Thursday, October 27, 2011

Notes: 10/27/11

(Photos from our trip to Yosemite last week...)

1. For the "Occupy Movement' to have any lasting effect it needs to develop specific achievable goals - otherwise it is howling into the wind. Wall Street and Banks have been so focused on maximizing their own profits that the 99% feel abused, powerless, and "taken advantage of"... The government responses haven't helped to really solve the issues either.

Have you ever wondered why large corporate banks should be baled out with federal dollars; then instead of developing policies to rebuild America from the greatest recession since the great depression, they concentrate on policies that maximize their own profits?

El Capitan
They have held back on loans to small businesses and individuals, they continually raise new customer fees (Bank of America just announced a new 5$ fee for the use of Debit cards), they provide scandalous annual bonuses for their executives, and they engage in “robo-signing” of home mortgage defaults that have unnecessarily removed families from their homes. The collusion between giant corporate banks and wall street shows a pattern of self seeking and abject disregard for average Americans.


There is a simple action that many Americans are planning to send a message to the corporate banks. Remove your money from the giant “mega-banks” like Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and place it instead in local banks or into a local credit union. Both have proved themselves much more responsive to local individuals and businesses and they offer the same security as the giant banks.

Please read more about the movement by following the links at their Face book site. Click “LIKE” if you agree:

Half Dome - from Glacier Point

It was Lincoln who first called us a government “of the people – by the people – for the people…” Sad to say we have become a government “Of corporations – by corporations – for corporations…” If enough of us speak in unison we can say: “Enough is enough”!

Nevada falls ( Upper ) Vernal falls ( lower)

2. When late October comes to Yosemite Valley, the summer crowds have thinned way down. Plus this is the season of spectacular fall leaves - yellows, reds, and orange brown, combining with the dark greens of the pines . This year even the waterfalls were respectable because it was such a wet winter last year. For the first time Judy and I took our bicycles and explored miles of bike trails that cross the meadows, travel through the beautiful oak and pine forests, and along the base of the great granite cliffs.

Half dome and back country as seen from Glacier Point
Yosemite has been a point of reference in my life– a kind of constant since I first came to this place when I was 9 years old traveling with my family from Kansas. In each stage of my life I have returned - In my early teen years it was one of the places that my Uncle John taught me the joys of “rambling” – enjoying a hike not just to reach a destination – but to enjoy the process – to enjoy the rocks and flowers along the way – the birds and reptiles, the insects and lichen. He taught me well.

Judy and John and bicycles
As an older teen and into my 20s I discovered rock climbing – Yosemite valley was the greatest of all sites! – I never did the major climbs that Yosemite is famous for – but it was a favorite place for small climbs. The clean glaciated granite is so magnificent! Judy and I have returned often over the years. We have brought our sons Peter and Andrew here to pass on the traditions...

Every time I visit I am amazed anew at the interplay of rock and water, of light and shadows, of the recurring cycle of life…The very beauty of the valley has also made summer visits increasingly crowded, with many others seeking nature and solitude. But fall and spring are now our favorite seasons to visit.

"Happy isles"
If we visit in the summer we tend to go to the "high country - Tuolumne Meadows which is over 8000 ft. in elevation. That is our "jump off" site for high Alpine hiking and the tranquility of high altitude terrain…

Milkweed seeds
There is a wonderful social dynamic in Yosemite Valley - people talk to people - you meet strangers on the trail as you catch your breath - you chat... in the restaurants people share spaces and talk about their day's adventures, there is a rustic lounge where people gather at night, around a big fire, to talk, read, or play games... Yosemite attracts people from the entire world - Europeans, Asians, Latin Americans... We spent a memorable evening with four persons from Madrid Spain - It was a fascinating conversation in Spanish and English (they were so kind in acceptance of my fractured Spanish!). Two of the group spoke English and helped me with translating ...

Autumn in Yosemite
I was pondering, as we rode our bicycles, how attitudes about natural places and systems are changing – I grew up among people who viewed nature as something to conquer - something to control or use.

Telephoto of a four point buck

As a biologist, I can only stand in awe at the incredible body systems found in every living organism –each plant or animal is a miracle to observe as it interacts with its environment – and as it adapts to seasons and changes – as it reproduces to form the next generation - as each species has adapted and changed over the eons of time.

Color color color
As we learn more about the limited nature of resources on earth and as the pressures of increasing world population and global climate changes are felt, many people on earth have come to realize that great natural systems and the organisms found there are limited. Life here is fragile – its not only organisms that need preservation but entire systems.

Glacerially shaped granite walls

3, I write this all propped up in a chair with pillows to support my left foot - Wednesday I had corrective surgery on my foot - the result of many miles of mountain trails over my life - there was scar tissue and "junk" to be removed from the joint - My surgeon was pleased with what he found and removed... so with good fortune I will have more good adventures with this foot in the future!

Yosemite falls in October

To see full set of Yosemite photos go to: ( For best viewing go to upper left corner :
click on "slideshow")


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