Wood’s Journal, Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo by Martin James Wood

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This particular post is a journal entry from the “Wood’s Journal” page. Please enjoy your trek along “The Wood’s Edge” and check out more on the “Wood’s Journal” page.

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Written by: Martin James Wood

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sky: blue sky with altostratus clouds

Air: warm with a constant breeze

Precipitation: none

Ground: clear and damp

Sunshine: occasional bright sunshine

Temperature: 70 degrees

Time out: mid-morning

Pennsylvania’s woodlands have seen temperatures ranging quite dramatically this week, from the mid-twenties on up to peeking in the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. Temperatures as this, can fool one into thinking it’s Springtime. What a welcome to see and feel temps such as the sixties and seventies this time of year…! This morning, some of my family and I are visiting and hiking McConnells Mills State Park, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And It appears the 70 degree temperatures haven’t just brought us out to the park, as I can see there are many vehicles and people about enjoying this break in the weather.

The highlights for the news this week seem to focus quite a bit on President Trump. There is liberal backlash after he makes a promise at a Florida rally to do whatever he can to not let media getaway with false or distorted press while seeming to capitalize on their own agendas. Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster has been named National Security Advisor on Monday by the president. He also named retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg as Chief of Staff of the National Security Council. Kellogg has been recently acting as National Security Advisor since the president fired Michael Flynn from the job. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington was visited on Tuesday by President Trump and his chosen cabinet member Ben Carson, who also is the president’s choice for Housing Chief.

Other news; marijuana is at the center for some controversy with jurisdictions of state and federal laws. Federal laws have final authority over state when there are conflictions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reputation is not one to be in favor of marijuana use, worries marijuana activists and industry. Homeland Security has issued, on Tuesday, documents stating to faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States. Also on Tuesday, Coyote Creek crested 14.4 feet causing major flooding. Evacuations of about 14,000 people were necessary along with an evacuation advisory for an additional 22,000 people to leave their homes. San Jose, California hasn’t seen flooding of this magnitude since 1997 and creek flooding records like this since 1922. Army Corps of Engineers ordered for Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps to be shut down by 2:00 pm on Wednesday. Arrests were made Thursday for those who wouldn’t leave… There is talk of drilling in Alaska. U.S. senator Lisa Murkowski pushes for legislation to open America’s largest wildlife refuge, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for oil drilling…

I’m all for a healthy economy and improved industry. We all know our country is in desperate need for these. I just hope and pray all can be mindful of a healthy balance for our environment and our nation’s economy. We have to remember the price that can be brought onto ourselves if we are not careful about discerning our regulations. We can’t guarantee ALL to be responsible when mining, drilling and disposing of industrial waste and pollutants. When a mountain is leveled for coal extraction or any other mining endeavor, it can not be put back to its natural state. When a stream or a tributary is redirected or terminated for the same, it can not be put back to its natural state. Certain sacrifices just aren’t worth making… I believe that we may have been overregulated and that some deregulation was, and is necessary, but as I said, we have to be mindful of what we do, and how we do it… We have to be creative and tread lightly. We owe it to ourselves and our future stakeholders in this land… There is no room for selfishness. We must be responsible… And,,, not be like foolish children leaving irreversible messes behind, just for a quick good time…

Walking this trail along the Slippery Rock Creek, I notice a dramatic difference in temperature from where we started out higher up the gorge. It must be ten degrees cooler down along the creek bottom… The steady cool breeze blowing down the creek sure adds to the chilling effect. The hemlocks are quite a sight this time of year as they are the only green along the banks in addition to the assortment of moss and ferns.

Photo by Martin James Wood

The trail we are on winds along the creek falling and rising with the bank. The creek at times becomes wider and more turbulent. At other times the creek is deeper and appears less turbulent, but I’m not fooled by that, as I can see the quick smooth swiftness of the flowing water over the large boulders… These massive rocks climb the hills up both sides of the gorge, decorating the banks with moss and tree’d outcroppings on the rocky ledges above… These hemlock cliffs of boulders and promontory places are definitely the reason for the cooler air along the Slippery Rock Creek bed. The cooler air aids with maintaining the stream’s cooler temperature which is a necessity for cleaner water along with its fast moving flow… So, not only are the gorge walls a sight to behold, but they are serving a purpose as well which man could hardly recreate. After all,,, it had taken mother nature thousands of years to do this…

As we traverse the trail by the creek, we decide to move onto another path which ascends a steep wall of rocks and hemlocks. We follow a small tributary until we come to a small skinny stream of water about two stories above us pouring out from some boulders higher up. More ice cold water exiting the earth and finding its way downward into Slippery Rock Creek. I have to think of how there are many more of these little hidden tributaries among these gorge walls which are feeding that monstrous current below…

Photo by Martin James Wood
Photo by Martin James Wood

These hills and forests provide relaxation and recreation for so many people. They also provide an ecosystem necessary for our environment which also benefits so many people. It all appears to be a “win, win” from where I’m standing among these hemlocks underneath this blue sky, sunshine and ice cold water.

Photo by Martin James Wood

It is so refreshing to be out and about in this environment today. I couldn’t imagine having it leveled and distorted from all of its beauty, and I wouldn’t appreciate it if some big corporation were to change it in any way for an agenda of theirs. That would seem very selfish. We all benefit from this environment and we should all have a say in what happens to it… Because it affects all of us eventually, in one way or another…

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About Martin James Wood

Nature enthusiast Martin James Wood is an outdoor writer and blogger for The Wood's Edge. He has spent his life among the forests and woods, admiring nature with a camera and pen. His writing, artistry, and outdoor photography celebrate nature’s simplicity and beauty. A Pennsylvania native, Martin James is a loving father and husband, and a friend to our nation’s forests who believes in protecting and preserving our wild lands.

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