Living simply in the wild

Posts tagged “lake chelan

“Fireworks”: 25 mile creek fire

This post is less about fireworks and more about the actual ‘fireworks’ from the 25 mile creek fire 2013

Hope you all are having a great weekend! It’s sunny and 90 here with a full park.

For those of you following us on facebook you’ve seen that there was a brush fire right across the lake from 25 Mile Creek, the other park Ranger patrols. It is on the opposite side of the lake where we live and that side of the lake where it is burning has very few homes. So not to say it is a good thing, but better to be burning where it’s burning then other places. The last report we’ve received is that over 1500 acres have burned and the fire it 10% contained. They have a crew of 300+ fire fighters working the fire along with multiple helicopters to contain it and try to keep it from reaching the small town of Manson.

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We drove to 25 Mile Creek campground last night to take a look and there are still spots of live fire but mostly it’s all charred brush. It looks as if the fire crested the hills and is now burning mostly beyond the hills we can see.

We first saw the smoke while we were stranded out on the lake in a small catamaran and by the time we reached shore the smoke was engulfing the whole north shore. It’s been a dramatic and amazing sight to see. We are very thankful that it was on the north shore and that no structures have been claimed in this fire so far.

Here are a few pictures we took.

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First saw the smoke while we were on the water, it just kept growing and growing

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Taken from the Docks at Lake Chelan State Park 7/4

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Smoke filled North Shore

 

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Sitting on the beach watching the ‘live fireworks’ while waiting for the 4th of July fireworks to start

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Smoke Filled Sky 7/5

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Still green areas going up-lake, charred earth heading down lake. Flames still spotty in areas 7/5

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7/5/2013

 

These brush fires can be so unpredictable with high winds coming off the mountains and the dry conditions. Please use caution when camping and follow all campfire rules. You would not want to be the one responsible for this.

Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to check out the other pages here:

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Never Land

Remember when life was simpler? Fairies were hiding under trees, Trolls lived under bridges, moms kisses could make any wound heal, trees seemed taller, days were longer, the wind blew sweeter. The smell of fresh cut grass takes you back to those sweet memories of summers spent outdoors. Memories of mom letting you lick the beaters from the big bowl of cookie dough. Too often we get so wrapped up with day to day grind that we miss these moments we could still be having, even as adults.

Like having jelly smeared from ear to ear from your PB&J that was cut in a perfect triangle…or…

Sloppy puppy dog kisses

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The shock of jumping into an ice cold pool

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The fear and joy of learning to ride a bike for the first time

 

Going down the same slide countless times, and each time being just as fun as the first

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Fearlessness

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Invincibility

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Ability to morph into Luke Skywalker when opportunity presents itself

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The wind hitting your face as you speed down a hill for the first time on 2 wheels

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Seeing life one day at a time

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Endless Energy

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Laughing till your sides ached

 

Chucking a snowball into the air with the cold sting lingering on your hand

Dirty hands didn’t matter

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Dad had superpowers

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And a little body paint could turn you into the fiercest warrior

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We all tried to grow up so quickly and we look back and wish we had stayed kids longer. But who is to tell us that we can’t be little kids again. Grab your swords or your TuTu, throw on some body paint or a tiara and slip back into the carelessness of being a child…even if it’s just for a minute. I promise i won’t tell.

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Those Darn Marmots

Perhaps you’ve seen me post about Yellow Bellied Marmots before. These little critters are EVERYWHERE. I’m actually quite certain that they are related to the Gremlins and they multiply whenever they get wet. This is ideal for them as they live in the rocks by the waters edge. They are some noisy little things too. They let off this shril, high pitch SQUEAK. You’ll hear squeaks deep beneath the rocks, underneath picnic tables, in the brush, on top of hillsides, underneath your vehicle. These little varmints they are. But we still feel like we hit the lottery whenever we see one. Which is lucky for us because all you have to do is step outside and your bound to see a handful.

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Now that the park is getting busier and the guests are so generously feeding all the animals. Which by the way is an $87 fine. They are getting more brave and will pretty much flock to whomever is holding the bag of bread, the hot dogs, or even a candy wrapper.

We are starting to see the effects of humans feeding animals, and it’s pretty obvious why they don’t want you to feed them. The ducks and marmots and squirrels all flood the campsites expecting each and every person to fill their little bellies. This results in a lot of shooing away by most people who don’t wish bird and marmot droppings all over their claimed camping space for the weekend. Be it with a beach towel, a fire poker, or a rock.

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Once we saw a man with his pickup truck down by the dock. Not an unusual sight, normally, except the man didn’t own a boat. Yet he continued down the boat launch with his truck, driving it into the water. Turns out there was a Marmot up beneath his pickup truck and he was simply trying to drown the critter out by flooding the truck. Sounds pretty logical. I’m pretty sure the story didn’t end too well…for this mans truck.

So Please don’t feed the animals. They may love getting food from you, but not everyone loves giving their food to them and they will chase them away by any means. Plus $87 is a lot of jack!

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Now i know you’ve seen posts about us feeding the animals so doesn’t that make us hypocrites? Or is it just feeding the animals in our very own yard? Should we be fined for having bird feeders in our front yard? Who knows. But I do know that since the park has been busy we’ve not seen Mr. & Mrs. Brokebeak for quite some time. Perhaps our healthy snacks we’ve given them aren’t as good as the stale bread they get around the campsites. I don’t have the answers. But i do have some new pets.

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Secret Hide-a-way

If you missed Fridays post you and check it out HERE, it was a fun time-lapse video of part of our day.

It seems like every time David has a day off we try to go far away and hide. We love the park and everything in it, but when you live where you work you NEED to get away.

The park beach is a great place to go. The water is ice-cold, the view is awesome, but it’s incredibly crowded. We wanted to let Trouper off the leash to run as well and we certainly can’t do that inside the park! So we took a little hike, went off roading a bit and had to fight our way through some thick brush, and down a sleep slope to get to an area the boys have dubbed ‘Secret Sands’.

I’m not sure how long it will be there as the water in the lake is still rising, but it was so nice. A few boats passed us, one duck came swimming along, and a handful of butterflies. But other than that there wasn’t a soul around! Just the way we like it.

So if you come to visit and our little beach is still above water, we will take you there. But you can’t be opposed to a few scrapes from the thorny bushes, a rattle snake or two, and some deer poo. So if you’re up for the hike we may just let you in on our secret spot.

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Video

Day At The Beach

Spending the week in a busy park we like to escape on David’s day off. So after hiking through some thick sage brush and sliding down a small cliff, we reached our ‘Secret Sand’ and spent most of the day soaking up the sun!


Back in the BackWoods

Camping in the US Forest Service area is a whole different ball game then going into some nice laid out, running water, real toilets, garbage service, populated campgrounds.

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We armed ourselves with a tent, two sleeping bags, a rifle, and a couple cans of spam.

We should’ve known what we were getting into when ducked off the paved road and continued forward down the road marked “Primitive Road: No warning Signs”. Only 16 miles to our planned destination site, this shouldn’t take too long…

This road is not for the faint of heart. On one side: a sharp drop-off with remnants of burnt trees from past forest fires to break your fall. On the other side: sheer rock cliffs.

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There’s nowhere to turn around even if you wanted to, and meeting another car head on would result in some pretty precise reverse maneuvers. The narrow road is unpaved and lined with fallen rocks and burnt trunks. The smell of regurgitated dog food fills the inside of the truck cab due to the bumpy ride and elevation change. One and a half hours later, and a few stops to move the obstacles out of our way we reached as far as we could go.

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We were stopped one mile short by a snow-covered road. Apparently 6,300 feet was as far as we were getting. Bummed we couldn’t continue any further we stopped for a brisk snowball fight and an amazing few of North Lake. Stehikin seems even more appealing now that we’ve glanced even further up lake.

 

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Luckily the road widened a bit and after a 7 point turn around, and we were headed the opposite direction again. Winding down through the fire destroyed forest.

We pulled in at 4,300 feet and a brisk 52 degree Fahrenheit and set up camp with an excellent view of the Lake.

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With the tent up and a fire started we boiled some water to sit down for a cup of noodles. Sure out here you could have your traditional hot dog and hamburger campground feast, with the baked beans, and potato salad. If you want to share with the bears while you’re snoring away safe inside your nylon tent.

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The sun started to set and the wind kicked up. Sure a nice brisk breeze is welcomed while you sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows. But there was nothing nice or brisk about it. It was the bone chilling, blow anything that isn’t buckled down type of wind. Tarps were rigged up to block some wind just in time for the wind to switch directions and come in from the other side. After moving the tent three times, and figuring out we should use the truck as our wind shield since it was much easier to move with the indecisive wind situation we had going on.

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Tummies warmed, dirty faces wiped, book read and the fire dying down and we headed off to sleep for the night.

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Sleep is a relative term when you know what lurks around in the darkness. The boys slipped  into a single sleeping bag and after a few moments of giggles they were oblivious to everything around them.

Ranger and i slipped a little more snugly into our other single sleeping bag and closed our eyes.

It had been so peaceful.

No other people around for miles. No cars buzzing by. It was so quiet. But once night hits the noises come out. The wind howls and roars like the crashing of ocean waves. The trees creak and wine as they bend with each blow of the wind. The tent flaps whip up and down acting as if they will fly away at any moment. And with every slight brushing noise you jerk awake waiting for a’roar’ to follow. Sleep is a relative term.

Morning comes early in nature. The wind dies down. The little squirrels think it’s their duty to sing as the sun rises. Sitting on the tree. Right outside the tent. Cute little constant squeaks. Never ending squeaks. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.

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They aren’t so cute at 5:30am.

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But whether your ready or not the sun rises.

A simple “How did you sleep last night?”. Is followed with “Awful. I was too close to you. I couldn’t get away.”

The feeling was mutual as we both laughed. *Must buy at least one additional sleeping bag.

Breakfast and a hike came after coffee. Up there it’s chilly till afternoon hits so find ways to keep moving. And when a little boy comes to you saying “mom i have to poop” you know it’s going to be an interesting next few moments.

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Fried Spam and peanut butter were on the menu. Not because it’s what we choose to have, but it’s all we had. If you think it sounds repulsive you are not alone. But when you’re alone, in a forest everything seems to taste a whole lot better.

We didn’t do too bad for our first real backwoods camping trip. We were about half prepared i guess you could say. It was worth it though. We didn’t see a human soul the entire time we were out there and that is what we were wanting.

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It was a nice break. We were free.

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As we rolled into the Park friday night cars were lined up to camp, fires were blazing, people were screaming, and we longed to be back in the wind changing, bear infested mountain we had just left.

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The Stetson

The Ranger Hat. The Brush-Cutter. The Lily Pad. The Smokey The Bear. The Boss of the Plains.

The Stetson.

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This simple hat comes with many names, but no matter how many nicknames this hat is plagued by there is one thing for certain; it has twice as many symbols attached to it.

 

This hat is worn by a very diverse and unusual group of men and women. They have committed their life to protecting our wilderness and natural resources. They wear their hat with great pride for it is an honor to suit up in the Park Service colors and Iconic hat each day.

 

This hat is much more than a head ornament. It is much more than protection from the beating sun, whipping wind, torrential rainfall. It does more than protect them from falling objects, or even thrown objects. It’s more than a half-gallon bucket to carry water in. It’s more than a fan to wave at campfires, or an object to shoo flies and swat mosquitoes with. It’s more than just a pillow to cushion their head in the backcountry.

 

This hat is honor. It is integrity to uphold the laws they enforce. It’s stewardship when you know you’ve helped light a spark in someone to become an advocate for nature. It’s a privilege when you see the parks start to blossom with life. It’s compassion to the hiker who thought he could jump over the rattle snake to avoid its bite. It’s patience when you’ve given the same directions to the 14th car of tourist in one shift. It’s educating the young mother whose son is attempting to crush the wildlife with boulders. It’s empathy to the families who live to tell a rangers story after he’s given his life for this service.

When a ranger puts on his Stetson he is transformed. He walks taller, and it’s not just because the hat is almost half a foot tall. His head is held higher. His walk is more confident. His smile is brighter. His eyes more gleaming. His voice is more commanding. This transformation takes place within the man wearing the Stetson, not the from the Stetson alone.

A ranger receives a number of Stetsons in his career. They become weathered, and worn. Beaten and battered. A true sign of an american hero. But a Rangers first Stetson will always hold a special meaning and will no doubt be hung upon a wall as a reminder of his journey. A reminder of the first days, the excitement, the newness of it all. And no doubt it will be a reminder of all the experiences that have shaped that Ranger into who he is today.

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Have yourself a safe memorial day friends and remember those who have and are currently serving this beautiful place.