Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sept 20th - Fire on the Mountain!

During the night I could hear large animals walking around stepping on sticks; not a bear but at least as large as a deer. Elk I hope! Did not see any in Oregon but saw lots of tracks. In the daylight I saw lots of fresh tracks and finally around mid day saw my frost Elk!

The smell of smoke was very strong this morning and the smoke lingered like mist wisping I between the trees. Met a thru hiker who flip-flopped south through Washington. Glad to met him cause I was so tired of wiping spiders and webs off my face. He said I should have no problems with fires ahead; WRONG!!! Met Chipmunk and Toad who took time off with family and just got dropped off back in the trail.

At lunch I found Trip and we hiked together past the sign that said the Stagman Ridge trail was closed due to the Adams Fire but the PCT was open. After hiking 6-1/2 miles together we came to a meadow on the shoulder of Adams and saw, not just smoke, but flames shooting above the treetops not more than a 1/10th of a mile ahead on the ridge to the east and moving west toward the trail. The air was littered with falling ash and burned pine needles and the smoke thick. Dispute being a little worried I told myself others had just hiked through here just hours ago. After crossing the junction with the Stagman Ridge trail and fire warning; only for Stagman and not the PCT, we continued another 1/10th of a mile. It was now clear that the fire coming down from the west had reached the trail. Burning trees and bushes had reached the trail just a few feet from us. Trip and I debated the safety of moving on but as we got closer to the fire on the west side of the trail the fire we saw on the east side came up toward the trail also. The fire ahead was denser with smoke and we had no idea what was on the other side. The fire was burning on both sides and had crossed the trail.

The rush of wind being sucked up from the fire made a roaring sound. The fire was alive and moving like an animal. No choice but to hike back south the 6-1/2 miles to the road to Trout Lake. We left a note at a dirt road crossing near rt 23 for others warning on the fire and then as we got to the trailhead for rt 23 we saw a red warning sign that the trail was closed. Posted after we had hiked through earlier. After waiting a while we finally saw a car - hoping to hitch to Trout Lake. Turns out to be forest rangers and first thing they say is; "are you PaPa Smurf and Trip?". The had just posted the trail closed and drove around to the dirt road and saw our note. With a stroke of good luck they said we were obviously in distress and that they therefore could take us around the mountain to a connecting trail. I got to the Divide Trailhead, after a winding 20 mile dirt road ride, at 9pm. Trip continued with the rangers to another trail head to skip ahead and try to catch up with Cactus and Hollywood. I camped 1 mile up trail and will meet up with the PCT in about 3 miles in the morning. Only missed a small section of trail but the backtracking and side trail added another 10 miles. Glad to have the help of the rangers to speed the detour. That's the closest anyone should be to a Forest fire.

Walking into the Adams Fire

No comments:

Post a Comment