Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Ahwahnee, California, United States

Aug 20, 2018 - Luxuries

I am lying in a real bed, in an air conditioned room, watching ESPN. Ahhhhh! AND there is a private bathroom with real plumbing and a working light. I don't mind roughing it in fire camp but it feels very very good to re-enter the world filled with things I normally take for granted. I got into town around 5 and got clean, then went out to return a fitbit. I have resisted getting one of those because I feel certain I get enough steps most days and I don't really care to track them on the days I don't. I like an old fashioned watch with...

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Aug 19, 2018 - Early Birthday Treats

Well! Even in the midst of long busy days, we find time for really special things. Friday night Katy and I worked really hard (and a little late) to have things lined up for a quick getaway so that we would have time to reach her favorite part of the park before our 1 pm conference call. We made it, and sat on a big boulder at the edge of the river to call in on speaker phone. After the call we went over Tioga pass (9,943' elevation) where the road drops dramatically down toward Nevada and the Great Basin. Scenery was incredible; both the...

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Aug 18, 2018 - Glowsticks in the PortaPotties

I love fire camp. Really I do. And I like that we have adequate lighting to see where we are walking at night because the camp is equipped with big portable lights. But that makes it entirely too easy to make the long trek all the way to the porta potties at night without remembering there is no light inside those things. And I'm not going in there without light. So someone had the brilliant idea of placing a glow stick inside each porta potty. Sometimes it's the little things. Thank you, porta potty angel. Goodnight! PS: 48 hours from now...

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Aug 16, 2018 - Quit Buggin' Me!

Smoke from our fire is really winding down and Yosemite plans an official return to normal services on Saturday. Yay!!! For several days we were seeing really good air quality in surrounding communities which is to be expected. That makes my job much easier. Just one town kept having values reported that seemed too high for the amount of smoke we were actually seeing. Then yesterday a similar problem showed up at another monitor. We would measure good air quality for 12 to 24 hours and the value would suddenly lea PM to hazardous. Suddenly...

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Aug 14, 2018 - On my own, sorta

Jen headed home today and left me in charge. I think that probably means I have graduated to fully qualified ARA status, no longer trainee. An ARA classmate of mine works for Yosemite NP and has been training under Jen since Friday. She is going to stay and work with me so in a way I have a trainee of my own, though she is not officially assigned to the fire. I'm a little excited about being on my own but also a little more tired just thinking of all the things to juggle. Katy is a willing helper so we will do fine, I'm sure. G'nite!

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Aug 13, 2018 - What I wouldn't do for a (.......)

I promise I'll write more soon. In the meantime here are more pictures and a short short story: I went to see our public information officer today and while I was in her trailer someone returned from an errand in town. In a tone of wonder others might use to describe an exquisite dinner out, she said "I got a Klondike bar and used a toilet that flushed!" I love fire camp but admit both of those items sound marvelously luxurious right now. Goodnight!

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Aug 11, 2018 - 8 Days Done

I lost track of an entire day. Seriously. We are assigned to work 14 days, plus our travel days. That can always change. The fire can ramp down and we might go home early, like I did last time, or if an ARA is needed for just a few more days we might be asked to extend our stay so they don't have to order a replacement for just a few days' work. That said, I think everyone always has a mental clock going for how many of our 14 days are done. We have fun and love our jobs but days are long and when you cross the halfway mark, there is a...

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Aug 9, 2018 - Pictures tell it all

I'm tired - it was a really long day. Not nearly the worst of times because everyone is safe, and that is truly the only "worst" in fire. Not even bad as far as the fire goes, so my difficulties were minor - it just didn't feel that way at the time. Our entire monitoring network went down last night. I have 10 monitoring stations that I study and then I try to forecast for each of those locations. My forecast goes on a one page report that has a map with a dot for each of my stations. When the monitors quit reporting, the dots disappeared...

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Aug 8, 2018 - Ramping down... we hope!

The fire has been getting less active and crews have containment lines almost all the way around the perimeter. That is very good but there is one stretch where terrain is too rough for the firefighters to be able to "meet" the fire if it advances toward them quickly. Starting tonight they hope to do a burnout operation (formerly called a backburn) where they will start in a cooler area that hasn't burned and work back toward the fire so that the big fire will run out of fuel and stop advancing. It is a proven technique but also can be a...

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Aug 7, 2018 - Ugh...just lost this entry

I wrote 3 paragraphs telling how much I love this job and then found the system had logged me out. Condensed version: I made time to take a shower today Steak and shrimp with baked potatoes for dinner All this plus I get to visit a national park that is closed to the public. Oh...and I'm getting paid! Life is good!

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Aug 5, 2018 - Differences and similarities

It is interesting being in a different camp at a different location, doing basically the same job. 1. My trainer is VERY VERY VERY different from the trainer I had in Utah. Randy was very laid back. Jen is intense a lot of the time. Not necessarily in a bad way but I think I might have found her intimidating if she had been my trainer on the first assignment. Very glad to have started out where I did. 2. Speaking of "where".... there is a HUGE difference between fire camp in Utah and in California. In UT I'm sure some of the firefighters...

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Aug 4, 2018 - Smoky!

I'm here...all is well. Sleeping in my SUV so no tent problems. :-) Really really busy. If you'd like to follow my forecasts go to http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/2018/08/saturday-august-4-donnell-fire-air.html?m=1 And look at the Stanislaus Area Donnell Fire. Starting tomorrow I'll be forecasting for Yosemite NP. Exciting! Gotta go...

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