Monday, August 29, 2011

Tumwater Canyon Fire, Leavenworth, Washington

Tumwater Canyon Fire, Leavenworth, Washington.

Well, our Montana summer has totally gone to doctors appointments.  I have had a release from my doctor in August, when my blood sugar and blood pressure reading both went down.  I guess all those cigars while fly fishing were not helping matters.  Wine consumption also had to be restricted, but fortunately not eliminated.

Susie was not as fortunate and is facing a round of physical therapy and a MRI appointment for sciatica nerve problem.  Some of the pills have transformed her into "chatty Kathy".  Do you measure age, by the number of pills you take??

In the midst of all this one little spark along Highway 2 just west of Leavenworth started a small forest fire.  So I went ahead and took the assignment.  The total fire cost was just over a million dollars.  Fortunately, it was a small fire.

The Columbia Type 1 helicopter did show up for a couple of days.  After all these years the Columbia has become a part of my fire "history".  Seems like on every fire, sooner or later she will be flying dumping water on the hot spots.  Maybe when the Columbia retires from fire duty so will I.

This was a Type 3 fire.  Much smaller than most fires I end up spending time working.  But it was along Highway 2 just outside the destination town of Leavenworth.

The fire team was lead by a "different" type of Incident Commander as you can see from the briefing photo.  She always stood on a rock so everybody could see and hear her.  She gave quick, incisive briefings and then the various divisions met to complete plans for that days operations. 

As Incident Commander on a smaller fire she did take the opportunity to cover the fire line every day and she dressed the part.

The interesting part of the fire is that it was along Highway 2.  This is the main travel route between Seattle and the tourist destination town of Leavenworth.  The highway was closed for a couple of days, but the Washington State Department of Transportation insisted on opening the highway.  So for a couple of days the traveling public got a up close and personal look at a forest fire.  Burning trees, firefighters in no-mex carrying tools and fire shelters.  Fortunately, the helicopters were no longer needed by that time so the traveling public did not have the additional distraction of helicopters dipping in the Wenatchee river.

No one on the fire team could remember a previous fire where flame and public were that close to each other.  No accidents.  And on Monday, the Washington Department of Transportation put up flaggers and blocked one lane so they could continue their work on the Highway.

I guess we all perceive risk differently.  That which is new to you probably never seems as dangerous as to someone that knows.

The fire was just east of the Lake Wenatchee area.  You thought I was kidding with my post on  Lake Wenatchee and the comment about biting bugs??  Well, check out this sign from Tumwater Campground on the edge of the Tumwater fire and the gateway to Lake Wenatchee country.  As always, click on photo to  enlarge.

The Montana summer plans have gone into Doctor's appointments.

Fishing and hunting season is just around the corner.  Bugaboo has his hunting haircut.  The fly rod is repaired.  We are now waiting on the final Doctor's visits and the cooler temperatures of September.

If your interested in the effects of the late spring on the plant and animal populations see my posting on the Camas Meadows Blog.  Under the August 29th posting....Summer, this time its different.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lake Wenatchee, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

Lake Wenatchee, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

The Lake Wenatchee area is one of the popular recreation sites in Washington state.  It is very popular during summer months.  It is however, a year round recreation area.   The area is popular for x-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, fishing, camping and hiking during summer, and it is a popular hunting area during the fall.  The area is a mix of private and public lands so there are a mix of services available.

We have tended to stay away from the Lake Wenatchee area due to the cloudy weather and mosquitos .  Lake Wenatchee is close to the Cascade crest so many times while the lower Wenatchee Valley is clear and sunny the clouds tend to hang around the Lake Wenatchee area.  Then there is the mosquitos buzz.  Just be prepared and you will be fine.  Several million visitors from Seattle cannot be wrong!

Lake Wenatchee State Park is the hub for the area.  Here is their link:  Lake Wenatchee State Park.  It is a crowded state park during the summer.

Just before you enter the state park is a Forest Service campground named Nason Creek.  This campground is spread over two or three entrances and does have some sites that can accomodate larger vehicles.  No hook-ups.  Nason Creek Information.

The campground is on the banks of Nason Creek.  It is a pretty little creek with no fishing due to listing of fish stocks under the Endangered Species Act.  Yes, that is a fish trap keeping track of all those endangered fish.
There is more than the campgrounds in the area.  The draw of the area is that there is so much to do and explore fairly close to the campgrounds.

From the campgrounds you can walk to the Kahler Glen Resort Area.  There is a golf course, restaurant, and your typical resort environment.  Nice change of pace from camping.  That view down the fairway is not a clearcut, but rather the Round Mountain Fire from 1994. 

There is much to do in the area.  You can boat, kayak, or canoe on Lake Wenatchee.  The White River has some canoeing on it.  There are two great hikes just a short distance up from Lake Wenatchee.

Twin Lakes is a cutthroat trout brood stock lake within the Glacier Peak Wilderness.  There is no fishing, but the walk to the lakes is beautiful.   Twin Lakes Trail Information.

The Washington Cascades mountains hide their treasures behind miles and miles of trail access.  The best spots are all located quite a distance from any road.  However, for a short walk of just five miles you can access Spider Meadows.  If you do only one hike in the Cascades this is one of the best.   Spider Meadows Hike

For the trailheads you will need a parking pass.  They are five dollars at the Ranger Station or you Senior pass will also work.

Lake Wenatchee is one of the most popular spots in the Washington Cascades.  Just be sure to bring your rain gear and mosquito repellant!!   Here is a guide to the Lake Wenatchee Area Visitor Guide.