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Craig Goodwin
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Although bald eagles rule the roost at Lake Sawyer, Osprey are not afraid to stake out their claims to territory. As a pure fisherman, Osprey will beat an eagle any day of the week. They are faster and dive deeper. Following are a few of my recent Osprey shots. I call this one On Patrol. Note how big the talons are for his/her size. Before diving, they often flutter above their intended prey, taking calibrated aim. For their size, they have a huge wing span and very skinny legs. I call this guy Skinny. For those on the lake, it's... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Black Diamond NOW
The early 1900's were boom times for building hydroelectric dams in Washington State. Locally, we had dams and power plants built at Electron, Lake Tapps/Dieringer, Snoqualmie and the Masonry dam on the Cedar River near North Bend. The Puget Sound region was growing exponentially and in dire need of electrical generating capacity. The same can be said for the Olympic Peninsula where Port Angeles was emerging as a hub for both forest products manufacturing and shipping. To supply power meant building a dam 7 miles upstream on the Elwha River. Dam construction began in 1910 and opened in 1913. Construction... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
The Cascade Red Fox is a rare subspecies of Red Fox that lives only at high elevations in the Cascade Range of Washington State, specifically in Mount Rainier National Park. They are small, weighing between 8-15 pounds. Though some have a bright red coat, they can also be tan, silver, and black in coloring. Regardless of the dominant color, the tips of their large bushy tails are always white, while the forelegs are black. What beautiful animals they are. According to park staff, Foxes are opportunistic hunters, pouncing or ambushing small rodents, birds, and rabbits. They will also eat berries,... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Most of us are familiar with the terms "skid road" and "corduroy road" used to describe roads made of logs. Early loggers in the northwest had to rely on teams of oxen and horses to literally drag harvested timber out of the woods. Logs were placed crosswise in their path to reduce friction and keep from getting bogged down (see previous posts Skid Road and Hauling Logs on a Skid Road). But what is a "pole road" and how is it different than a skid road? A railroad made of logs? Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, LAR031, Frank La... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Black Diamond NOW
Seeking sunshine, stars and warm weather, I decided to head to the Columbia River near Vantage. Though I have always looked passed here as an area to explore, I wanted to get a moon shot as it rose over the Wild Horses Monument. It turned out to be a good choice. Warm weather, funky clouds and a fun time exploring the basalt rock formations of Frenchman Coulee. Though normally dry by now, the waterfalls were worth the hike by itself. Even a little green grass and moss growing. I've always wondered what a coulee is. Is this a coulee? According... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
No, I'm not talking about those seeking to cut taxes. Revenue cutters were armed vessels tasked with patrolling our coastal waters and collecting customs duties and fees. Their history dates back all the way to 1790 when Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Congress sought new ways to increase revenues. Imposing import tariffs were the perceived solution. Collecting these fees, however, was not quite so simple. Rampant smuggling and hundreds of miles of shoreline on both coasts posed huge challenges. First called the Revenue-Marine department, focused primarily on the Great Lakes and East Coast, it officially became the Revenue... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Steam powered donkey engines revolutionized the logging industry. They also brought "portability" to power supply not seen before - unless, of course, you consider hay burners (horses). An early 20th century version of today's portable generators. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, WWDL0156, circa 1910 Mount a donkey engine on rails and you had real portability. All you needed was wood. The above photo shows a donkey engine used during construction of the White River Power plant at Dieringer, shuttling back and forth where needed. This one was apparently headed to what was called camp 8. Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
The love of sports has long been an important part of the fabric of northwest communities. Logging camps, mining camps, company towns - all fielded sports teams. Competition was intense and the recruitment of athletes to fill cushy jobs was common. Baseball and soccer were particularly popular. So was track and field. I recently ran across a photo of a pole vaulter taken in the 1920's showing his skill and bravery as he soars above the bar. Photo courtesy Washington State Libraries, n.d. At first, I did a double take. Was this high jump or pole vault? It looks like... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
What technological advances would you identify as having the greatest impact during your lifetime? For me, I would have to say the move from vacuum tubes to semiconductors is the most significant. There is hardly any aspect of our lives that has been left untouched. Clearly, the way we communicate has seen profound change, but what about more basic industries such as electrical power generation and distribution? Think for a moment about the hydroelectric power plant built at Dieringer. This plant took water diverted from the White River into Lake Tapps and then fed downhill through wooden flumes to the... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
In search of sunshine and stars, I've been heading east of the mountains more regularly this winter and early spring. Cle Elum Lake, the high prairie at Bickleton, Teanaway and Omak Lake are some of my favorites. Add the Methow Valley to the list. Though the North Cascades Highway remains closed until the end of May, there is lots to do and see here - and thankfully sunshine and stars too. Here are a couple of scenes last week just before entering Twisp on a day when it was raining cats and dogs in Black Diamond. The ranch land and... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Faced with the need for lots of lumber to complete construction of the Dieringer hydroelectric power plant, the Pacific Coast Power Company built itself a sawmill. The mill was located at the northern most arm of Lake Tapps adjacent to the outlet flume delivering water to the Dieringer plant down below. The following photo shows the sawmill under construction. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, WWDL0135, circa 1910 It appears rail lines were in place before the mill was built. The following photo better shows the mill under construction and it's proximity to the lake. Photo courtesy University of Washington... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
When I think of what's required to build a dam, I think first of concrete as the critical material of need. But not so for most early area hydroelectric facilities. Engineers needed a steady supply of lumber first and foremost. In part this was due to the fact that dam heights were often not very high. For example, the plants at Electron, Snoqualmie Falls and Dieringer all relied on natural drops in elevation with only a small dam required for holding back the water. Their biggest engineering challenge was finding a way to channel existing stream flows down through a... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
1918 - it's wartime, demand for lumber is at an all time high and the IWW is on strike. What do we do? To the rescue comes the Loyal Legion of Loggers and Lumbermen (LLLL). Their motto: "the strength of your blows and the loyalty of your hearts will win this war". Image courtesy University of Washington Libraries, PNW01119, circa 1918 The federally formed Spruce Production Division was managed by the U.S. Signal Corps and employed both locals and soldiers to build roads and harvest timber to supply the war effort. Light weight spruce for building aircraft (bi-planes) and high... Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
One solution to the logistical problems faced by early loggers was called riving - using wedges to split logs into more harvestable and merchantable pieces. Given the size of logs being harvested, riving offered the only practical solution for some logs. The photo that follows shows loggers in their Sunday best posing with a huge cedar log. Photo courtesy Museum of History & Industry, shs935, circa 1905 There was simply no practical way to get this monster to a sawmill. Using wedges, loggers were able to split it into pieces that could be transported in usable form by teams of... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Yes indeed, you are correct. Hancock recently logged an area just west of the Evans Creek off-road vehicle area. There were no views here prior to having it logged off - opened up some great views.
Toggle Commented May 1, 2017 on My Secret Mountain Vista at Black Diamond NOW
1 reply
Good news! It appears that this year's eaglets have hatched in their nest at Lake Sawyer Park. I was able to observe the mom moving around the nest with food in her mouth, apparently feeding her youngsters. At this early date, they are likely still very small and not moving around much. Perhaps in a few weeks we]'ll be able to see them venture out a bit where we can see them. Here's a picture of the proud mom taken last Friday. Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
What single piece of equipment was most essential to early loggers? If you guessed "misery whips" (aka crosscut saws), you would have been spot on. And in the name misery whip, a story is told. It's your best friend but also your most hated enemy. How many calories are you going to burn today to fell a 20' diameter Doug fir or buck it into suitable lengths? Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, CKK0292, Clark Kinsey photographer, circa 1920's It could easily have taken a day or more to fell the tree pictured above. But this was only the beginning... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
My fascination (obsession) with early railroad trestles continues, particularly about methods of construction. Steam powered pile drivers were critical. The photo that follows shows this better than others that I've seen. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, CKK0419, Clark Kinsey photographer, circa 1930 How did the pile driver work? Steam power was provided by little more than a glorified donkey engine using a specialized cable setup to raise and lower a weight to hammer the pilings in place. A 3 log structure surrounded the footing to keep the weight moving up and down at the correct angle as it hammered... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Despite vast supplies of timber, east hill Kent remained largely untouched by loggers for several decades. That changed quickly, however, once the Northern Pacific railroad completed the Palmer cutoff, providing direct rail access between Auburn and Kanaskat, linking to their established route across Stampede Pass. In 1904, the Covington Lumber Company built a sawmill at what was then known as Jenkins Prairie (present day Covington). By 1908, the sawmill had a capacity of 85,000 board feet per day - quite large for its time. To supply the mill, logging camps were established with narrow gauge rail connecting them to the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
As unsafe as wooden railroad trestles would appear to have been during the late 1800's and early 1900's, their track record of performance was surprisingly good. There were exceptions, however, including the collapsed bridge near the summit of Snoqualmie Pass in 1912 that resulted in five deaths when the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific railroad train Olympian derailed and plunged to the stream below. Photo courtesy University of Washington Libraries, TRA1424, A. Holzman photographer, circa 1912 Four crewmembers and one passenger were killed in the wreck. Apparently the forward engine derailed first while on the trestle, causing it to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Anxious to head up into the mountains but worried about snow levels? Try hiking the trail to Green Lake in the Carbon River area of Mt. Rainier National Park. The trail is suitable for moderate level hikers - 9.6 miles roundtrip with 1,150 feet of elevation gain in the last 1.8 miles. Most of the trail is flat along the old road that once allowed you to drive to Ipsut Creek campgrounds. Washouts, however, forced closure of the road, extending the hike 2.8 miles to the original trailhead. Bikers also use the old roadway to bike/hike to the many trails... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
When was the last time you saw a rowboat on Lake Sawyer or anywhere for that matter? Not very often. The following photo showing a fisherman on the lake was taken in the 1950's and was so typical at the time. Photo courtesy Peggy Hawkins, circa 1950's Note: the boat launch can be seen in the background. There's something just so right about a rowboat and fishing. Trolling at variable speeds beats one uniform speed any day. You can also be rowing along and easily see when you have a bite. Not many canoes these days either. Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Have you ever ridden on a "speeder"? I'm not talking about dragstrips and race cars but specialized railcars widely used by logging railroads to transport men and equipment from mill or camp into the woods. Courtesy of Enumclaw Heritage and Washington State Libraries, following are three different types of speeders used by the White River Lumber Company. No. 2 speeder appears to the most basic model. Just enough room for a few supplies and room for several loggers. No. 7 speeder appears to be the height of luxury and intended for overnight use. More like a big caboose. Speeders were... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
Looking for spectacular views of Mount Rainier up close yet less than an hour from home? Where you can turnaround at the same place and witness beautiful sunsets across the Olympics? Yep, I found it! You can even drive there. Here's the view I found last weekend. I kept my CRV in the photo to provide perspective. Is that a fantastic mountain vista or what! Here's sunset standing at my car looking west. Turn back around and here's sunset reflecting on the mountain. And then there was blue hour. A starry night. Here's a wide angle shot using my 14mm... Continue reading
Posted Apr 18, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW
What would the lumber industry do today without forklifts? Logs and lumber are bulky, long and heavy - hard to move around. Forklifts today fill this need. But what did they do before they had forklifts? How about lumber carriers? Photo courtesy Oregon Historical Society, circa 1920 The concept was simple. Raise a tractor carriage up off the ground, fit some lift blades below and use chains to hoist lumber up off the ground, just enough to move about the yard. Set it down and move on for the next load. These were particularly useful for moving lumber in and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2017 at Black Diamond NOW