Wednesday, September 4, 2013

From Fred Jones and Jim Hill at California Council for the Social Studies

AB 484 will be amended tomorrow, but will include (and evidently has Gov's sign-off):

*  Eliminate current CSTs, except Science 5,8,10; EAP grade 11 and ESEA required (ELA/Math) in order to save funds to maximize Field Test of SBAC.  These tests are no longer aligned with new Standards adopted in 2010 and with Common Core (CAHSEE will continue to be given, but not referenced in 484).

*  Allow LEAs to administer test in Spanish if they desire.

*  A comprehensive plan from CDE will be due by 2016 to include Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core and the use of 21st Century technology.

*  AYP and API would be suspended (AYP scores of last year would be used for next year during transition for purposes of ESEA reporting; they obviously anticipated the potential fallout that New York is experiencing due to their transitionary -- and lower -- scores)

*  Bill may remove "Urgency Clause" within AB 484 -- which just means it won't take effect until Jan 1, not immediately upon Gov's signature, but will still apply by Springtime testing this school year (this is to ensure the bill's passage, since Urgency Clauses require ⅔ vote of both Houses, and there is serious concerns from social justice and testing/accountability groups re: losing individual student and school scores for at least a year)

*  Federal Waivers will be sought, but if AB 484 is signed, they will disregard US Dept of Ed if they don't authorize Waivers (there has been some positive communications with US Secty of Ed re: removing double-testing to begin introducing field testing of Common Core/Smarter Balanced, although how long California will be able to suspend individual pupil scores and AYP/API scores of schools remain an open question; SBE authorized President Kirst -- in consultation with SPI -- to seek necessary Waivers depending on further clarifications anticipated from US Dept of Ed, but Deb Sigman reiterated that if AB 484 is signed, California will end current STAR tests … PERIOD!).

Sue Burr (former SBE Exec Director, but now SBE member and senior advisor to Gov):  "This sends the clearest, strongest message to the field that we're serious about implementing Common Core … it doesn't mean we don't care about H-SS, but we need a transition period … for assessment changes"  -- stated during today's SBE meeting at CDE.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review: A Black Cowboy's Ride Across America

A Black Cowboy's Ride
It's not every day that a good book about both geography and history comes along, but Lisa Winkler's non-fiction epic, A Black Cowboy's Ride Across America, guides the reader from New Jersey to California.  Each chapter portrays the real-life adventure of an African-American teacher, Miles Dean, who rides horseback across the United States beginning September 22, 2007.  The mini-biography of Dean spans not only the country, but the centuries of African-American history in various places along the way.
There is not enough room in history books to tell the stories of all the remarkable people who walked this earth.  So textbooks leave out folks who do not specifically advance the historical narrative the editors wish to portray.  For example, American children all read about George Washington, the first President of the United States, and they should.  Do they also know about Blanche K. Bruce, the first African-American to serve a full term in the U.S. Senate in 1874?  Readers travel with Miles and pick up gems of history where they happened along the journey.
Blanche K. Bruce Mississippi Senator, 1874-1880
In this book the reader experiences the difficulties of the actual horseback ride across motorized America.  In spite of extensive planning Miles encounters problems he can't anticipate like horse anxiety,  along with the exuberance of meeting welcoming strangers in every place.  Readers learn along with Miles about various famous African-Americans, who were firsts in fields that don't make the history books, such as horse jockeys or cowboys.  Rather than being a chronological history, this is a geographical history.  Every locale has its heroes and heroines, and they fit into various historical time frames.  The focus of this book is on African-American heroes from each stop along the way, so there might be a Civil War hero, and a country singer in the same location.
In truth children learn history, just as they learn their first language, from those closest to them. They learn about their own ethnicity from their parents and grandparents, and blend it in with their growing life experiences.  The stories of the folks in their home towns become part of their own history.  Then they learn how those stories fit into the broader scope of history.  Somewhere along the way, they begin to pick up an internal timeline.  In this book the reader becomes like a child growing up in each site where Miles stops, and learns a bit about each place, whetting their appetite to follow-up and research more about specific people or events later.
Winkler's mini-biography easily meets the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts, since students will be required to read greater percentages of non-fiction texts.  This is a book that will interest students, particularly ones who like horses and cowboys.  Teachers are often looking for books that will appeal to disenfranchised students.  This book is the perfect hook for African-American males, statistically having the largest percentage of students in this category.  Miles, the rider, is the first hero, attempting this difficult trip at age 57, and overcoming obstacle after obstacle, persevering until he completes his goal.  Then meeting all the unsung African-American heroes along Mile's historic epic gives these students a sense of belonging and contributing to the history of the United States that is so essential for creating future citizens of this nation.
Miles Dean, age 57 riding across America
Miles Dean, age 57 riding across America
As an educational consultant, I think this book has implications that reach far beyond the written word, and the standards we teach.  It touches the heart, and motivates young people to emulate heroes.  It goes beyond exposing the faults of the country to forgiveness and allows students to see how people of different ethnicities contributed to the success of Miles' journey.  We don't forget our history or cover it up, but maturely go beyond its faults and take advantage of new opportunities.  We stand on the backs of heroes who paved the way for our success, and move forward in appreciation of their sacrifices to create a better world.
I featured Lisa Walker's blog, Cycling Grandma, on my personal blog, Marsha Lee Streaming Thoughts in the post, Christmas Sweater, earlier in December.  You will enjoy visiting her blog as well.  A Black Cowboy's Ride will make an excellent gift for your child's teacher, a student in your life, a history buff, or yourself. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hawaiian History: Whalers Village Museum, Maui

What do you do for a week in Maui when you've been there before?  Several times.  Even in Hawaii I can't resist a museum.  Last year we went to the Sugar Museum.  Whalers Village Museum wasn't listed on the top 10 things to do in Maui in our KBC planning calendar, but we really enjoyed this compact, top-notch museum.
Upstairs in Whaler's Village
Fishing is a… discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish. –Herbert Hoover
This next picture impressed me because of the diversity of the workers in the middle 1800s, included native Hawaiians, Negroes, Europeans, sons of wealthy Americans, and native Americans.  Whalers lived together for 3-5 years for a total income of about $50.  The conditions would appall the poorest of the poor by today's standards.  Whaling ships stored so little water that sailors usually washed their few clothes in urine.
The oldest whalers were in their late 20s.
They spent most of their time carving  scrimshaw and waiting for whales to appear.
Incredibly ornate carvings in ivory or teeth helped sailors whittle away the long evening hours.
Jaws lost his dentures.
I'm sure the sailors saw their fair share of these happy snappers.  The day after we left Maui one shark attacked a swimmer at one of the beaches we visited in southern Maui.
These guys look like they are having a whale of a good time.
Whaling, I learned, provided the world with most of its heating oil before fossil fuels were discovered in the 1800s.  The cost of heating and lighting oil in the 1800s cost 3-5 years out of around 100,000 lives of these young men.  I read a report once that stated that the beginning use of fossil fuels improved the economic conditions worldwide.  Reading about the conditions under which these young men labored helps understand why whale oil was so cost-prohibitive, even without factoring the cost of depleting the population of whales.
Whaler's Museum is upstairs under the clock tower.
If you get to Maui, take a few minutes away from shopping to sneak up to the Whalers Village Museum.  Then go downstairs and fix yourself a yogurt sundae sold by the pound.  (That's not the amount of pounds it puts on you!!!  WHEW!!)
I hope you enjoyed your brief museum tour.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: Fires of Jubilee

When siblings fight, there is always the "He started it!" accusation that is supposed to vindicate the scuffle to Mom and Dad.   Oates contends that the Southern white desperate fear and hostility of Aftican-Americans may have started with Nat Turner's slave rebellion.   Until that time, slave owners convinced themselves that the slaves didn't mind being slaves.  This rebellion set the record straight.

In this 1975 page-turner, Fires of Jubilee, Stephen Oates did more than recount the story of Nat Turner and the gruesome slave rebellion that spawned terror in the hearts of Southern whites in 1831.  After much research, and interviewing African-American residents of the area, he analyzed the situation. Learn why there was nobody powerful enough to calm the revenge storm that raged against negroes after that pivotal rebellion.
Oates set the context with his words, "...Needing to blame somebody for Nat Turner besides themselves, Southern whites ...linked the revolt to a sinister Northern abolitionist plot to destroy their cherished way of life" p. 129.  Even the governor of Virginia believed that abolitionists urged "our negroes and mulattoes, slaves and free to the indiscriminate massacre of all white people" p. 130.  That simple statement helped explain to me why the South blamed the North for starting the Civil War, and why that same war is remembered in the South as the War of Northern Aggression.

History buffs may have already read this book first published in 1975, but I recommend Stephen B. Oates', The Fires of Jubilee:  Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion to all U.S. history teachers who teach the Civil War.   You will learn so much about this one crucial event that contributed to the Civil War.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday: Valleycationers: Driving to Paso Robles Inn

You find many Central Valley residents vacationing just over the Coastal Mountains in Paso Robles as well as in the beach towns just west of there.  As you drive past the many new vineyards that surround the town into Paso Robles, you have just exited one of the most soporific road trips through the hills past Kettleman City.  Unless I'm driving, I sleep through these hills - both coming and going.
Wake up!  We're going to Paso
Wake up! We're going to Paso!  Actually this is leaving Paso, so don't be confused by where the mountains are.  I just wanted you to see how boring it is.
El Paso del Robles, passage of the Oaks, is an old western town dividing the two worlds, the desert heat of the Kettleman City hills and the Tulare Lake Basin, and the Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County beginning to the north with Cayucos, Cambria, Hearst Castle, and south to Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Arroyo Grande, ending with Nipomo before you move into Santa Barbara County.  
Paso Robles Inn, built in 1891.
Paso Robles Inn, built in 1891.
Once you get to the Paso Robles Inn, built in 1891 and rebuilt in 1942 after a devastating fire, you can begin to see the 19th century charm of Paso Robles.  Once known for its 124 degree hot springs, you might want to try this hotel which still has hot spring spas in about 1/3 of the rooms. I took this picture on April 1st, an unusually cloudy day in Paso.

The original building, thought to be indestructible, and "absolutely fireproof, had to be rebuilt after it burnt down in 1940.  The builders kept the mission style, especially evident in the front patio.

Paso Robles

The front of the Inn looks western and old.   You can see the mission-style covered front porch.  This is handy in the hot sun.  It's pleasant even in the winter. 

Behind the inn is a charming outdoor seating area overlooking the hotel grounds.  The restaurant serves plenty of delicious food, but to me the real benefit is the setting.

Beneath the beautiful fountain, they grew some of their vegetables.  I doubt that they used very many of them because the garden looked too perfect.  Maybe they had some others hidden away somewhere.

I am always fascinated by flowing water and fish and bridges.  It's the perfect place for a wedding, and someone was celebrating the day we visited.

The grounds are perfectly manicured.  
Don't they look famous with their sunglasses?
Don't they look famous with their sunglasses?
Our friends arrived, then lunch came with sweet potato fries (no wonder I'm dieting now).  We wandered around the historic area across from the Inn, and all too quickly it was time to go back home again.  With a full tummy, Vince's bride slept her way through the boring trip home.
zzzzzzzzzzzzzz  glub, glu  zzzzzzzzzzz
Another successful Valleycation.  :)

Some historic places you might want to visit in Paso Robles are listed on the City of Paso Robles website.  You might also enjoy the tours offered by some of the Paso Wineries.

Friday, July 19, 2013

History: Civil Rights Heroine, Eva Paterson

Eva Paterson was only a teenager when she debated Spiro Agnew on national television in 1970.  When she became an attorney she fought for Civil Rights for many underserved groups of people.  Though she grew up in a violent home, she became a champion for those whose rights were challenged at home or in society.  In the late 1970s she successfully sued the Oakland Police Department  for not coming to the aide of battered women.
Eva Patterson will be speaking in a panel at the CCSS Conference in Burlingame on March 9, 2013
Eva Patterson will be speaking in a panel at the CCSS Conference in Burlingame on March 9, 2013
"Prior to taking the helm of the Equal Justice Society in 2003, Paterson worked at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights for twenty-six years, thirteen of them as Executive Director. Paterson led the organization’s work providing free legal services to low-income individuals, litigating class action civil rights cases, and advocating for social justice. At the Lawyers’ Committee, she was part of a broad coalition that filed the groundbreaking anti-discrimination suit against race and gender discrimination by the San Francisco Fire Department. That lawsuit successfully desegregated the department, winning new opportunities for women and minority firefighters." 
Martin Luther King Junior had a dream.  Some people living in the United States are inhibited from following their dreams because of their immigrant status as children.  "The 'The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation ‒ pioneered by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] andSen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] ‒ that can solve this hemorrhaging injustice in our society. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service."  

Two of these students shared their stories during the panel discussion at the 2013 California Council for the Social Studies Conference.   As a student Civil Rights advocate, Paterson, came to the spotlight during a panel discussion addressing then President Spiro Agnew, and, coming full circle at the 2013 CCSS Conference, Eva participated on a panel discussion with students who shared the their own struggle for civil rights nearly 50 years later. 
Come to the Local Councils Booth in the Exhibit Hall to color a quilt square - a tribute to the Civil Rights Movement, and another quilt honoring World War 1  100 years later - for Next Year's Conference

California Council for the Social Studies attracts the best speakers for Civic Education, History, Economics and Geography, the four core subjects of history-social studies.  We look forward to our 2014 Conference, "CCSS Wants You - Dig in for the Challenge"
This conference celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the start of World War I expanding the theme to include  the use of propaganda used during all war efforts.  We received 121 proposals, and additionally look forward to many special speakers and  scholars.  In addition there will be support for implementation of the Common Core Standards and use of technology in the classroom.

It is going to be an exciting conference!  Make your plans to attend now!  We look forward to seeing you there!  :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Social Studies: Economics: Seattle, Washington: Pikes Peak Market

Framers marketks are everywhere contributing to local economics everywhere.  Visalia has one on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.  Pismo Beach had one on Wednesday night. Traveling to conferences often allows attendees the opportunity to explore new places.  National Council for the Social Studies moves their conference each year to a different part of the country allowing social studies teachers to learn geography as well as history, civics, economics and all the social studies.  Last November we traveled to my first husband's home area of Seattle, Washington.  In Seattle my friends and I ate in some top Diners and Dives restaurants, rode to the top of the Space Needle, got lost in downtown several times, and best of all, went to the Pike Place Market, a giant Farmer's Market, open every day.
Outside the market you needed an umbrella, which I had left at the top of the Space Needle the night before, but inside, the weather was perfect.  I hadn't carried my Canon in the rain, so these pictures all came from my iPhone.
Since we had just eaten lunch, the flowers attracted us at first.  Bouquets ranged from $5 - $15.  This one was $10, I think.  We wondered how they sustained themselves, but would have bought at least one bouquet if we weren't going on the plane hours later.
Honey Crisp apple grown in Washington
Free samples abounded, and these Honey Crisp apples were sweet and crunchy, just the way I like apples.  All the varieties of apples came from Washington, but other fruits and vegetables came from all over.  One item we asked about came from Delano, just south of us in Kern County, California.
Although fruits and vegetables provided the most color, while fish throwing attracted the biggest followers.  I tried to capture the fish in motion, but clicking at exactly the right time challenged me.
We saw lots of fish eyes, oozy clams, live oysters, and tasted smoked salmon jerky at $39 + a pound.
Razor clams oozing out of their shells brushed with sand.
Mary advocates for purchasing sustainable fish, and organic vegetables.
After the fish festival, Mary wanted to experience the shoe museum which meant a pay a quarter, peek through a lit window for about a minute, and have your picture taken outside the painted window display.
Robert Wadlow's size 37AA shoe
Come one. Come all. Step right up, and put your quarters in. These shoes will astound you.
You can buy anything you might need at this outdoor market, and people come from around the world to do so.  How does this compare to markets in your city or town?  Did you like it?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

A couple of years ago, as I was reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand written in 1957, I couldn't believe that I kept turning another page.     I knew someone else who had read it, and decided that if he read it, there was something to it.  You be the judge.
There are several themes running through this book. The author believed that there is value in hard work, and that profits earned represented hard work. Therefore people working hard , earning their way fulfilled the social needs of the community. Rand expressed these beliefs through conversations between the straw characters on both sides of the argument.  On one side were those who believed that hard work was important.  Opposing them were those who believed that people were poor through no fault of their own, and needed assistance from the rich, hard-working misers.  The protagonists  believed in hard work , but eventually lost their business to the evil government.  After government take-over businesses less capable and less honest folks took charge.

There were many interactions recorded between Rearden, the hero of the story, and his family members, who despised him.   For example, Rearden’s mother once came to his office unannounced to demand that he give his lazy brother, Phillip, a job, even though Phillip had no skills p. 195-196.
Rand also allowed her readers to eavesdrop on conversations between those who espoused the belief that socialism worked.  One of the strongest proponents of government-enabled socialism was Dagny Taggart's brother, James.  Together they owned the largest transcontinental railroad in the United States.  While Dagney, the book's heroine, worked tirelessly to keep the railroad lines open and the business afloat and moving forward with the times, brother James, in cahoots with government officials, told her, “Need comes first – above your profits.”  p. 494  James Taggart.  
Despicable government committee member, Lawson, commented, “It’s intelligence that caused all the troubles of humanity… Those who are big are here to serve those who aren’t. If they refuse to do their moral duty, we’ve got to force them.” p. 498  Prior to being a member of powerful committee, Amalgamated Labor of America, Eugene Lawson headed a bank that collapsed, ruining the lives of hundreds of innocent customers. (Not a high recommendation to her abilities - intimating that is how governmental positions are filled.)

The "good folks" in the book were busy working and having joyful, serial sex.  They delighted in solving their problems, waging war against the nasty socialists who wanted to deprive them of the joys that their well-earned wealth afforded them.  They always rose above all their troubles.

"What I feel for you is contempt.  But it's nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself.  I don't love you.  I've never loved anyone.  I wanted you from the first moment I saw you..." Rearden p. 238
'When he stopped she burst out laughing... "I am much more depraved than you are:  you hold it as your guilt, and I - as my pride.  I'm more proud of it than of anything I've done, more proud than of building the Line.  If I'm asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say:  I have slept with Hank Rearden.  I had earned it."  Miss Taggart pgs. 239-240.
Later Dagny dropped Hank Rearden, her second love, when she met her third and REAL love, John Galt.  Of course, Rearden knew it was coming, and had no feelings of jealousy or anger.  That's sarcasm, in case you didn't recognize it.
In spite of the fact that all the characters were as flat as the paper on which they were written, I read the entire 1069 pages of 5 point type.  My friend tells me that I like to argue.  Maybe that is why I put myself through the torture of finishing a book that seemed so poorly written to me, although it is a classic.  I argued with the characters that they weren't considering all the points of view, and that if all the hard workers were suddenly taken out of the world, that the world would not collapse, but others would rise to the occasion.  I wanted to ask the author, "In what world does every hard-working person cooperate perfectly with every other hard-working person to create John Galt's Utopia?"
I wondered if Ayn Rand could have written Atlas Shrugged any differently given the time it was published, and the fact that she was Russian.  In 1957 my dad created a bomb shelter in his basement darkroom, and at school we all had to practice lining up in the hallways crouched on the floor with our arms covering our heads in case of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union.  Could Ayn have written anything remotely socialistic in that climate?
So, this poorly written book caused  me grief, and I finished it, and thought about it for months.  I wrote about it, and talked about it with my friends. Don't be fooled into thinking, "Oh I saw the movie, so I know what the book is about."  This is one book for which the movie didn't begin to capture even its plot.  I went to the first movie, and it laid the book to rest for me.  It took any redeeming quality the book might have had, and squelched it.

This book, written in the 1950s, fit the late 1950s.  Taken out of context, it has almost been worshipped as the Bible of the Conservative Party.  From  the the enormous resurgence in the popularity of this classic novel it seems to me that party supporters have forgotten some of its other values decried in this book.  

As for its usefulness in the  Common Core classroom, I think it is way too long to be absorbed and analyzed by the general student.  An advanced student might be encouraged to read it by their English teacher, but would the English teacher understand the history of the times enough to bring that dynamic into the analysis?  A history teacher would never have time to devote this much reading to the time period unless the school had a semester class specializing on the Cold War time period.  So my advice is for teachers to read it during the summer when you really need something to do.  Stay away from the movies.  Then let's chat!  :)

So what do you  think about Ayn Rand and her book?  What do you think about her other books? Did you cheer during the first movie, or want to throw up?  Did you see the second?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday: Geography - A "Valleycation": Highway 198 to Three Rivers

My husband, Vince, and I  got up one December Sunday morning to absolutely sparkly blue skies, and crisp temperatures.  Snow maybe?  It was a perfect day for a trip to the mountains.  In the summer here the weather changes very little, but in the winter it can change from minute to minute.  Before it changed too much V, Kalev, our three year old found puppy, and I hopped into the car and headed for the hills.  My goal was to get to Sequoia National Park, and play in the snow.
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The trip up to the park was distracting.  "Pull over right here, V.  I want to snap a picture of rock outcroppings." M
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"Stop, stop, stop. right here V.  There's a great picture of a horse for Auty." - M
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"Look at that view, V.  Don't you think I should take that?  SToooooop!!!" - M
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 Both V and Kalev were VERY patient
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I do want to stop at Kaweah Lake and take a few pictures.  OK? - M
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Now that's what I'm talking about.  I can't believe that I thought this was ugly when I first moved here.  Right now it is at its lowest levels.  You can see the high-level water mark on the side of the hill.  When the rains come, and the snows melt, the lake behind Terminus Dam builds up.  If the Corps of Engineers doesn't keep it empty now, it could conceivably break the dam which became operational May18,1962.  (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah. p. 37) Before that time our valley was subject to extreme droughts most years, then huge floods every 7-10 years that bathed all the valley towns in several feet of fast-flowing, tree and rock-laden river waters.
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We pulled into the Tulare County Boat Safety Patrol Lake Kaweah Office parking lot, saw a friend of V's, and took some pictures.  The flag was flying at half-mast in honor of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
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Terminus Dam
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"No, no Puppy Girl. Mommy doesn't want to climb back UP those stairs." - M
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The shallow look of this lake can be deceptive.  During a storm on December 29, 1969 ten and a half inches of rain fellin the mountains causing the lake to rise 21 feet in just a few hours. (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah. p. 14-15)

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If the winter weather is mild, and the Pacific breezes blow in a warm winter rain on top of a mountain already packed with snow, we are in trouble.  This has occurred four times since the 1930s.  This weather pattern caused the Kaweah to flow more than 50,000 cubic feet of water per SECOND!  (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah. p. 13)

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Then we headed up the road in search of snow.  Almost immediately we came to Horse Creek Bridge.  When I was teaching, just before summer vacation one year, a young woman came to speak to our 4th graders about swimming safety.
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Like many other youngsters, when summer came, she went with her friends and took turns jumping off Horse Creek Bridge into the water below.  Of course, there's a lot more water in the summer.
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Nonetheless, the rocks are still there, buried, and it's impossible to judge the depth of the water.  She hit her head, broke her neck, and at age 19 was paralyzed for life.
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You can see the Kaweah River stream bed that feeds Lake Kaweah.  The peaks of the Sierra Nevada Range, where the Kaweah River begins are 12,000 feet high.  From that level, the Kaweah drops to valley level in a mere 38 linear miles.  By comparison, Colorado River drops 10,000 feet in 2,000 miles. (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah. p. 13)
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You can see the levels where water has been in the past.  It's sure a dry lake now.

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So far, no snow.

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We drove up to Slick Rock, a popular place to swim in the summer.
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Kalev was thankful for a chance to explore.
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Mom and Dad weren't paying much attention to her.  Good thing she had on her leash!

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During floods torrents of water could move these rocks causing temporary dams, making the flooding much worse.  
TC Drive to Kaweah Lake102Plenty of green grass. Don't look Dad! About time we get to explore something besides pavement!  This is MORE like it. OK, I'm done now, Dad. DAD! I said I'm DONE. LET"S MOVE IT!   COME ON! - K

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I could make it down this little slope, but Dad said no. If he'd just LOSE this leash! - K
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I could climb those. He's not being reasonable with this leash thing. MMMM, What's this smell? -K
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Dad seems preoccupied with this view. I don't know what the big deal is. I could just run around if he'd just unsnap my leash. - K
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Mom doesn't even care. Do you think SHE is going to climb those rocks. hahaha Last time she tried something like that she smashed her camera lens when she tripped. LOL  BUT I COULD BE CLIMBING THOSE ROCKS!  DAD, LET ME GO!  -K
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I wonder how I could get his attention? - K
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There, these did the trick! Now he's looking.  He's bending down.  He'll unsnap my leash now.  Ouch DAD! You're pulling my hair!  I don't have much, hair, and ... What are you doing?  Leave those burs in my back alone. They aren't bothering anyone! - K
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Great, now he's called Mom over. She never gives up on these things. OUUUUUCH! MOM! Why don't they just go back to their sightseeing? - K

Here's a FAQ for you about burs.  "The bur of burdock was the inspiration for Velcro."  Wikipedia
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Having them cut out wasn't so bad. Maybe Ranger Bill will let me down to run around. - K
Kalev was very grateful to Ranger Bil for cutting out her burrsl.
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Our next stop was Horse Creek Campground.  During floods torrents of water could move these rocks and trees causing temporary dams, making the flooding much worse.  
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You can see how exposed the tree roots are because of the higher level of the water in the spring and early summer.

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  That means the campground is under water, and we wouldn't be driving on this road.
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Dad, put me down. Mom's leaving us.  MOM, you forgot me!  Do you see that grass?
What's a Pac-Man? - 
Nothing beat a good game of Pac-Man.

I fell in love with this rock formation.  Anyone who enjoyed PacMan in the 70s can't help but feel an affinity to this cheerful outcrop collection!

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Can you tell how old this tree is?  Me either, the rings are too small for me to count, but it's dead now.  I could recognize the years if I had a magnifying glass.  The years 1862, 1867,1877, 1884, 1906, 1914, 1937, 1943, 1945, 1955, 1966, 1967, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1995, and 1997 would have significantly larger rings because those are the flood years.  (Tilchen, Mark.  Floods of the Kaweah. p. 15)  I bolded 1867 because it was a 100 year flood, and would probably have the largest ring.

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The blue skies suddenly turned gray, we were tired, and we never drove high enough to reach snow.  We decided to go back home and wait for the snow to come down to us.  It was a relatively quick trip.  It was a great date.  People come from all over the world to visit the Sequoia National Park, home of the biggest trees in the world.  We didn't make it up that far today.
So if you come visit us, we'll make the entire trip to the Sequoias without all the distractions because you will have seen them already.  Or maybe you'd like the distractions, too.
What do you think?  With or without distractions?
BTW, my proof reader suggested that burs is burrs.  Actually both is correct.  I looked it up - on the internet, of course!