Monday, June 11, 2012

Golden Gate and Fire

This is a photo of the start of the High Park Fire (west of Fort Collins) taken from Hall Ranch in Lyons at around 10:30 Saturday morning.  It's about 50 acres at this point and about 30 miles away as the crow flies.

Now, 2 days later, the fire is 37,000 acres and the smoke plume is several hundred miles long and can be seen from space.  I can see it from the end of my street in Boulder about 15 miles even further away from where the photo was taken though today it's a bit hazy due to the smoke hanging around so I won't bother trying to get a picture.  Air quality didn't seem too bad at 6:30 this morning when I took the dogs out but this afternoon it's not so great-smoky smell, itchy eyes-and I decided today would be a rest day.  I'm not complaining, the folks in the path of the smoke have got it a zillion times worse never mind the 2,000 folks who had to evacuate and those who have lost their homes as well as those who will have to evacuate as the fire progresses.  Over 100 structures have been burned so far and sadly it looks like the fire is bearing down on Lory State Park.  When it started I figured Lory would be safe but this is a bad, angry fire, impossible to contain so far and it's grown a lot quicker than I thought it would.  No rain or improvement in conditions are in sight so there's a possibility Lory and maybe even the Blue Sky Trail could get hit.

Yesterday we went hiking in Golden Gate Canyon State Park where we couldn't see or smell the fire.  The air quality was decent enough and we had a great day.

Yes this is a trail.  The skinny brown sign even says so.

Having a break in the shade.

We took a little break in the shade for a snack and to let a German Shepherd waddle by.  Poor dog had such a roached back and frog legs that it looked crippled, hobbling along up the steep hill.  I felt bad for the dog and angry at the conformation breeders that do this on purpose.  And puzzled as to why someone who likes hiking would get a dog that's so physically debilitated by design.  My good friend and next door neighbor had a German Shepherd when we were kids growing up and it was such an awesome dog, great temperament especially with all the neighborhood kids, physically sound, could run around with us forever.  Looked nothing like the poor hunchback waddling up the hill.  Such a shame what has happened to that breed.

O.k., enough of that.  Time to go.

The bike ride at Hall the day before went well.  I rode almost the whole trail including things I had to walk last time.  In fact I was looking for rocks to ride over and taking the rockier line in places.  Jonny showed me how to ride something I've always had to walk.  Some of the terrain is similar to Curt Gowdy, some granite drops offs and such, but not nearly as many challenges.  Nonetheless good practice and I was feeling a good bit more confident about my technical skills at the end.  And was barely even tired after 2 hours so that was good.

My latest plan is to go ahead with my race in 2 weeks.  I don't know if there's a cut-off time but my plan is to finish the race even if I have to walk part of the run as long as the race organizers will let me.  I may very well be DFL for the first time ever in my life but I'm determined to finish the thing.  Was going to go to the Valmont Bike Park today to work on skills but this will have to wait until the smoke dies down.  In the meantime the dogs and I are doing our best rain dance for those folks up in the hills west of Fort Collins.

Edited to add:
Ugh, just after I posted this I found out an agility person I know lost her home in the fire.  Thankfully her dog was with her and at least no one was physically hurt.  The emotional scars are often as bad or worse than the physical ones though.


  1. That's way too bad about losing one's house. San Jose paper this morning had a map of the southwest and the drought conditions and basically we're all royally screwed this year. heard last night that the wilfire in new mexico is now the largest that that state has ever had. And it's only the middle of June.

    Well. Good luck with your race! I personally think you're making the right choice. :-)

  2. Yeah, we're having a terribly dry spring/summer and the snowpack in the mountains was wimpy this winter. This fire started 10 years to the weekend of the Hayman Fire which was the state's largest ever fire. We had similar dry, windy conditions back then too.

  3. Yep, san jose got about 7" of rain this year, normal about 15". Not nearly normal snowpack. I sure hope your fire doesn't try to set a new record. Good luck to everyone out there.