Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fall in the Rockies

After a very wet summer, fall has arrived with some of the best temperatures and weather yet.  It is early September and the weather has been hot (for around here) with warm temps overnight where you can leave the windows open without getting frostbite.  Not very often I wear shorts around here, because of either the bugs or temperatures or both, but the last week or two has been just great.

Life in the Fire Base camp has started to shift with the seasons as well.  Many of the fire fighters have already started to leave, as they return to their studies or other winter work.  Crews have been consolidating, and some of the more temporary crews have been de-activated.

Other crews from the base have been sent to Montana to assist with their wildfire situation.

But, with the warmer weather and lack of rain the last while, the threat of wildfires has risen again as the grass dries out and the winds reduce the moisture content in the bush.  So local crews have been on full alert – patrolling random camping areas after the long weekend, putting out the campfires of negligent visitors.

Most of the lookouts are getting close to their closure dates, shutting down one by one, starting with the higher mountain locations where the snows will soon eliminate the chance of fires breaking out.

But while the lookouts are still operational, they still need supplies, and that’s where I come in.  While it’s not one of my ‘usual’ lookouts, I recently had the opportunity to visit one of the most scenic ones in this area.

But first, I stopped in at two on my regular route.


One may be staying open a week or two longer than planned, because of the hotter weather and lack of rain.

From there it was off to my first time at another lookout – with an awesome lake view.


We brought up a couple of radio techs to do some work on communication gear on the site, so I had to wait around for them to finish while the helicopter was off on another mission! 


It was a tough place to hang out – all the while watching for any fires to break out.


Meanwhile, there were two indicators that I had not been home much this summer.  I finally got my riding mower back from the shop in August, after dropping it off at the end of June.  The first mowing was more like cutting hay.

Then, I had to move my calendars ahead by two months, so I know time has been ‘flying’ by!


Also back at home, the next door neighbour watched as two adult cougars walked across his yard last week, and he was even able to get a photo of one of them.


That may be the reason that the usual herd of deer have not been hanging around. There have been a few flocks of geese stopping in; a definite sign of the change of seasons.


The view from the ‘office’ window at the lookout!


A popular random camping area near the Bighorn dam.


On the way back to base, we just had to have a look at a small secluded waterfall.


And, the required photos of Hailey.


I’m scheduled to work till the end of September, but I would not be surprised to be done earlier, depending on the weather.  If I’m done sooner, that may leave a little time for a short road trip or two before the seasonal migration southward Winking smile.