29 August 2013

Environmental Factors

Western fires are no joke
A chunk of land northwest of Yosemite is ablaze and in the past week the conflagration has crept into the record books--right now it's the 6th largest CA wildfire in recorded history.

A haze has inhabited Tahoe for a week, obscuring mountains, sprinkling ash on windshields, infusing the evening breeze with the smell of campfire, turning the sun neon pink and the moon blood red. At the end of the busy season, the fire has summarily staunched the flow of tourist dollars and left the service industry to wallow in the slowdown of autumn. My parents are arriving on Saturday, hopefully to more ideal circumstances, although the Heavenly trail run was just canceled, to our dismay.

Ignoring respiratory warnings, I've continued as usual, mountain biking, hiking Mt Ralston, climbing Tallac under the full moon and sleeping up there. (The magnificent sunrise made up for the bitter cold, blustery night.) These exertions did cause noticeable discomfort--burning eyes, lingering cough, and a weird feeling of excessive fatigue. I can only imagine how people with asthma, people coming from sea level, toddlers, and old people feel. And more pressingly, how the people whose homes and histories are threatened feel. Our dining room assistant manager is from that part of the state and her parents' house is sitting two miles from the fire in the territory of her tribe. Her family and home is safe so far but her fear is palpable. Sobering stuff. When guests are complaining that they can't see Cathedral Peak while waterskiing on the lake, we remind them that there are worse things.