Plans go Up in Smoke August 7, 2021
A SAD & SCARY DAY
I wish I could say we had this amazingly beautiful day at Yosemite, but that was not the case. We drove 2 1/2 hours to our campground just outside Yosemite National Park. It was very deserted, which seemed odd. We smelled smoke and the guy at the front desk said there was a fire somewhere in the park, but that we didn’t need to worry. By the time we got to the front gates of the park, the smoke was getting so thick we could no longer see the mountains or the trees in the distance. A ranger said it was smoke coming from Northern CA as well as a “small” (500 acre) fire in the park. We looked on purple air.com (thank you, Ron Browning, for telling us about that site) and it rated the air quality in our area as a deep burgundy red which meant it would be harmful to our health if we stayed there for 24 hours, which was pretty obvious without having to look at the map. There was no place to go to get to better air unless we drove south or over to the coast, so we packed up (they wouldn’t refund our campground fee for the night), and drove another 5 hours through the smoke to get out of the danger area. It is 2 AM and here I sit at a Motel 6 near San Francisco and feel like I can breathe easily once again. Oh, the things we take for granted! We were lucky to find a room as everything was booked for miles. It was sad to see huge areas of beautiful forest that had already been in other fires, and to know more fires were burning nearby. It was scary to be surrounded by smoke rather than pure, clean air to draw those deep breaths from…the ones I needed to take to calm myself as I drove behind Ernie winding down the narrow, steep mountain roads we had climbed just a few hours before. It was disappointing to have to drive on without seeing this magnificent park. I believe we can still turn things around for our planet, but it will take a true awakening on all of our parts. I am feeling very awake at the moment. My hand in yours tonight.