John Muir Trail
Last Tuesday evening our members played host to one of our own, Mr. Alan Schofield, a long standing member of the Society who regaled us with a truly stunning talk about how he and two friends undertook to walk the 221 mile long John Muir Trail, which stretches through the very highest mountains in California. Mr Schofield informed us that John Muir was a Scotsman, who left his native heath to emigrate to the USA, where he settled for the rest of his life. He soon grew to love the great outdoors and spent long hours strolling through the wildernesses of his new home and he became an ardent environmentalist campaigning for conservation and National Parks. He befriended Theodore Roosevelt and when that gentleman obtained Presidential Office managed to persuade him to lay down protection for many wild areas. After he passed away his two daughters Helen and Wanda decided to create a trail in honour of his memory and this was duly done and it remains for any intrepid individual who has the stamina and boy do they need it to complete this marathon.
Mr. Schofield pointed out that, as many parts of the trail are over 13000 feet up, you have to acclimatise to oxygen levels and to prove this he had many stunning shots of the mountains and passes they passed through. He also had pictures of the numerous flora and fauna species they encountered. They started with the giant Sequoias or Redwoods, Lodgepole pine and beautiful Bristlecone pines which they found along the way. There were hosts of plants to be found and how the speaker remembered them all was a wonder. They also encountered many birds such as the Sierra Chickory and American Robin, which is actually a Thrush. Though there were no Grizzly Bears, Black Bears were met and just like Yogi Bear were for ever after their picnics. And the Speaker had many anecdotes, too many to put here. Animals included Ground Squirrels, Marmots, Mule Deer and many other types. The three friends finally made it, despite running out of rations – they fortunately came across some generous Americans who gave them some margarine and lard which kept them going to the end.
Finally our President Mr. Peter Riley gave Mr. Schofield a hearty vote of thanks and the resounding ovation spoke for itself. Join us next month when Tim Melling will take us to Northumbria.
Wharfedale Naturalists Society
Photo by Peretz Partensky from San Francisco, USA (John Muir Trail-20 Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.