The minute the weather smartened up, we got frosts that forecasted the end of summer. This in the middle of August.
The good weather never lasted long, however. Still, I managed to get up onto the dunes. There is a haze of smoke in the air from the fires in California and Washington State.
I am fascinated as to how the heat and dryness twist the dead vegetation. It’s as if there is a hidden message written in a forgotten alphabet. Maybe that is a good simile for nature in general.
More rain over the mountains
It was rainy when I went to town.
The hill at Lee’s Corner, which was burned in the 2017 fire, was showing its bones. (The red touches are probably fireweed)
It was about this time that I got a new volunteer. She worked very hard for four days but didn’t like it so decided to leave (I am only taking people who have their own vehicle right now.)
As she went out the door, Alyssa arrived. We are building a rack on the truck for the canoe.
Alyssa was wonderful. She is a professional tree planter ( something I did for 8 seasons – that is how I made the money to found Nuk Tessli.). Her summers are spent hiking and biking – she had planned to go to Mongolia but settled for the Yukon! And she has recently started to plant in England during the winter season. She is a tremendous worker, a smart conversationalist, and a pleasure to have around.
As has been for the last two years, finding the right weather window to make expeditions was tricky, but we managed to have a great day up Perkins Peak. The sun rose as we passed the Clearwater slough. When I first came into this country there were no cattails this far west. Now this slough is choked with them.
In a couple of hours, we were high in the mountains.
The standing water was at last drying up and in some of the stony areas, rose root made a vivid splash of autumn red.
As always the rocks made landscapes of their own.
Alyssa, of course, headed up to the top of the mountain, and Harry, the traitor, went with her. I was on the ATV and headed towards the mine again.
My neighbour, Jade, had been up the mountain the week before (in bitter cold, windy weather!) and she told me the dwarf birch was vibrant. Now they had faded quite a bit but still showed some colour.
We just sneaked the good day in. Next day morning there was fresh snow on the mountains. (That is Perkins Peak on the right.)
Followed by the inevitable mist
Again we had to wait for the weather – it was pretty windy – and I forced Alyssa to get up early to beat the wind so we could try out the new canoe rack and get her into the water. Clearwater Lake was the closest. That is Mt Nogwon behind – naked and red because of the 2017 fire.
Tatlayoko Lake was going to be the next adventure, but although the weather was windless and supposedly sunny for the next while, we got the smoke gloom from the fires in the western States. How well I remember my own experience with the end-of-world eeriness during our own fires.
This is what the States was sending us
This was the actual colour of the sun. Getting the real shade means you have to make the foreground very dark.
We had to wait ten days before the wind changed and blew the smoke away. Again, we set off really early. This is a wetland near Tatla Lake. It is perfect moose habitat. I have looked and looked over the years but never seen one there!
The first sun was striking the Niuts as we headed down the Tatlayoko Valley.
Still not down to the lake when we arrived at the shore – this time to a wonderfully deserted camp ground!
Off went Alyssa in the canoe. (My bad knees stop me from safely getting in and out of one, which is why, regretfully, I don’t canoe any more.)
It was still pretty smoky at the bottom of the lake – there had actually been two fires in the mountains nearby. Both were in remote areas and had been left to burn.
There is always something different to catch my eye along the shore.
The little pond was a gem.
Later in the day the smoke build-up at the bottom of the lake increased.
We called in at a market gardener’s on the way home. The climate is much better in the Tatlayoko Valley. We dug 200 lbs purple potatoes for myself.