Have you heard about the wildfires that are raging across eastern Washington? Terrible. You can read more about them here. This dry summer seems to be shaping up as especially difficult for most of the western states; from Washington down through California. As it turns out, Terese and her sister and I got a bit closer to those fires than we had planned on Thursday and Friday.
So awhile back, Terese asked if I wanted to go on a quick overnight trip to the lovely city of Leavenworth, WA. We'd see a play in one of their outdoor theaters, stay at a fun Bavarian-themed hotel, and then zip home on Friday. Which is exactly what we did, and it was great fun.
When we pulled into Terese's sister's driveway, she met us at the door with a concerned look. "Have you guys heard the latest about those wildfires?"
Um. Well, yes we had but really didn't pay close attention. Or just ignored them because dang it, we had one fun little trip planned. But we figured that we should really check into the situation closer, especially after one of the roads that we had planned on taking was closed due to the fire. Yikes. We all whipped out our phones and began googling madly. Apparently Greg had been monitoring our potential route because he had sent us along with directions which didn't include the roads closest to the fires. Terese had the very good idea to call the hotel that we were booked into to see if the town of Leavenworth was threatened.
"It's very smoky here. The air quality is not good and it's raining ash." said the desk clerk. "But the city is safe."
Hm. Then we wondered if the outdoor theatre company had cancelled it's shows, but were unable to get past the company's answering machine which told us that all tickets were non-refundable.
We debated plan B, or C, or.... but nothing seemed particularly interesting. We had our hearts set on seeing The Sound of Music in the mountains. I called John.
"Would probably be best if you didn't go, Babe," he told me.
Which meant that of course we headed east towards Leavenworth. And I'm glad that we did. It was a beautiful drive over and we yakked nonstop while munching on glazed lemon bars on the way. Mmmm......John didn't sound particularly surprised when I told him that we were disregarding his advice and were going anyway.
As we pulled into the city limits, we could definitely see a haze of smoke and when I got out of the car, brushed my sleeve against the exterior of the car door and came away with a big grey smudge of ash. I decided to follow the local emergency government's twitter feed and continued to read updates on the fires and evacuations of other cities over the next two days, but it appeared that our quaint little city would escape the flames. That night we sat in the outdoor theatre and enjoyed the beautiful temperatures, the majestic scenery, the lively musical, and.......the layers and layers of ash flakes that drifted down from the skies.
It felt surreal. Here we were thumbing through our play programs while other cities west of us were being evacuated and houses, a school, a church, and a hospital burned along with miles and miles of beautiful trees.
The next morning we took a quick tour of the town and headed back over to our side of the mountains.
I pray that everyone over there remains safe, and that these fires are controlled quickly.