In which smoke gets in our eyes...and tack, and clothing, and hair...and our lungs

I haven't talked much about this season's wildfires, because they really aren't very close to us.

The nearest of the fires is about 60 miles away, in the Newhalem area.  But the smoke is here.

If I hadn't taken the picture myself today, I would think the sky is full of
clouds and rain.  But, no.

It's hot here, still, partly because the smoke traps the heat. 80 degrees in August isn't unheard of, but it's really unusual to have so much heat for so long.  Everything is very, very dry.

The grass is dry.  The evergreen trees show less stress than the deciduous trees.

The air quality isn't horrific, but Fee and I were not inclined to go zooming around with all this particulate floating at head height.  So, we explored.

It was the good kind of exploration, where I only vaguely
knew where we were most of the time

When we're training with the Suspects, we tend to stay on the main track.  The footing is good, and we all know where we're going.

 With everything so dry, however, erosion of delicate trail tread isn't really an issue.  So Fiddle and I wandered around, checking out alternate routes to our usual destinations and taking lots of pictures.

I haven't been on this trail for several years,
but I do enough riding in the area that I had
a pretty good "vague notion" of our location.

I did make a point of going up to the Monument.  I wanted to see how hazed-over the view from the top looked.

 "Apocalyptic" was one of the words I heard the hikers using.  That seemed about right.

Usually we can see Seattle from this point

Visibility so bad that you'd never know Puget Sound is right there.

Here's a blog post from October 2011 with photos taken in similar locations to the pictures above, if you want to see how different everything looks right now.

 Leaving the Monument meadow, we took an unfamiliar trail that meandered through a re-growing clearcut

The Swampland version of a corn maze:  these trees are
probably 15 years old or so.

and then through a more recent clearcut

This section was logged 2 years ago

We saw plenty of bear sign and coyote sign, but no bears or coyotes.  Lots of crows, though.  And

The deer aren't terribly shy right now

a deer munching her way down the trail.

Back at the trailhead, the weird orange light really shows up.  Here's the picture from two days ago:

This photo was taken Friday around noon

Here's the picture from today, taken at almost the same time of day, in the same location.

Cue the zombie apocalypse music, right?

I'll be glad when it rains again.  Maybe Saturday?  We can hope.


  1. Fee is looking great! Even in zombie apocalypse lighting ;)

  2. That's got to be scary, even with the distance between you and the fire. It's great that you could explore a little, though. I think my very favorite thing to do on horseback is to go just a little farther than before and check out what the trail as yet untraveled looks like. It always feels like an adventure!:)

  3. Fee is one good looking mare! I love her conformation. :D

  4. Nasty. It's coming and going here, sometimes bad enough to not ride. Salt Lake City area last weekend was AWFUL. i hope those fires get put out soon, though I'm afraid some will last a while. :(
    - The Equestrian Vagabond


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