Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: Geocaching was not on my mind as the smoke increased

Musings about Geocaching

Monday, October 22, 2007

Geocaching was not on my mind as the smoke increased

During the night, the strong winds buffeted my place and at times, even though I put in earplugs, the sound disturbed my sleep. I got up early, and after fixing something to eat, continued packing more belongings and loading them in my car. I kept my eye on the plume of smoke to the south as I put the roof rack on the car and loaded it with my kayak and bicycle.

The night before, the first things put in the car were the important and essential things including my photographs, a duffle bag full of clothing, my camping gear, and my laptop. Now, since I had lots of time, I packed more items and things became less and less organized in the car as I stuffed it, ultimately filling in the nooks and crannies with grocery bags containing miscellaneous items, including the hatpins I have traded for during the past two and a half years of Geocaching adventures. It was interesting to see those mementos were more important to me than other things, items much more monetarily-valuable which I have had for many more years . . .

At one point, the wind blew the plume of smoke below Lyons Peak, removing any evidence of a fire. I went over to a friend's house.

"It looks like we might be spared if the wind keeps blowing in this direction."

My optimism did not rub off on him . . . He continued to make preparations to leave and I helped him take down the awning on his motor home so he could drive his home and possessions away from the fire danger. As we did that, two Border Patrol vehicles drove in. The men told us we were under a "Mandatory Evacuation Order" and needed to leave.

I said, "We don't have any phone service, so we did not know . . . " Without phones, we couldn't receive the "Reverse 911" calls other people in the County received to inform them of the danger.

After the Border Patrolmen drove away, one by one, my neighbors took off—some with their vehicles packed with essential items and some in their motor homes. One neighbor managed to find someone who could tow her trailer away for her. I took a picture of the plume of smoke as it rose high above Lyons Peak.

Finally, everyone was gone . . . except for me. The only voices I heard now were those coming from my small radio as "Monique and the Man" continued their show, hours after they usually get off the air at 9:00 a.m.

To get a better perspective on the fire, I walked up the long driveway to Skyline Truck Trail and took some pictures of the plume of smoke.

Then I walked back to the empty RV Park . . .

That night, it got dark early, so I took my little portable radio in my room and got into bed, listening to the voices telling harrowing stories of their escape from the flames of the Witch Fire, the first fire I learned about earlier the day before. There was not much talk about the Harris Fire, the one that was threatening my location.

Finally I fell asleep. Throughout the long, dark night, I woke and slept and woke and slept. Once when I woke up and all I heard was silence, I made my way through the dark house to my Geocaching pack on the floor by the front door to get out more AA batteries. I put them in the radio, turned it on and went back to sleep for another hour or so.

At four a.m., I awoke to voices on the radio talking about how the winds were dying down. That might have been true in one part of this large county, but my place was still being buffeted by gusts of wind I guessed were in excess of 60 mph. I did not know what I was going to do that day, but was relieved that dawn was finally coming.


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