Ever the sociologist, I can’t help but note an interesting cultural paradox: while everyone thinks their own personal problems are worse than everyone else’s, each state believes the Acts of God in other states should render that area unlivable. In other words, here in California, my co-workers are aghast that mid-westerners live under the threat of tornadoes, but seem fairly nonplussed by the rampant wildfires. And good lord, it is a summer of wildfires! For most of the season, there have been anywhere from 10-17 fires going at any one time, and one, the Rough Fire, just 40 miles southwest of us, has been burning since July 31. Now at 55,000 acres (87 square miles), it is just barely contained, and has been creating a smoky haze over much of the Eastern Sierra for weeks. The effect is rather like living in Ohio during the winter, with a close, gray sky and terrible visibility.
So, we were nothing but surprised and pleased when the skies miraculously cleared last Thursday for just a day, perhaps as a welcoming “hello” to our friends Ann and Nathan, who flew in to visit with us for the week. The couple hails from Chicago, and we used to enjoy the sort of proximity to them that allowed for easy Megabus-board trips back and forth.
We had a fabulous time showing them around the resort and partaking in burgers and pie at the cafe lunch counter. And then, we used all that nourishment to good advantage and hiked in our canyon, to take in the spectacle that is Little Lakes Valley Trail.
Because they were staying in Lake Crowley and so close to us, we were able to fit in little visits around our work schedule, and we got together a lot over the week. We gave them the full treatment, jumping into Rock Creek Lake (which Illinois-born Ann proclaimed “warmer than Lake Michigan”). We got together for breakfast, had them over for dinner and more pie, and enjoyed an afternoon in a hammock by the lake. We culminated with a lovely afternoon soaking in a natural hotspring near Mammoth Lakes, followed by dinner and ice cream. It was a wonderful visit, and so good to see them after almost 2 years apart.
Work is a bit better, as 2 former employees joined the fray to help finish out the season. Some days are still a little chaotic, like the weekends that still bring large crowds, but things are definitely slowing down as kids head back to school. The mountains see seasonal changes quite early, and many of the aspen and willow are beginning to turn yellow. We enjoyed some of the warmest weather of the year, as we sweltered under 70 degree days for over a week, but changes are certainly coming. I’m starting to plan our route to our holiday job, working again for Amazon, but this time in Dallas, TX. And we are thinking about how we might fit in a visit back home, perhaps by leaving the RV (and Soupy) at a park in Texas while we fly back home in the early part of the year. It was an intense summer, and we’re looking forward to some new adventures!