I wrote the following during a late afternoon solo ride on FS road 13 last September, 2017. At the time I didn’t know that the smoke I was smelling was from the Eagle Creek fire.
FS Road 13 One lane Forest Service Road, Winding, narrow and steep. Potholes, sink holes, loose gravel and darting chip monks to avoid. Tree canopies touching, providing shade on hot summer afternoons. Moss covered center lines with weeds encroaching, reclaiming the road. The road splits, then splits again. The absence of road signs. No reassurance you’re on the right path. Occasional animal scat serves to remind that you’re the intruder. No cars. No people. Just me, my bike, the forest and its life. Solitary time. Soaking it in. Then the moment is changed by the hint of forest fire smoke in the air. A reminder of the forests vulnerability. The Ranger tells me it’s time to turn around.