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In other parts of the word, natural disasters take shape as tornadoes or hurricanes, floods or drought, earthquakes and other natural phenomenon. Here in the inland western part of this country, we worry about fire. Last year, in September, central Washington was especially hard hit. For most of the month smoke blanketed the valleys while in the mountains trees burned and wildlife tried to survive. Historically, fire was common in these forests and in many cases not nearly as destructive as it has become. This is due to generations of fire suppression. To those unfamiliar with this, it may seem counter intuitive. Now forest managers try to use controlled burns to prevent massive wildfires. By burning underbrush, the progress of a future fire will be slowed and less destructive.

Many of last year’s fires were caused by lightning. Several of them between Wenatchee and Ellensburg burned together and consumed over 100,000 acres. Ken and I used to spend time in that area and we got a chance to explore it a bit last Sunday.


This area did not burn too hot. Some trees will survive


Nothing survived here. Not a bit of green to be seen anywhere. It burned very hot.




But in that blackened landscape, the magical morel mushroom grows.


And in a draw, a small creek emerges from the ground


This area will one day be a gorgeous meadow, home to lots of animals and wildflowers.


We saw elk tracks through here


Rainier beer. An original regional brewery.




Another tiny creek brings green to the burned forest


And then, just across the draw are living trees.


I found these grave markers. Who were the Sandhop’s and why were they buried up in the mountains?



This old picnic table might date back to the CCC era early in the last century


Ken and Luna rest before we make the long trek back home.


Our basket of morels – enough for a couple of meals.



  1. Lucky you – those morels look fabulous. Those grave stones are very bizarre – do you think they were “buried” by all the underbrush until the fire?

    • I have no idea about those grave markers. To my untrained eye, they appeared to have been moved.

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