|"The trail up-mountain to my homeplace was steep, even for this country, where any piece of flat-land big as a blanket has a name to itself."|
Zande Allan, speaking of the Northern Santa Lucia in|
Lillian Bos Ross's classic novel, The Stanger in Big Sur
History of Santa Lucia Fir,
with Excerpts from the Notes and
Letters of Early Collectors.
in Big Sur Wildlands
Test Your Topographic Know-How
Third in a Series
First in a Series
Third in a Series
Winter is here, there's no doubt about it. In fact, the likelyhood is great that even as these words are being keyed snow is falling at Pine Ridge, Pat Springs, the Double Cone, and laying its white blanket over the rest of the Ventana high country. Face-flies are but a fondly annoying memory and the rattlesnakes buzz only in their subterranean dreams, while for the backcounty traveler the solitude is deep and wide; the air clear as crystal.
Things are slowly evolving here at the DCQ. With the recent formation of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance it has been decided that the Quarterly will now be the journal thereof. Worry little about big changes, though, at least in the short run. As evidenced by the articles in this Winter Solstice issue, the somewhat eclectic mix of material will remain as such, with the likely inclusion of more Alliance-related information as time goes by. And know that one needn't be a VWA member to submit and publish articles here, although an open invitation stands.
And now to the issue at hand. Once again Ventana botanist and VWA member David Rogers has taken on the herculean task of educating us all, with an indepth sequel to last quarter's study of our rare and endemic Santa Lucia Fir. Since the last issue David has unearthed some fascinating references to the very early study of this curious tree, complete with artist's renderings, many of which are included in his article. This issue also marks the beginning of a regular feature which David has agreed to produce, which is the inclusion each quarter of the text of an historically interesting newspaper clipping pertaining in one way or another to the Ventana locale. This first one is the tale of an 1869 trip by horseback to the Tassajara Hot Springs, well before the road was in.
And believe it or not, exotic plants have invaded this issue. That's right, by way of a super-informative article by Dave Nelson exposing the scourge of invasive exotics into the Wilderness. It's a problem that we can all help to keep under control with a little know-how, which Dave eloquently provides. John Courtney then takes us on a post-El Niņo exploration of flood-ravaged Jeffers Country, lending a philosophical awareness and insight into the process of renewal, before Jeffrey Zimmerman brings us along on a touching trip into the Ventana with one of his best friends, Belle, a hiking partner we'd all be better for having known.
And, as always, you'll find here new installments of the now-familiar Map Mania puzzle, Feature Flower, Placenames of the Wilderness, and Lost Trails of the Wilderness, as well as the first of a corollary serial called Lost Camps of the Wilderness. Hopefully there's enough here to keep you busy through the end of the year.
The Double-Cone Quarterly is published four times a year, on the equinoxes and solstices, and can be obtained free of charge by anyone with an internet connection who steers their browser to http://www.ventanawild.org/news/news.html.