Knowing/loving this unique area intimately (see two links below* for some recent pics/adventures), knowing some of the local firefighters, remembering the tragedy last year of losing those fallen 19 FFs at the Yarnell fire, and already constantly annoyed by the tourists, their "need" for campfires and cigarettes, it was driving me nuts to hear about it -- the safety of the people working the fire, the air quality for my friends nearby, the wildlife, and of course preserving the gorgeous land itself.
I finally got back into town late in the afternoon, with sight of the huge plumes of smoke filling the sky visible from miles away. See this fantastic pic taken by my local insta-bud Drtjump.... Pretty much sums up the grandeur and what it looked like rolling back in town from the south. Urghhh....
I was happy to be home and to finally sleep in my own bed, but at 0330 woke up feeling like I was going to suffocate because the air quality was so bad. In town, we were getting this weird atmospheric inverse(?) each night/morning which pushed most of the smoke/ash down the canyon to us. It had somewhat cleared up by midday, but after another night of that, I decided to just pack up the truck/bike/sup and hit the hills for a few days. Headed up to unaffected perches of the Mogollon Rim to camp, fend off some jetlag and reacquaint myself w/AZ.
Much respect to those working the fire (the work continues) and to those still trying to find the perpetrator.
Please don't smoke in AZ.
Please don't feel the need to have a campfire just bc you're sleeping outside. Wear a jacket.
Eat normal food that need not be charred.
If you must have a fire, do so responsibly.....in a "safe" area, conscious of wind/etc., have a shovel/ax, don't leave it unattended, and don't leave the area until you know (for hours!!) that's it's totally out.
It's like clearing a weapon -- check it once, twice, friggin 10 times!
Anyway, the fire is contained up to about 90-95% today and the air is clearer earlier in the days now.
A few pics always trump words....
Base camp elsewhere for a few days....
Once back home, still nursing a tender knee, I thought early the next morn would be the best time to get in a road ride assuming the air quality wouldn't be too bad . . . up the canyon to spin the legs and to see the carnage. (The road would otherwise be closed for the next month since they're doing construction at the switchbacks/top anyway....meaning less traffic too...an added perk!)
|Taken from just north of town looking up the canyon; you can barely see Midgley bridge here.|
Below...as I posted on IG: "Expecting the worse but found some of the best: still lots of green, no traffic, songbirds and ravens flew alongside, two herds of deer, a few skunks, lots of chipmunks, rested firefighters, clean air by 0830, oh and an un-achy knee. #makinglemonade #slidefire #sliderock #cycling #pleasedontsmokeinaz#pleasewearajacketnotacampfire #ijustwannaride"
- Schillingsworth's tale of our recent traverse of the top of the canyon along the rim which btw during the fire was all totally closed off and perhaps burned (definitely the Woody area);
- Half-Dirty Century - an old post of mine.