Friday, September 14, 2012

A growing fire in the mountains

On July 11, we escaped the foggy coast and drove to the oven-like interior of Northern California.  Temps went from 58 on the coast to 104 inland!  We set up camp in a beautiful, little campground (above) called Ripstein on the edge of the Trinity Alps.  A rushing river was below us and a light breeze blew through the pines.  By evening, the temps had dropped and we spent a pleasant couple of hours exploring the area.

During the night, we started to smell smoke.  We went for a hike up Canyon Creek into the wilderness and soaked up the views of jagged peaks.  Gradually, the smell of smoke grew stronger and stronger.  As we ended our hike, we found out that a wildfire had started in a campground along Highway 299 and was growing fast!  We quickly made our way back to 299 and heard conflicting reports as to whether or not the road was open.  Within a few miles, we were traveling through the fire zone.  There was one-way traffic on the highway and we could see flames just above us.  Several smoldering logs lay in the road, having rolled off the steep slope. 

Fortunately, we made it out of the blistering hot interior and back to the cool, damp coast!

Entering the Trinity Alps Wilderness!

The beautiful mountains of the Trinity Alps

Smoke and flame along the highway and just above it!

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