Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Through a Recent Burn: NE Washington's 231 / Springdale Fire

Yesterday Reed & I took a hike in NE Washington, off of highway 231. It's a highway that I crossed last summer while I was hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT). For that hike, I started on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington and headed east. Midway through the state, I encountered trail closures due to wildfires. At the time, I was thrown for a loop, not knowing what to do in order to keep working towards my goal of completing the whole trail. I rerouted by jumping on Amtrak's Empire Builder line and got myself to the trail's easternmost terminus, in Glacier National Park, where I resumed my hike. I did a sort of flip flop of the trail and ended up covering all of the miles. It wasn't my first choice of how to do the hike, because I had desired continuity, but it worked and, as a bonus, it allowed me to spend a few days with my brother Nathan & his wife, Mary Elizabeth, who were working in Glacier. 

At present, we are on a self-determined winter sabbatical. We finished our summer jobs outside of Denali at the end of September and we've been traveling this past month. We're visiting Reed's grandpa, John Fifield, who lives over here in the NE corner of Washington. This past July, there was a wildfire near his home, across the highway. According to John, the local people are satisfied with the fire fighting response, as they were able to save all of the residences, and properties. We walked along Rail Canyon and up CB 15, climbing for a couple of gentle yet constant up. We left the road in order to get to the top of the hill / mountain. Most of the burned lumber has been logged off the mountain and new grass and succulent-like plants are already starting to grow. 


The sky and view were gorgeous. It was interesting to walk through a recent-burn after having routed around an active burn last summer. Further, it was encouraging to find that there is beautiful hiking right across the highway from Reed's grandpa's house. I'm grateful that I became thoroughly acquainted with walking on logging and forest service roads last summer. It's allowed me to see hiking 'trails' in places where they didn't previously exist for me! 

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