Sunday, July 30, 2006


I spent two and a half weeks camped with a friend at a trailhead near the Marble Mountain Wilderness. For awhile I averaged a trail ride every other day and gave the dogs some exercise, then spent a day around camp where I photographed and shot video footage of the deer that hung around the horse corrals. The weather was generally hot and humid. That is until the thunder storms rolled in.

The first storm arrived late in an afternoon, and was wild and western with wind, rain, thunder and lightning. The following day was a repeat except for the high wind. I learned from a Forest Service packer, via the Forest Service radio, that 21 lightning caused fires had been reported.

Fortunately none of the fires were close enough to present any danger where we were, so we decided to stay put for awhile and see what developed. The area became quite smokey from fires on the other side of the mountains, but the fires themselves were a long way away from us. After two days of sitting in camp we decided to pull up stakes and head for home.

The little valley where I live is now polluted with smoke from several fires, most of which are still uncontained. The worst fires seem to be near the small towns of Happy Camp and Orleans, on the opposite side of the Marble Mountains from where I sit, and near McCloud and the Pit River Country. Fire crews have been blessed with cooler temperatures the last two days, but breezy conditions continue to fan the flames. Rain is sorely needed, but according to the forecast there is none in sight. It looks like it is going to be a long dry summer.

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