Sunday, September 11, 2005

outtripper

A recent 150-mile loop-drive took me, my wife Darlene and Sadie the Dalmatian from Walla Walla though Dayton and the area burned by the 50,000 acre wildfire called the School Fire. The drive depressed me because of the devastation. Yet, I also felt elated that the fire missed the Sheep Creek drainage, including Sheep Creek Falls. And it didn't reach the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.
Our loop continued from the Tucannon River Road up to Linville Ridge and Forest Road 40. We drove south all the way to Mount Misery. Again, the devastated forests stretched for miles. The cabins at Stentz Springs escaped damage, however, and so did the Clearwater Lookout and the Clearwater Ranger Station buildings.
A few miles past there, we looked across the upper Tucannon River drainage, which also remained unscathed by the fire. At the Diamond Peak trailhead, the view stretched many mile eastward to the Seven Devils in Idaho, beyond Hells Canyon.
We dined in Pomeroy at Donna's Cafe, and the waitress told about working 16-hour days feeding fire fighters. She specifically noted that the Indian firefighters, a celebrated group, conducted themselves with politeness.
We completed the loop on Highway 12. The drive took all day.

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