Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fire Works!

July 4, 2007 fell on a Wednesday.

We were treated to early fireworks on Monday.

We had just finished a 5-6 mile strenuous hike up the Onion Valley Pass, one of the many entry points into the Kearsage Pass and the Great Pacific Trail. If memory serves, because of the heat and the rising humidity, we even stopped to jump in the frigid snowmelt waters of Gilbert's Lake at about 12,000 foot altitude.

On the way down the rocky path, it started drizzling. This is not uncommon in the Eastern Sierras, particularly when tropical air is blowing up from Mexico.

We got back to our cars and made it down the towering hill to Upper Grey's Meadow. As we drove we could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance.

Got down from the hill just in time, we thought.

But the thunder was also accompanied by violent lightening strikes. And like a scene from a Cecil B DeMille movie, one bolt struck a tinder-dry bush on the knob just adjacent to the campground. That bush lit up like a kerosene-soaked hillbilly BBQ.

Before long it spread the length of the ridge.

We could hear fire trucks huffing and puffing and making their way up the hill from the valley. While some of us discussed dinner plans and menus, I started packing. Fast.

And began tossing all our over-priced camping amenities into the Toyota Sienna:

The solar powered tent fans

The hand operated artisanal coffee grinder

The foot pumped camping shower

The gourmet egg scrambler

And of course, the left handed bean popper

My instincts proved correct, because no sooner had I stuffed the dirty, muddy ground tarp into the Yakima, the campground host made the rounds and announced in no uncertain terms that everybody should...

"Get the Fuck outta here."

It turned out the little ridge above our campground was not the only fire. There were literally 7 massive infernos burning up and down Route 395, gobbling up thousands of acres.

We got home that night. The next day hosed the soot and the smokey smell off our not insignificant inventory of gear.

On Wednesday, we sat in our front yards and watched the local fireworks show from nearby Culver High School. Perhaps it was because of our newly gained perspective and death defying proximity to Dante's Inferno, it was a bit of a yawn.

No comments: