Reports from the Knowledge Labs about our recent findings, research topics, and interviews with lifestyle leaders who are creating their own futures.

How to stimulate your own powers of foresight. Consider the following thought provokers. Ask yourself, in these categories what are the brand new trends and forces? Which are the ones growing in importance? Which current forces are loosing their steam? Which have peaked or are reversing themselves? Which are the "wildcards" about to disrupt us in the future? POLITICAL AND TECHNICAL thought for food: Electronics, Materials, Energy, Fossil, Nuclear, Alternative, Other, Manufacturing (techniques), Agriculture, Machinery and Equipment, Distribution, Transportation (Urban, Mass, Personal, Surface, Sea, Subsurface, Space), Communication (Printed, Spoken, Interactive, Media), Computers (Information, Knowledge, Storage & Retrieval, Design, Network Resources), Post-Cold War, Third World, Conflict (Local, Regional, Global), Arms Limitation, Undeclared Wars, Terrorism, Nuclear Proliferation, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Governments (More/Less Power and Larger or Smaller Scale), Taxes, Isms: Nationalism, Regionalism, Protectionism, Populism, Cartels, Multinational Corporations, Balance of Trade, Third Party Payments, Regulations (OSHA, etc.) Environmental Impact, U.S. Prestige Abroad. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC Food for thought: Labor Movements, Unemployment / Employment Cycles, Recession, Employment Patterns, Work Hours / Schedules, Fringe Benefits, Management Approaches, Accounting Policies, Productivity, Energy Costs, Balance of Payments, Inflation, Taxes, Rates of Real Growth, Distribution of Wealth, Capital Availability and Costs, Reliability of Forecasts, Raw Materials, Availability and Costs, Global versus National Economy, Market versus Planned Economies, Generations: Y, X, Boomers, Elderly, Urban vs. Rural Lifestyles, Affluent vs. Poor, Neighborhoods and Communities, Planned or Organic Growth. Got Knowledge?

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The Journal of 2020 Foresight
Monday, November 29, 2004  

With the Right Pass, All the West is a Stage

Chapter Three: The Outpost

By Steve Howard, CKO
The Knowledge Labs

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Basecamp
Chapter Two: The Ridge
Chapter Three: The Outpost
Chapter Four: The Tribal Territories

“The romance of the (Lewis and Clark) expedition has enduring appeal. The fact that this party of explorers ventured through some 8,000 miles of country, much of it unknown to Euro-Americans, with the loss of one man to natural causes and only one fight with Indians is incredible.“

James J. Holmberg

LONG VALLEY CALDERA, California. Not again. First we backtracked from Lake Tahoe to Placerville and then almost due south to Madera County - Oakhurst, North Fork and Bass Lake - for what? To pick up Pathfinder. Over breakfast in Yosemite at The Ahwahnee the waiter tipped us off that we'd better get used to another change in our plans “if you're heading over Tioga Pass for Mammoth Lakes.”

Lost Explorer: Look at this, he's right.

Journal of 2020 Foresight: What do you mean?

Pathfinder: A freak snowstorm closed the road through Tioga Pass -- Highway 120 through Yosemite and the Glacier Point road are closed until further notice.

Lone Eagle: You know, the last thing on my mind when we left Cabo, in Mexico, was chains. Check this out. “Carry tire chains in your car and be prepared to use them (even if you have four-wheel drive): chains may become mandatory at any time.”

J2020F: So where does that put us? Another delay. Another detour. We'll never complete our 3000-mile trip in two weeks. And where are we going to meet Trailblazer now? How are we going to find him?

Pathfinder: C'mon now. Let's put this into perspective. We're so spoiled. Here we're traveling in a vehicle the size of a stagecoach with all the comforts of home over the same terrain that took years and months a couple of generations ago.

Explorer: Talking about stagecoaches and the comforts of home, Mark Twain described his overland experience in a great swinging and swaying stage with three fellow passengers --

“About all the rest of the coach was full of mailbags -- for we had three days' delayed mails with us...." "We had twenty-seven hundred pounds of it aboard, the driver said -- ' a little for Brigham, and Carson, and 'Frisco, but the heft of it for the Injuns..." "... (W)e would unload the most of our mail matter somewhere on the plains and leave it to the Indians, or whosoever wanted it."

And how all that changed in one short decade, from a butt-busting battle of endurance for the buffest - a challenge for the most fit passenger to endure over a rock-riddled 1900-mile terrain -- to a smooth,rolling luxury hotel a decade later --

“Now that was stagecoaching on the great overland, ten or twelve years ago, when perhaps not more than ten men in America, all told, expected to live to see a railroad follow that route to the Pacific. But the railroad is there now, and ... I can scarcely comprehend the new state of things…”

Eagle: If I were a smart-ass, I'd say if someone like Twain could scarcely comprehend things, consider what the coming of the Iron Horse in the 1860s and 1870s must have been like for the native Americans. It accelerated the beginning of the end of their centuries-old way of life.

J2020F: You are both right, it's just that for me locating Trailblazer seems infinitely more complicated for three out-of-towners traveling in an already crowded “stagecoach-railroad-SUV.” He's supposed to be on the mountain and he identified a place called Eagle Lodge as our rendezvous point.

Explorer: So, all we have to do is to go back to the drawing board to figure out which detour we should take.

Pathfinder: I say we take the opposite way out of Yosemite, on route 120 west to the 49 north and cut over east on 108 near Jamestown and Sonoro, past Twain Harte and travel through Tuolumne County.

Explorer: I like it. It drops us off on to 395 north of Mono Lake, where Mark Twain wondered in search of riches.

Eagle: Looks like the journey will be more scenic, anyway, traveling through Sonora Pass.

Pathfinder: Count me in. Taking these back roads give you a better feeling of what it must have been like in the 1800s. In fact, look at this 1895 map of the area. As you scroll down, you notice this broad three-county region: Madera, Douglas & Mono. There you find Esmeralda, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite & Mammoth Mountain recreational areas - the backdrop to Mark Twain's overland journey and his mining adventures.

J2020F: It's certainly easier to imagine how the early explorers felt taking this detour. The hardships they endured, and the sense of wonder and awe that must have filled them when they first set eyes on this region.

Explorer: As and we already noted, the most famous early explorers were Jedediah Smith in the first wave (1811-1820s) and John Freemont with Kit Carson in the second wave (1840s - 1850s). Later, Mark Twain journeyed by overland stage in 1861 along those same trails blazed in the first half of the 1800s. He wrote about his five years of adventures between 1861 and 1866. By 1870, however, the mining heydays imploded into a major 1870s economic depression.

Pathfinder: Freemont, when he ran for President, didn't mind getting credit for discovering the South Pass - which opened the way for the great overland manifest destiny migration in mid-1800s. However, in 1856 Ramsay Crooks, a member of Wilson Hunt's expedition, wrote a letter to set history straight:

“In 1811, the overland party of Mr. Astor's expedition, under the command of Mr. Wilson P. Hunt, of Trenton, New Jersey, although numbering sixty well armed men, found the Indians so very troublesome in the country of the Yellowstone River, that the party of seven persons who left Astoria toward the end of June, 1812, considering it dangerous to pass again by the route of 1811, turned toward the southeast as soon as they had crossed the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, and, after several days' journey, came through the celebrated 'South Pass' in the month of November, 1812. Pursuing from thence an easterly course, they fell upon the River Platte of the Missouri, where they passed the winter and reached St. Louis in April, 1813.”

Explorer: Not long after the Detroit paper published Crooks' letter, Mark Twain bumped and banged his way from St. Josephs to Carson City. In “Roughing It,” he described how he felt after his stagecoach climbed four days and nights to reach the summit of the Rocky Mountains in the South Pass.

“The conductor said that one of those streams which we were looking at, was just starting on a journey westward to the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean, through hundreds and even thousands of miles of desert solitudes. He said that the other was just leaving its home among the snow-peaks on a similar journey eastward --and we knew that long after we should have forgotten the simple rivulet it would still be plodding its patient way down the mountain sides, and canyon-beds, and between the banks of the Yellowstone; and by and by would join the broad Missouri and flow through unknown plains and deserts and unvisited wildernesses; and add a long and troubled pilgrimage among snags and wrecks and sandbars; and enter the Mississippi, touch the wharves of St. Louis…”

J2020F: We might face our own harrowing passage through snow-capped peaks if we don't hurry.

Got Knowledge?
Copyright ©2002 - 2006 Aarnaes Howard Associates. All rights reserved worldwide.

6:30 AM

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