Yesterday evening, obliviously relaxed, K and I hiked to a strategically chosen spot to place a wildlife camera. The air was warm, the leaves were brilliant, and the woods were quiet.K looked radiant in the sunlight. Sometimes, I stop and gaze at her in amazement - she is so beautiful to me.
A front blew in overnight, with wild winds and cooler air. While I prepared for our bike ride, the Duo snuggled, still blissfully asleep.
K and I rolled up high and saw nothing but beautiful blue skies in every direction and brilliant aspen leaves. The air was crisp and clear with tremendous gusts of wind hitting us periodically.
Near the start of our ride, I saw the first fresh sign of bear activity in at least a week. A stump was ripped apart last night, undoubtedly by a bear. I had K pose on it but she was nervous - I think that his scent lingered. In general, based on the waning signs of bear activity, I think that our bears are slowing down, not eating so much, and getting ready to den.
After our ride, I dropped K at home and pedaled out for a leisurely mountain bike ride. I started deep in forests with no views in any direction. After much tough climbing, I emerged onto a ridge where the winds buffeted me so hard that I kept swerving off the trail. I took a photo in my favorite direction, with the autumn colors in front of the Divide.
Then, I rode another 100 yards, and my entire world view changed.
Yes, that's a humongous plume of smoke. It appeared to be coming from where I lived, and I completely panicked. I was halfway through my ride, as far from home as I could be on this particular loop. I threw all my energy into pedaling, trying to get home as soon as possible. I believed that evacuations might have already begun. I could even hear sirens in the distance.
It turned out that our house was on a direct line between me and the fire but the fire was about three miles beyond our house, as the raven flies. All day, the winds have continued howling and the fire has spread to thousands of acres. So far, it's blowing away from us but we're still packing as if we're going to have to evacuate. Oh my, what a day - it started relaxed and now I'm scared. You never ever know what's going to happen next in life.
My thoughts are with those people and animals who are in the direct path of the ferocious inferno.