A change of plans -- Monday, 9/22/14
This is the second time we've had to change plans this summer due to wildfires and smoke. (Altho I believe tonite is the autumnal equinox.) Jimmy and I are fortunate in that our schedules are usually flexible and where we live affords us unlimited great-places-to-explore possibilities. Our original plan had been to camp up in Twin Lakes (off Hwy 395 on the Eastern slope of the Sierras), where we could kayak, hike and fish, and enjoy cool mountain air. That monstrous King wildfire, burning south of Nevada City, has charred close to 90,000 acres of forest, and blown so much smoke into the air that it was likened to the 1980 Mount St Helens blast. That's close to 140 square miles burned to a crisp!! And the durned thing is less than 20% contained....
Pyrocumulus cloud: smoke cloud.
All that smoke has to go somewhere, and we've been choking on hazardous air in Nevada County for over a week. While Twin Lakes hasn't been affected as much, the A/Q up there wasn't so good and we would've traveled many miles thru dense smoke to get there. We said, "no thanx." Don't get me wrong ... many people have it much worse than us, but this is our personal blog and how Jimmy and I are personally affected. Our eyes burn, our throats feel like sandpaper, my head hurts. Why, we don't even have campfires when we're Out and About 'cause we can't abide the smell of smoke! So? Get out of town! Can't go to the mountains? Go elsewhere!
Birds (mostly Juncos and Nuthatches) have been flying into our back deck sliding-glass-door daily. I found this Red-breasted Nuthatch flopping about on the deck after it knocked itself silly. I cradled it for several minutes, and eventually it flew (wobbly wings!) to the nearby feeder where it continued to recover. Smoke gets in their eyes?
Here are a couple of pictures I took in Tergel today (Monday 9/22) while in route to Sacramento.
Check out the comparison below:
Auburn, Monday, 9/15 -- the smoke plume billows!
Auburn, Monday, 9/22, same approximate location: A smokey blanket.
The A/Q in Sacramento was in the good range and it's fairly close to home, just down the hill (we live at 3200' and Cal-Expo where we're parked in Sacramento is at approx 30' -- literally, down the hill!) We've camped here before, but never really checked out very much of our capital city. Dunno why locals don't take advantage of the highlights in their own back yards; too easy perhaps. I grew up in Niagara Falls, New York, and the only time we visited the picturesque falls was whenever company came a-callin'. Go figure. Lots to see and do while parked at Cal-Expo. We're adjacent to the American River bike trail -- a fun place to ride -- and, by gum, I want to visit our State Capitol buildings. And whatever else might strike our fancy!