All Shook Up

Living on, near and between numerous fault lines in Southern California I got to experience lots of earthquakes. Some of them were barely noticeable. I’d awaken from sleep, wonder why, roll over and sleep again. When I moved out of the city, into the mountains east of San Diego, the experiences were even better.

Some earthquakes don’t do a lot of shaking, but they boom like thunder coming from inside the earth. Others give the world a quick shake as you might shake out a rug, letting dust and dog hair fly. Others make the world rattle, knocking things from shelves and doing damage.

My first earthquake was in 1959. I was in Montana, staying at my grandmother’s, and my Aunt Jo, Uncle Hank, and Aunt Martha were camping at Yellowstone. I wrote about it soon after I began my blog on WordPress. If you want to read the story, you can find it here and here.

Newspaper from the day… 1959

The best was on Easter Sunday, 2010. My friend and I were hiking along Pine Creek which runs along a fault line between the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains. It was a beautiful hike and we had a good time. On our way back, we went through a gate designed to allow horses with riders through and keep cattle in. We kept walking. I heard the gate rattle some twenty feet behind us and I turned. The earth was moving toward us in a wave. We stood still as the earth rose under our feet, settled back in place and continued its rolling motion forward. The trees moved like spectators at a baseball game doing “The Wave.”

When I got home, I looked it up on the USGS site and found it had been a very strong earthquake, 7.2.

We were in the little black circle on the map above. To learn more about this earthquake, you can go here.

Because it was Easter, and businesses in Mexicali, BC, were mostly closed, there was little damage and no real injuries.

I kind of miss them. As long as no one is hurt, they are just fun and very interesting. But I was also in California when the big earthquake happened in Oakland in 1989. It was not even as strong as the Easter earthquake, a mere 6.9, but it was a different type of earthquake, more the shake the stuff out of your rug type. It was classified as “Violent.” It crumpled a bridge.

Collapsed bridge from the Loma Prieta Earthquake

My stepson Ben, who lived in the Bay Area at the time, came down to visit. He was about 10 or so. Both of us had developed a fear of bridges and whenever we had to go under one (on foot) we ran. 🙂

(Featured photo: Cody O’Dog and I on the Pine Creek Trail that VERY Easter Sunday!)

I Live through a Big Earthquake, Part One

“Mrs. Beall? Mrs. Beall?”

A man stood at the back door with a flashlight.

“Mr. Faye. What is it?”

“An earthquake. You probably felt it.”

“My Lord! That’s what that was!” The old woman wrapped her arm more tightly around the little boy beside her. “I’m sorry, Kirk. I shouldn’t have swatted you like that.”

The little boy was too sleepy to care. He stood with his thumb in his mouth looking up at Mr. Faye.


“Hush now. Mr. Faye is talking to me.”

“We know your kids are up at The Park. Do you know where?”

“Not rightly, no.”

“Do you think they were — are — camping at Hebgen Lake?”

“No, not usually. They like Fishing Bridge.”


The old woman now clung to the little boy as if he were a life preserver in a tossing sea.


“What happened, Mr. Faye?”

“The earthquake was centered in Yellowstone. They don’t yet know much about it, only where it hit.”

“My Lord,” she said.

“Do you want me to stay here with you, Mrs. Beall? Until you hear from the kids?”

The old woman held the little boy even closer.

“I’ll be fine, Mr. Faye. Thank you kindly for coming to tell me.”

“Call me when you hear from them?”

“I will, sir, I will.”

“All right, Mrs. Beall.”

Mr. Faye walked back out into the August night.