Heading south on the Kachess Ridge trail, little more than a mountain goat path in places. Narrow outsloped tread, precipitous drops to the valley. Sometimes early in the season, tufts of goat fur can be found along here. There were no logs across the trail to cut–only rocks to kick, limbs to trim, drainage ditches to clear.
Hot dry weather–noticing some of the plants are shriveling. Mountain sandwort giving up. Lewisias pulling their succulent leaves inward into a tight clump. To the south, a haze of smoke where the Taylor Bridge Fire is burning, just outside Cle Elum. This is the closest to home I’ve ever seen a big fire. 22,000 acres and growing. The wind shifted between north and southeast today, and the smoke settled as we came down the valley at the end of the work day. I can smell it now as I write with the windows open. Fire camp is a couple miles from here, and a steady stream of crew rigs, water tenders, and fire engines are heading up the road as day shift comes in.
The weather forecast is for continued hot temperatures, low relative humidity, decreasing wind. Unstable atmosphere on Friday, with dry lightning along the Cascade crest.
We’ll see if work tomorrow is on a trail or on a fire.