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The Skyline Divide trailhead is at the end of the road where we were camped so that was our first hike. It goes about two miles steeply through the forest with occasional meadows before popping out on top of a meadow-covered ridge. I’m sure there are wondrous vistas to be seen at that point however it was pretty smoky and we could not see the mountains at all. The smoke was thick enough that I could smell it and I’m sure a vigorous hike in those conditions was not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I was not alone. We saw several other hikers that day. We could have gone farther on the trail to find that we could not see other vistas so decided to just stay on the ridgetop and enjoy the flowers and bugs and also Black Swifts that seemed to be migrating in big flocks. This is a hike I hope to do again on a non-smoky day.

It’s fire season and once again we are getting no breaks. There is a large fire (Crescent Mountain) burning in the upper Twisp River that is causing great concern locally. So far, it has stayed away from homes but there is no containment on it. There are fires in southern British Columbia that are also burning out of control and when the wind is right, the smoke descends on us and fills the valley. These images are from last week when the visibility was better than it is now.

Our evening skies have been especially lovely recently due to wildfire smoke coming down from Canada. It’s pretty ironic that we’d get so much beauty from such destructive forces. We are lucky to live in a place that doesn’t have too much light pollution.

Our valley has been inundated with wildfire smoke off and on for over forty days. This week is particularly bad with an inversion trapping all of the smoke and holding it down throughout the day and night with no relief. A person, or a dog I suppose, should be wearing a mask whenever she ventures out in it. Otherwise, she ought to just stay inside and be grateful for air conditioning and a tightly built house.

Dogs don’t understand this and they want/need a walk each day. Here are a few images from this morning’s walk.

Wildfires in British Columbia and a 10,000 acre fire in the Pasayten Wilderness have left much of Washington blanketed in a thick layer of smoke. Air quality in Twisp and Winthrop was the worst in the nation in recent days. People are warned to stay inside with windows and doors closed and not everyone has air conditioning. Temperatures have been in the high 90’s. It is strongly suggested that a person should wear a mask when outside and strenuous activity is being discouraged. Needless to say in our area with a strong emphasis on outdoor recreation, this is a great hardship. I ventured out with the dogs for a couple of hours yesterday and it was painful. ‘They’ say a weather system should be here in a few days, perhaps with wind and rain but most likely with lightning too, and that some of this smoke may be dispersed. It’s hard to hope for lightning but I do want a break from this thick air pollution.

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