My latest photosphere project documents the demise of the eleven Jeffery and/or Sugar pine trees on our small cabin property in Twain Harte, CA. My great grandpa Laffin and his sons (one of which was my grandpa Laffin) channeled their post-WWII frustrations into building the very rustic cabin in the late 1940's as a place for their families to escape the summer heat of the central valley. To this day there is no phone, internet or cable (but a small TV plays DVD's for evening entertainment).
At 3700' in elevation, the trees around the cabin have succumbed to five years of drought and bark beetle infestation. Amazingly, the trees seemed healthy and green on my last visit in early May. PG&E and Twain Harte will be helping to cover the cost of tree removal which is now running about $1500/tree (!). Nearly 70 million trees in the Sierra Nevada have died during the drought and it's quite easy to see in the precipitation chart below that the drought has been a major stressor on the forests.
Our family is currently talking amongst itself to determine what species of trees to replant with a warming climate and likely less water. Black oaks? Dogwoods? Install irrigation for new pine trees? When tree removal is done I'll complete another photosphere for comparison. Needless to say, the cabin will never be the same as what I remembered growing up.
A quick hike through lower Bell Meadow and ending at the sand and gravel bars of Bell Creek with Laura, Zephyr, Steve, Brianna and Casper. With two kids under a year old and one pregnant mamma, this mile-long round-trip hike was just what the doctor ordered. It was a wonderfully cool day and lots of exploration was had by Zephyr and Casper.
Ryan J Hollister - Geoscience & EnviroSci Educator, Avid hiker, Landscape photographer, WildLink Club Advisor, Central Valley Advocate.