UPDATE — The wildfire reached over 196,000 acres, but it got overcast and began slowly raining, so the worst is over. The fire was almost completely within the Kenai Peninsula Wildlife Refuge, all the way from Skilak Lake to Tustumena Lake, although it skipped over the river in some places. More than 1000 households were evacuated but they have been allowed to return home. They say the fire will keep smoldering and then flaring up all summer.
Right now we are just north of a huge wildfire which is across the Kenai River. It has already grown to over 100,000 acres, and although we were lucky for several days that the wind was blowing south and kept the smoke away from town, for the past couple of days the wind shifted toward us and now we have ash drifting down and grey skies that block the sun. This is making our Memorial Day weekend, when campers begin the busy summer season, quite a nasty time to be outdoors. This is what it looked like when I first saw the fire — it was surprisingly beautiful!
Last weekend I drove to Anchorage to attend the chartering of our new Rotary e-Club. It’s interesting to create a virtual club with members from various places in Alaska and around the world. Hopefully we’ll make it work, even though different time zones make attending group meetings somewhat difficult.
I kept heading north to Talkeetna to see my Aunt Pat who runs a hostel there, and to spend a few days in that interesting, quirky little town. This is the place where mountain climbers hire small planes to fly them to the glaciers from which they can attempt to climb Mt. McKinley, the second-highest mountain in the world. Many of the climbers stay at my aunt’s hostel, and not only do they love staying there, she enjoys getting to know these interesting adventurers. The mountain is so big that it creates its own weather and sometimes it is difficult to even see it. But the weather was nice when I was there and this photo is of me with my aunt, with McKinley in the background (or rather, Denali, as most Alaskans call the mountain).
Here are a few pictures of Talkeetna –
And a couple more shots of the (almost) pretty wildfire, from a distance. This morning they announced on the radio that an evacuation alert has been issued to people living in the path of the fire. This means business!
Here is a lovely, restful picture of my dog Cheyenne with my aunt’s dog Mac, in Talkeetna. They are both good roommates for the old ladies who live with them.