Sunday, May 11, 2008

End of OIl

As a part-time resident of the upper Wenatchee Valley, and in the interest of keeping abreast of activities in Leavenworth, Washington, I subscribe to The Leavenworth Echo. One of my favorite sections in the paper is the "letters to the editor."

Most of the letters are what you would expect: local citizen thanks VFW for pancake breakfast fundraiser, middle school principal acknowledges teachers for another fine year, and the like. Some letters, however, bring out the "flat earthers." You know, those neo-conservatives who think George W. (Worstever) Bush is doing a great job as President of the United States.

Subjects can range wildly over the complete spectrum of issues. Here is a sampling of one that appeared a couple of weeks ago:

"We should be using our own domestic sources of oil instead of dabbling with dubious alternatives. Most liberals will try to sell you on the idea that the world is not running out of oil -- this is not the reality of the situation. There is enough oil in the world for the next hundred years at the current rates of consumption. In reality, the world is awash in oil, there is no shortage. The answers are that our liberal Congress pressured by environmental extremists have prevented the United States from drilling its own vast domestic oil resources in ANWR and off the west coast."

Most of the time, I just bite my tongue, but this time I couldn't resist. I fired my retort off to the editor of The Echo the following week.

"I was quite amused by the letter in the April 23 edition of The Leavenworth Echo. The really stunning part is that the editor apparently agrees (with the writer). Scientists everywhere agree that the end of oil is nigh. The question is whether it will result in a whimper in decades hence, or in a bang much sooner. You boys need to wake up and smell the petroleum while you still can."

Now, unfortunately, the editor of The Echo has this annoying habit of responding to letters in the same issue. I will abbreviate his rebuttal somewhat to spare you all his "ad nauseum" points.

"You're right, John, you can count me on the list of doubters who think we are running out of oil. What we are running out of is vision and courage. We are running short on the vision to challenge the radical environmentalists who have prevented us from drilling for new undiscovered reserves. I have no doubt that if we expanded our drilling efforts off shore, we would find more oil. And if we developed the oil in ANWR, the Colorado and Canadian oil fields, we could probably tell OPEC to keep its oil. But then the (scientists) would once again be proven wrong and we just couldn't have that, could we!"

My response to his response can be summarized in one word: lame. I love the fact that he needed more words to make his point than I did.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Owl Farm

Here's the well house (below) on our property, which has been appropriately dubbed the Owl Farm by Helmut Vallindaklopf, AKA Kelly Tjaden, fellow wilderness stranger on the Lake Wenatchee Ranger District back in the late 70s/early 80s.

Also known as the Owl Farm Cantina, the structure includes a shower and sauna, and is probably the most expensive well house in Chelan County, Washington.

Rock Mountain

Near the summit of Stevens Pass in Washington is Rock Mountain, with Rock Lake (above) tucked away in a tarn near the top. The trail to Rock Mountain from the Nason Creek side of Nason Ridge has some serious southern exposure: read, it's hotter than Hades.

The trail is four miles, with elevation gain from trailhead to summit of nearly 5,000 feet. At Rock Lake, it's still a mile to the summit. Nice view of Glacier Peak, though, eh? That's my longtime buddy Frank Czubiak (below) in the foreground.

Shugart Flats: God's Country

One of my favorite places to decompress is on our two-acre piece of recreational property located between Lake Wenatchee and Leavenworth on the eastern slope of the Cascade Range in Washington. Here is a shot of beautiful Lake Wenatchee taken by my friend Roger Wallace, retired Fire Management Officer for the Leavenworth Ranger District of the United States Forest Service.

Shugart Flats is a lovely little spot located at the junction of the Wenatchee River and Chiwawa River about 16 miles northwest of the town of Leavenworth, Washington. The site is primarily forest and meadow, with the primary species of conifers being Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, Western red cedar and Western white pine. The deciduous trees are principally cottonwood and alder.

Donald and Mister Ducklips

Here I am with Donald, also known as the "Oregon Duck," who at the time was on "double secret probation" for conduct unbecoming at a football game. Check out and let ye who has not sinned cast the first stone.


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