created a garden up on table mountain, but the soil there was mostly coarse decomposed granite and I wanted bottomland soils. I asked Stanley, who lived in Orange County if I could take some of the black (no doubt Biochar) soils from around the large granite metate areas which food preparation and campfires no doubt happened for countless generations. Beautiful soil, but there was this one large rock that my shovel kept hitting, so I dug and pried it loose just to get the thing out of the way so that the soil was easier to shovel and load into my pickup truck and the result was almost identical to the metate you see there in the middle, but it was upside down looking like just any other rock. What a pleasant surprise this was. I almost forgot about the reason I was there. I also found many black beads with holes drilled through them for a necklace. I still don't know how they did such things. Underneath was the hand held grinding stone (called manos) looking very much like the lighter coloured one in the photo above, but made totally of bright white quartz. It was perfectly shaped like a white bar of Ivory soap, but only much bigger. I always wondered how much time it took for those natives to make such an incredible masterpieces. Shows what a human can do with lots of time on their hands and none of the modern day distraction. 
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image: Deborah Small
Below here is the expanded more detailed parts of Fray Pedro Font's Dairy of the 1775 Expedition as he observes drastic changes in the landscape coming up through the pass of San Carlos. I'm only quoting the relevant passages as these relate to the Natural World seen then first hand. He used a Spanish word, "Hediondilla" , which refers to the common desert Creosote Bush. 
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Tuesday December 26 -
A little before we entered the narrow part of the canyon a fine sleet began to fall, and lasted until after we had halted. The day and the night continued very wet and cold, but the mother recently delivered had the spirit to continue the journey. The hediondilla, shrub of evil augury, for it can live only in such bad country, which is appropriate to it, lasted to the top of the ridge. Then at once I noted the change in the landscape, for now we saw some scrub live oaks and other small trees; and they said that in the sierra in this vicinity there were pines with pine nuts, though I did not see any.
This place has a spring of water and a small arroyo nearby, with plentiful and good grass; and the sierra hereabout appears to be very fertile and moist, quite in contrast with the former, which appeared to be rather mountains of boulders and rocks than a sierra. In this flat we found an abandoned Indian village, [Footnote 163] and from the signs it was evident that as soon as they sensed our coming they left their huts or warrens and fled, judging from their fresh tracks. Being so savage and wild, when they saw the cattle which went ahead, God knows what they thought they were. And so we were not able to see a single Indian. It must have been about five in the afternoon when we felt a tremor of very short duration that appeared to be an earthquake, accompanied by a short, sharp rumbling. After a short time it was repeated very distinctly.
Pedro Font speaks of the abrupt change in landscape as the trek through Nance Canyon and Through San Carlos Pass where the native peoples abandoned their village at the fright of seeing cattle which they had never seen before. He also speaks about the areas richness in water which makes me wonder about old Carl Long's 200 acre parcel which has an Artesian Spring to this day which flows from rocks and where he kept those last wild horses he wrote about. The location for Carl's Ranch and Artesian spring is very near to that San Carlos Pass boulder strewn area described in the journals. Well, who really knows for sure if these are a part of that description. Still, it is interesting.
 Wednesday December 27
Here the country is better than the foregoing, for after leaving the Pass of San Carlos this country completely changes its aspect, in contrast with that left behind on the other side. From a height near the place whence we set out, formed by large stones, rocks, and boulders, through which the road runs and which form the Pass of San Carlos, as if the scenery of the theater were changed, one beholds the Sierra Madre de California now totally different —green and leafy, with good grass and trees, in the distance looking toward the South Sea, whereas in the distance looking toward the California Sea it is dry, unfruitful and arid, as I have said
As soon as we reached the top of the rocky pass of San Carlos we entered level and good country, from which one sees to the north-northwest and northwest the same Sierra Madre, very high and white with snow; and this Sierra Nevada continues beyond the mission of San Gabriel. After going a league we entered a valley, which the last time they called Valley del Príncipe, [Terwilliger] formed on the right by the Sierra Nevada which I have mentioned, with others, and on the left by another spur of mountains, very high and full of pines, which appears to run toward San Diego. All the valley has plentiful and good grass, with shrubs and fragrant herbs.
After leaving this valley we entered a growth of low brush and then we came to the canyon, which is very narrow and is formed by the same hills and branches of the Sierra Madre. Near the camp site we found three small huts of Indians with many shucks of acorns, which constitute their food, but we did not see a single Indian. In the canyon we saw many pretty and fragrant plants, and at the camp site there were many rose bushes, the first ones which I have seen in those lands. Their roses are small and have only five petals, but they are very fragrant, although at this season they were withered, and they had only the red seed pods. I ate some of them and they had a rather agreeable taste. There are also live oaks and other trees. Today the weather was fairly good.
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Comb's Peak south of Terwilliger (2003 Coyote Fire)

As the 1930s translator of the dairies stated, Font had a much more detailed account of the area's natural features. He describes the mountain on both sides as being full of pines and oaks. The Bucksnort Mountains and Beauty Mountains would have been on the left as he describes these heavily wooded areas as running towards San Diego and then what calls the Sierra Nevada to the north which would have been Thomas Mountain and the Santa Rosa Mountains to the north and East. There is no doubt in my mind that this area was more heavily forested in the mountains and with numerous pockets of woodlands on the valley floors. The richness described of water sources like springs and streams independent of the main bodies of water would certainly have fed just such a rich ecosystem. Certainly a far cry from the present sorry condition one would physically find this place if they visited today. For the most part, the Bucksnort Moutains to the south of Terwilliger have no more forest to speak of. What remnants that were left were almost completely destroyed by that 2003 Coyote Fire which took almost everything to the edge of the Lost Valley Scout Camp. There is so much more to say, but so little attention span from most readers. Most want nothing but photos followed by short quips, so they can move on the the next bit of local or world News. Still there is so much more to say. But my Spring 2013 trip over there was extremely disappointing. 

Driving down Terwilliger Road, I notice that the land on the eastern side of the Cahuilla Indian Reservation where traditionally the largest untouched chaparral and Scrub Oak woodlands once existed are almost completely destroyed and removed for apparent industrial agricultural purposes. It needs pointing out that this was one of the exact areas summer monsoon clouds developed over and  much of the first seasons rainfall took place. I'm sure this has even changed now. I remember approaching some of the more militant activists on that side (I won't say who) of the Rez about possibly volunteering to put together a project on the reservation like we had done at Ken Dawson's place . Absolutely and totally not interested, even if I paid for the trees myself. I got an ear full of Indian Activism and a story line about it's all the white man's fault and the government should be the one to put things back the way they were, not us. Whatever! You know, I'm as much or more sympathetic as the next person about what was done to the Native North Americans, maybe even outraged, but at some point numerous generations later (irrespective of whatever past ancient culture got the shaft on Earth), you get over it and move on and make the improvements yourself. These folks have the best land up there and unfortunately it's becoming ruined physically just like the surrounding properties. In the long run as I've stated in previous posts, there is really no differences in ALL human beings once you remove the cloak of costume and cultural customs. Underneath everyone is equal to everyone else and this is sadly evident in the way the land has been mismanaged up there in Anza and Terwilliger. 

In the third part, I'll write about the landscape between Tripp Flats all the way down to Mystic Lake near Moreno Valley. That will be as far as I can go with regards knowledge and personal experience of these areas which Anza and his Expedition traveled through. I'll also post another article on Hamilton Creek Canyon which I've found interesting, but didn't have the time to document. The creek bed use to be much higher in elevation than at present and there is a wealth of physical evidence to bare this out. Keep also in mind that the main message here is not so much about the people past or present, as it was the natural world that once exist but no longer does and what humans can learn from how ecosystems were once put together and constructed. All the genetic information within all living things is still buried deep within every living thing. How they work, function and cooperate together still exists if only humans will unlock the secrets and put things back the way they once functioned. Although human interference has disrupted and perhaps caused the genetic informational content within all these living things to express themselves less efficiently, these can nevertheless be put back together like a well oiled machine. The main hindrance to all of this of course is human behavior and that is something science and technological innovation has no answer for. Humans have to want the change.
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Further Reading References:
(Part 1) Juan Bautista de Anza's Journal sheds light on a past Extinct Ecosystem
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Bautista_de_Anza_National_Historic_Trail
http://www.anzahistorictrail.org/visit/explorer?x=-115.8398&y=32.8224&z=10&base=bingstreets&layers=anza_rec_trail%2Canza_histtrl%2Canza_campsites
http://www.solideas.com/DeAnza/TrailGuide/Riverside/
http://archive.org - DIARIES OF ANZA, FONT, AND EIXARCH, AND NARRATIVES BY PALOU AND MORAGA TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL SPANISH MANUSCRIPTS AND EDITED
http://anza.uoregon.edu/archives.html
http://deborahsmall.wordpress.com/