Oregon Wildfires – the air was not good. Mid-September, 2020

Standard

September, 2020

 

Man.

2020 is just… not great, man.

It’s scary – I saw someone say that we shouldn’t think of this year as the worst wildfires in a decade… but instead, think of them as the best wildfires for the next decade.  Every year, they get a little bit worse… hopefully we can reverse it, but realistically…

Well, let’s just simplify it and say that I’ll be buying a heavier-duty respirator, instead of the small one that I’ve got now.  Maybe one of those ones with a self-contained tank, or hip-filter or something?  We’ll see.  I’ll look on the fire-fighters supply store and see what I can source this coming Winter.

For now though, the fires burn, and I stay indoors.

From the 10th to the 17th, roughly, Wilsonville stood on the world stage as having some of the worst air quality in the world – top 10 for almost every day, and literal worst for a few hours on the 10th.  My worksite was closed that whole time, though thankfully I already have a working from home setup, so it didn’t affect my ability to get things done too harshly.

Physically, it was rough – headaches, light nausea, that sort of thing… but again, thanks to already having a full fridge and a good set of facemasks, I was pretty well protected from the ash and smoke.  I just stayed home, and did my best to not refresh the air quality page and the evacuation orders page too often.

 

There’s not much else to say, really… I took a few pictures to give some visuals to it… so sit back and enjoy this quick glimpse into what living on Mars will probably look like.

I guess, since we’re having so much trouble getting a manned mission to Mars set up … we’ve decided to bring Mars here?

Sorry, that was the only viable joke I could think of for this whole thing, so I had to fit it into the blog post somewhere.

Exploring Oswald West state park – 12-Sept-2020

Standard

Saturday, 12-Sept-2020

 

Oregon is still burning.

It hasn’t let up much, and Wilsonville’s air quality has been holding pretty steady at “hazardous”, recommending that we wear at least respirators, if not full SCBA face shields.

That… makes trips pretty challenging.

 

But, you know what?  Challenging isn’t impossible.  I have the internet, which has basically any piece of information that I could ever want.  And I have a phone, which let’s me chat with people, and plan adventures.

Marcella and I decided to head to Oswald West – it’s a beach on the Oregon Coast, not too long of a drive, and it looked like the air quality would just be “bad”, instead of in the dangerous ranges.  Coastal breezes, fog, and light rain would hopefully keep the particulate count down, and make the air a bit more breathable.

 

If you’ve never seen Oregon forests through the fog – you’re missing out, and you’ll enjoy the pictures I was able to get.  It’s magical; the forests already have a primordial feel to them, and when you add in a thick fog, with just a hint of smoke, it becomes steeped in some sort of mystic haze.

It’s gorgeous.

The hike into the beach was beautiful, and over nearly before it even began.  Thankfully, it looked like we were some of the only people to come up with this trip plan, and so the trail and beach were almost empty.  There were some surfers, a few beach combers, and maybe half a dozen people walking their dogs… but thanks to the thick fog and rolling surf, it felt like the entire world was completely empty.

 

 

After coming back to the world, hunger set in.  Turns out the empty world of the beach tied into an empty stomach, which led us to the town of Cannon Beach… where we not only met some cowboys (on horses, even), but found ourselves in the Pelican Brewery, eating amazing burgers.

A good day.  A very good day.

Hiking to Duffy Lake, Mt. Jefferson wilderness – 06-Sept-2020

Standard

Sunday, 06-Sept-2020

 

Wildfire season has started.

Growing up, I was used to the four traditional seasons – in Winter we had blizzards, Spring had rain and sometimes hurricane remnants, Summer we melted, and in Autumn it was beautiful and perfect.

Out here in Oregon, we sort of have three seasons.  Rainy, Sunny, and on fire.

Right now, we’re on fire.

 

I don’t want to get into the specifics and stressors of said fires, since that’s just unpleasant and not something that I can really affect in any way, so instead I’ll talk about the hike I went on right before the fires hit.  Immediately before, in fact.  Like… very close before.  I started the hike before the fires were really bad… and by the time we got back to the trailhead, the wilderness was closed due to the fires.

The trail in question?  Duffy Lake, out in the Jefferson Wilderness.  Nothing crazy or long, or with huge elevation gain… but a lovely looking trail, and a really great way to get out into the woods.

 

I really enjoyed it, got to meet and pet some horses, and had amazing views of the lake while eating lunch.  At this point the smoke from the nearby fires was pretty minimal, and instead of cloying the smoke just sort of hung above the forest, giving this interestingly misty / ethereal haze to everything.  It was… beautiful, in a way.