Today was an exciting day. The rangers gave us the go ahead to take 24 over to 21, this morning, and over to Stanley after we stopped at the ranger station in Lowman to check conditions. We passed some incredibly beautiful country on our way here.
There's a fire at Cascade, which isn't that far from McCall. We could see the helicopters dropping the bright red fire retardant on the flames, and the planes flying in and out--of course this was from a distance since we were on route 55 and there were ranches between us and the mountains. Fascinating stuff, though. We noticed that there was a lot of noise from the activity taking place over at the jumper camp last night. Many planes and helicopters taking off and landing so we're surmising by the amount of activity at the Cascade fire, that's what it was all about. We hope it doesn't reach the valley as there are structures and homes in the area.
We wanted to heed the ranger's advice and get over to Stanley quickly so we didn't make too many stops to take pictures. It's a shame because we don't think we'll be able to backtrack with the fires. The ranger said if we only get wind, it means big trouble as there are several fires in the area. However, they are holding out hope that they will get storms with rain. It's raining here, now--not hard, but some. Nancy grabbed something to eat--she had a headache either from not eating or altitude and she was talking to a man who had just come up from Sun Valley, in his truck. and he said the wind is really blowing down there. So, I guess we were lucky to get to Stanley and to stay here. We could only get two nights in this spot, but they will let us move to another spot if we want to stay longer. I'm thinking since Nancy has cell service, we will. We won't have wifi where they'll put us, but that's okay, Nancy's Verizon Broadband should work since we have cell. People are very friendly. Nancy had dinner with a young woman who works for the forestry department. She was alone at a table and they started to talk and before she knew it, she and Casey were friends. She's going to come see us if we stay for a few days. I can't wait to meet her.
The owner backed the trailer in for us, and then we met a nice young couple. They have a giant Schnauzer named Frazier. He and I got along famously. The young man helped Nancy unhitch. Oh, no, this thing says having trouble saving. We're skipping around a bit, but bear with us because it takes forever to upload pictures.
The white water that we followed was rougher than any white water we've ever seen. We wanted to get a picture so badly, but we kept going. Nancy surmises that because of other recent fires, there's nothing to hold back the water. Could that be the case, Mary? If you're reading, please let us know how you made out with your hip. There was evidence of fire everywhere coming past Lowman. The water was running so fast that it was almost splashing up on the road at some points. The Payette River was like one solid rapid for about 20 miles. There was no way anyone could raft on it. We did stop at one pull off--this water is a mild stream compared to what we had been driving along, and it's the first time we saw a raft. Nancy wanted to walk me so she snapped a few while we were out. Darn, I wish we could go back in just the truck.
We went through some very rugged country. The smoke from the fires was everywhere. I guess because Nancy had only been here in the spring or early summer, she and Rich didn't run into fires. Fortunately, except for the Cascade fire, I think they've been successful in keeping them relatively small. You can see the smoke in this picture.
The ranger, on the phone this morning, said we needed to get over to Stanley because big winds are expected; then they don't know where the fire will go. He also said there was another fire between where we were and Stanley, but the road hadn't closed yet, but it was just a matter of time. We came to the road closure and had to wait a half hour for a pilot car to take us through. I think we and a couple of cars behind us were the last ones through. There was one young woman at the ranger station who was near tears; she was so scared.
A lot of the ground was smoldering along the way. On TV last night, they said that they were trying to keep some of the fire crews on site to make sure that the hot spots didn't flare up. I'm not sure which fire that was.
We could see the smoke from the fire for a long distance, but when we rounded this bend, it was a new, smaller fire.
This fire jumper was actually walking toward the fire you see above.
These jumpers were preventing fire by cutting down brush.
As we followed the pilot car, we passed a lot of equipment going toward the fires. There's an air strip just east of Stanley, We're pretty sure we remember it. Nancy bets they're getting supplies from there. We saw one of the forestry planes go overhead right about here.
This is approaching Stanley. It's right about where Stanley Lake is. Nancy said she's going to take me swimming there and at Redfish.
These pictures are taken from the campground. If it wasn't raining, Nancy would go out and take more.
There's a storm moving in. We were walking and could here the thunder. As long as it rains, it may help to keep this fire from flaring up.
There's rugged country all around.
It stopped raining so we took a little walk. We met Frazier, again, and his humans. The young woman's name is Kellie and she's blonde just like our Kellie. We met several more people. Oddly enough, in a few hours time we've met more friendly people, here, than any where else in the country. Nancy actually heard about this campground from a fella named Huck who lives and works here. He works in the gas station in town in the afternoon. He came out to help Nancy at the pump, and he told her to go stay here. So, she said, "Okay." Well, he said a couple streets down the block. We didn't see it so back we went, and Huck drew us a map. More like a couple of miles. What a pleasant guy. Well, back to our walk. Of course, Nancy brought the camera and had to take the same pictures because they were at sunset and a storm is coming in. The colors are incredible, I have to admit.
It's funny. I swear, every time Nancy takes a picture, she says, "Darn, I wish I had Michael's camera."
They must store some RVs for hunters or locals. These were way back in a corner. No one around. I swear, the place was gold and red.
Nancy said she could have pulled this one off with Michael's camera. Hmmm...in her dreams.
Odd, how the colors change. It felt like we were looking at a painting.
The wind was starting to blow and I wanted to go home, but oh, no, she had to keep taking picture after picture. That's a storm moving in from the left. It was darker than the picture shows.
Whoa...I wasn't liking this. Let's get home! "Okay, okay, just a few more."
Okay, okay, it's pretty, but c'mon!
At last. See ya tomorrow!
The closet held through all the bumping. YES!