Dead trees and dangerous neighbors

I’m in withdrawal.  No Cabin, no more handwritten journal entries of recent trips to transcribe for the blog, no prospects of being able to go up there any time soon… Is it too soon to start daydreaming about next year’s trip?  (The correct answer would be OF COURSE NOT!)

A picture perfect reflection on the lake. The boat is waiting … let’s go!

I’ve been considering the tree situation up there…I may have to make some phone calls and see if I can’t hire a crew to take a chainsaw and a log splitter up there for a weekend or three.  I have many years of firewood available if I could just get it cut down and split.  And that’s without touching any living trees!  Beetle infested forests are tinderboxes just waiting for the least little spark, so this year’s constant rain has been a blessing in disguise for folks like me who have to worry about forest fires near remote cabins.    I look forward to having a metal roof on my new cabin.  Not only will it shed snow it will protect against fire danger of stray sparks or floating embers from nearby fires. 

 

It pays to look up as you’re hiking! This tree will someday fall, and it’s going to be laying right across a trail we use often

The one time I was genuinely angry at my neighbors in the camp was when I found an unattended campfire along the trail.  They have a small amphitheatre built in a clearing along the lakeshore trail where they sometimes gather for sing-alongs.  At some point they added a small bonfire area, for atmosphere I guess, certainly there’s no need for light and it’s too far away from the seating area for warmth or marshmallows. 

The beetles prefer older, bigger trees…of course…the ones that will cause the most damage when they fall or ignite!

Anyway, I came upon the fire in question as I was hiking in at the start of my vacation a couple of years ago.  Although it had mostly died down, it was completely unattended and had been for awhile.   I didn’t even meet any recent revelers hiking out as I was hiking in.   The camp was quiet, the amphitheater deserted, and little flames were crackling merrily by themselves in the woods!!  I quickly dropped my gear, emptied my small water bottle over the flames to extinguish them and kicked the embers apart to reduce the danger of a flare-up since I was out of water.  (I had no shovel and the lake shore at that point is dangerously steep even if I had had an effective water dipping vessel at hand.)

I hiked on into my Cabin, muttering curses not quite under my breath, then hiked back with more water to completely douse the last of the embers.  In addition, I confiscated a large bottle of lighter fluid that had been left just a few feet from the fire!  (I had an attack of conscience a few days later later and put it back.) 

 To this day I regret letting my natural shyness keep me from marching into the camp, regardless of the late hour, and banging on doors in search of a responsible adult to report to.  Upon returning to town, I did tell my Dad (a retired firefighter!) who had names and phone numbers for the director and his staff.  He reported the incident to the appropriate people with much diplomacy I’m sure, though I know he was just as upset as I was at the potential for real disaster!

 

Bear Creek Fire ( Division of Forestry/Matt Snyder / June 25, 2012 )
It would only take a spark for this to happen at our lake…

Although I continue to see cold remains of bonfires, I notice that a large jug of water is now always near the firewood pile…alongside the lighter fluid. 

Sigh…

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