Monday, September 03, 2007

Smoke On The Water

Yesterday, the wife and I decided to go on a little adventure. We took a drive to McCall, Idaho. To get to McCall from Boise, you take a nice, leisurely 2.5 hour drive up highway 55 which runs along the scenic Payette River. We took our cameras and got some nice shots along the way. We took pictures of the mountains, the river, rafters on the river, and other such natural settings. The drive was nice but the destination was... problematic.

McCall is a beautiful little town that sits on the South end of Payette Lake. What we saw of it was comprised of charming little shops with picture-perfect facades, a small beach with plenty of people recreating, a small marina and several sailboats and powerboats enjoying the warm lake waters.

So, what was so problematic? The smoke.

When we were 40-50 miles out, we could see that something in the atmosphere was obscuring our view of the mountains. By the time we were 20-30 miles out, we were driving through the middle of a haze of smoke. When we arrived in McCall, the entire place smelled like a fireplace. From what I could tell, some part of the Payette National Forest Northwest of Payette Lake
was the source.

We spent about 30 minutes looking in a couple of the local shops, snapped a couple of hazy pictures of the lake, and went up the road for a late lunch. Both of us were having trouble breathing and both of us had headaches. Being inside for lunch provided a bit of relief but we could tell it was getting worse by the time we left. As we walked out to the car, it looked like it had been snowing light flurries that were starting to accumulate ever so slightly (it was ash). I actually ran the wipers to clear some of it off the windshield.

I think once this fire season is over we'll make another trip to McCall someday. For now, I'll leave the smoking to the locals.

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